The 2018 Women in Open Source Award

Honor. Celebrate. Inspire.

We believe open source is the future of technology. It's time to recognize the contributions women are making and inspire a new generation to join the open source movement.


Nominations for the 2018 awards are now closed. Check back in February to vote on the winners.

According to 1 survey, only 11% of open source participants are women.1 Together, we can raise that number. Thanks to everyone who submitted a nomination. Our team of judges determine the finalists and then we’ll open the vote to you all to choose the winners.

1. Laura Arjona-Reina, L., Robles, G., Dueñas, S. The FLOSS2013 Free/Libre/Open Source Survey. January 2014.

Award process

Recognizing women's contributions to open source

We’re looking for women who make important contributions to an open source project or the open source community, including:

  • Code and programming.
  • Quality assurance and bug triage.
  • Involvement in open hardware.
  • System administration and infrastructure.
  • Design, artwork, user experience, and marketing.
  • Documentation, tutorials, and other communications.
  • Translation and internationalization.
  • Open content.
  • Community advocacy and community management.
  • Intellectual property advocacy and legal reform.
  • Open source methodology.

Nominees qualify for 2 distinct awards

  • Women in Open Source Academic Award: Women who are enrolled full-time, earning 12 or more credit hours, in college or university, for any degree level
  • Women in Open Source Community Award: All other women

We encourage you to work with the nominee to complete the nomination form. This ensures that we get the full picture and accurate details about her contributions. If you find that your nominee is reluctant or unable to recognize her competence, here are some ways you can help her see the value in her accomplishments that are so clear to others.

Meet the judges

These open source leaders selected our finalists. Now it’s your turn to determine our winners.

  • Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO
  • DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer
  • Tim Burke, vice president, software engineering
  • Denise Dumas, vice president, software engineering
  • Christopher Wright, vice president and chief technologist
  • Deborah Bryant, senior director, open source and standards
  • Jason Hibbets, community manager of
  • Harish Pillay, senior community relations specialist
  • Stormy Peters, senior manager, community leads
  • Werner Gold, principal solutions offering manager
  • Diane Mueller, director, community development
  • Sarah Sharp, consultant at Otter Tech and 2015 Women in Open Source Community Award winner

We’ll announce the 2018 winners at Red Hat Summit in May.

2017 Award Winners

Congratulations Avni Khatri and Jigyasa Grover, our 2017 Women in Open Source Award winners!

Our judges narrowed down your nominations to 10 finalists and turned to you, the community, to choose the winners. Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word, nominated women from your communities, and voted to determine the winners. Read on to learn more about the award winners and finalists who are making a difference using open source.

Past winners

Learn more about the women who have achieved this notable award for open source contribution.

Our 2017 winners

Our 2017 winners and finalists are organizers, mentors, program managers, engineers, presidents and vice presidents, and executive directors. Their work impacts areas ranging from open source education to web literacy and learning technologies. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

Avni Khatri

2017 Community Award winner

I've helped set up these labs with the hopes that kids will be able to utilize the technology and get access to educational content that they don’t otherwise have. We’re hoping the kids will see what’s possible, and then come back and help improve their own lives, their families’ lives, and their communities’ lives.

Avni won this year’s Women in Open Source Community Award for her efforts to empower kids to change their lives through technology. Avni’s dream is for everyone—especially kids—to have unlimited access to education so that they have more autonomy over their lives and the ability to improve their communities. She sees free and open source software (FOSS) as instrumental to realizing this vision, and has worked to bring technology to underserved communities around the world with the nonprofit Kids on Computers. As a volunteer since 2010 and the organization’s president since 2012, Avni has traveled to remote communities in Mexico, India, and Morocco to install school labs with Linux computers, FOSS applications, and open content such as offline Wikipedia and Khan Academy, and to enable local volunteers to support the labs. She recently co-founded For a Living, a new open source platform that will allow students to learn about different careers by interviewing professionals based on jobs, interests, and skill sets.

Jigyasa Grover

2017 Academic Award winner

I believe that we rise by lifting others, and helping others step into this alluring world of open source has not only impacted them, but it also has created a ripple effect.

Jigyasa won this year’s Women in Open Source Academic Award for her contributions to the open source community. Early in her university days, Jigyasa began working in competitive algorithmic C/C++ programming, Java, Python, and more, which led her to explore open source. She began working on Pharo, an open source Smalltalk IDE, and eventually became one of the top contributors to Pharo 4.0 released in 2015. Since then, she has participated in Google Summer of Code in 2015 and 2016, and was awarded research opportunities by the National Research Council of Canada and the ESUG at Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) France. She is working to inspire others by sharing her work and experiences through blogs, code sharing on GitHub, organizing code labs and tech talks, leading teams of women in major hackathons, speaking at conferences, and participating in mentorship programs. She is the director of Women Who Code Delhi, and she participates in GDG, Google WTM, WiSE, and Systers IWiC.

