Christina Haralanova -
Speaking Topic: WIOS: Training of Women in Using Free and Open Source Software – strategies for sustainable involvement

Christina Haralanova is a gender and ICT activist and researcher since 1999. Originally from Bulgaria, Christina has worked on a number of local and international projects and networks, including the creation of the women’s network Women’s Information Technologies Transfer (WITT), and the organizing of gender and ICT training in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Macedonia and United Kingdom (2003-2007). Christina has been, for many years, a managing director of the Internet Rights Bulgaria foundation and chief editor of the Internet initiative Social Rights Bulgaria. She is presently doing her masters’ thesis in communications in the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada on the topic “Use of Free software by women's movements”. Debian GNU/Linux user since 2002.


The presentation will focus on the personal experience of the author from a number of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) trainings performed for women from not-for- profit organizations in Eastern Europe – online and in person. It will also use the experience from a project in East of England for training 10 organizations in using Ubuntu. The main conclusions made during these events will be summarized, together with the recommendations given by trainers and participants on the idea on how to involve more women to the FOSS movement. Main points of the presentation: [ul] Brief explication of the situation in Eastern Europe regrding the women's movements, their use of ICTs and FOSS in particular; * Aims and performance of the WITT trainings, and the overall experience gained by training women in understanding the FOSS philosophy for using GNU/Linux; * Main conclusions from this experience – good points and contradictions; * Recommendations for a better involvement of women into the FOSS movement through personal and organized training; * A short debate on the possible improvements in training methodology and sustainable involvement of more women to the FOSS movement.