Meet our 2017 finalists

Community Award

Amira Dhalla
Lead, Women and Web Literacy, Mozilla Foundation
Avni Khatri
Program manager, Knowledge and Learning Technologies group, Laboratory of Computer Science, Massachusetts General Hospital
Heather Kirksey
Vice president of NFV, Linux Foundation
Jessie Frazelle
Software engineer, Google
Karen Sandler
Executive director, Software Freedom Conservancy

Academic Award

Aastha Vijay
Student at Cummins College of Engineering for Women, Pune, Maharashtra, India
Dawn Foster
Ph.D. candidate at University of Greenwich
Jigyasa Grover
Student at Delhi Technological University (formerly known as Delhi College of Engineering)
Nabanita De
Student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Safia Abdalla
Student at Northwestern University

Our 2016 winners

The 2016 Women in Open Source Award winners and finalists are engineers, developers, community managers, mentors, entrepreneurs, educators, and pioneers. They're making an impact in areas ranging from CPU power management to diversity outreach in communities and open source education. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

2016 Community Award winner

Jessica McKellar

Jessica won the Women in Open Source Community Award for her efforts to create more inclusive environments in open source communities and the technology industry. Jessica’s introduction to open source in 2006 was a positive experience and she aspires to make open source communities more welcoming to new contributors, so that their first experiences are as good as hers.

As the diversity outreach chair for PyCon, the annual Python community event, Jessica reached out to her network of women in technology to increase the number of women speakers at PyCon from 1% in 2011 to 40% in 2016. Jessica won an O'Reilly Open Source Award for her diversity outreach work in the Python community in 2013. She also coordinated the participation of Twisted and Python in Outreachy, a program that helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source. Under her leadership, Dropbox increased representation of women in engineering. She is also a senior technical advisor for the HBO show Silicon Valley.

2016 Academic Award winner

Preeti Murthy

Preeti won the 2016 Women in Open Source Academic Award for her contributions to open source. As an undergraduate, Preeti was part of a team that introduced students to open source. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she worked for three years as a Linux kernel developer, where she contributed code, documentation, tutorials, open content, and other communications. Preeti has nearly 60 commits and reviews in the area of CPU power management. She also volunteered as a co-mentor for the Outreachy internship program. Preeti is pursuing a master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon, where she and her team are working on a programming toolchain for energy-harvesting systems that they hope to open source soon.

Meet our 2016 finalists

Community Award

Heidi Ellis
Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at Western New England University
Valerie Aurora
Co-founder of the Ada Initiative and Linux kernel developer
Carrie Anne Philbin
Education pioneer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation
Julia Lawall
Senior research scientist at Inria

Academic Award

Ankita Shukla
Student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)
Divya Upadhyay
Student at National Institute of Technology, Patna, India
Lynnette Ng
Student at National University of Singapore
Dawn Foster
Ph.D. candidate at the University of Greenwich

Meet our 2015 winners

The first class of Women in Open Source Award winners and finalists have contributed to projects ranging from open medical content and legal reform to code for many open source projects. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

2015 Community Award winner

Sarah Sharp

Sarah won the Community Award for her efforts in improving communications and inviting women into open source communities. Sarah coordinates Linux® kernel mentors for Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women), which helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source software projects. An outspoken proponent of improving communications among kernel developers, Sarah helps make open source communities more civil, collaborative, and welcoming. Sarah was the author and former maintainer of the Linux USB 3.0 host controller driver. She has also developed open source amateur rocket software and hardware—built by the Portland State Aerospace Society—and open source software to power her garden's automated water systems.

2015 Academic Award winner

Kesha Shah

Kesha, a full-time student, won in the Academic category for her outstanding coding and mentoring work while studying information and communication technology. Being part of Google Summer of Code program multiple times, Shah contributed to three open source organizations, Systers- an Anita Borg Institute, BRL-CAD and STEPcode. She also mentored at Season Of KDE, Learn IT Girls! and Google Code-In, helping pre-university students from across the globe develop their first open source contributions, and is currently director for Women Who Code in Gujarat. Shah was a recipient of prestigious Google Anita Borg Memorial Asia-Pacific Scholarship and Anita Borg Pass It On winner for teaching basic computer and smartphone technologies to middle-aged women, especially mothers in her province. Shah has mentored many students' initial open source development contributions and guided many of them toward becoming regular contributors.

Meet our 2015 finalists

Community Award

Shauna Gordon-McKeon
Program director at OpenHatch
Elizabeth K. Joseph
Systems engineer at HP
Deb Nicholson
Community outreach director at MediaGoblin
Karen Sandler
Executive director, Software Freedom Conservancy

Academic Award

Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad
Sophia D’Antoine
Student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Studying Computer Science and Computer System’s Engineering, bachelor’s and master’s degree
Emily Dunham
Oregon State University
Studying computer science
Netha Hussain
Government Medical College, Kozhikode, University of Calicut
Earning a bachelor of medicine and surgery

Check back in February to vote on the winners.

Download the complete 2018 rules [PDF] for the Women in Open Source Award.