Corteza is actively fashioning itself as the Digital Work Platform for Humanity. That’s a big statement of intent, about as ambitious as it gets – and we’re not going to get there overnight. Our policy of social inclusion rolls out the welcome mat to anyone who can usefully contribute. However, this embrace of diversity must be accompanied by a co-ordinated long-term strategy in order to be effective. Good intentions alone are not sufficient to create real and lasting change.

To help us implement Corteza as the Digital Work Platform for Humanity, we’re in the process of creating a range of programmes, based around the platform, which structure its outreach, broaden its expertise base and inform its future design. The programmes categories are as follows:

  • Humanitarian
  • Ecological
  • Educational
  • Health
  • Public Sector
  • Commercial
  • Digital Economy
  • Localization
  • Accessibility
  • Security
  • Identity and Privacy
  • Compliance

All programmes will be related to at least one other programme, and some programmes will be related to all, creating a programme infrastructure where the activities of any given programme inevitably make the platform as a whole stronger and avoid duplication of work elsewhere. For example, making Corteza Accessible touches on everything we do.

At the moment, we’re crafting an official “purpose” for each programme with the above considerations in mind. These purposes will be voted upon by the Corteza Board of Directors before being formally adopted by the project.

The Corteza project will be free forever to anyone with access to the internet. Our community culture will necessarily be global, emphasizing the interconnectivity and cause-and-effect relationship between everyone, irrespective of their background. Corteza programmes exist to allow us structure our activity so that we drive this global conscience and so that everyone wins. Your positive contributions will be welcomed with open arms and, as my colleague, Mia Arh, states, there’s so much more to a technology project than coding.

Interested in checking out Corteza right now? Head over to https://latest.cortezaproject.org and sign up to the community server that runs on Corteza!

I have to admit I feel uncomfortable exposing myself as a woman in tech. Yes, I’m a woman and I indeed work in IT. It appears completely natural to me and I don’t see myself working in any other field.

According to Women Who Tech, 25 % of IT of tech positions are filled by women (source) and out of them, only 11 % hold a leadership position. A 2018 Women in Tech Survey reports the top three challenges women in tech are still facing are not being taken seriously due to the gender perceptions (63%), having no female role models to look up to (42%) and the gender pay gap (39%).

I think it’s a pity I hear more and more women around me calling themselves “not-technical”. I feel sorry for women my age who regret their study choice as they realized they have limited career options and are now stuck. I wish that my sister would be as excited as I am when she tells me they’re using robot arms at the pharmacy where she works (instead of being absolutely terrified of them). And I would prefer my friend’s girlfriends to get involved in our geek discussion instead of rolling their eyes 😉

Fortunately, my experience as being “woman in tech” is generally positive and rewarding. In my opinion, IT is a wonderful place where creativity meets technology and I would like to encourage more women to consider it as an exciting career opportunity since it has many benefits:

  1. Working in tech doesn’t necessarily mean coding
    In IT there’s an important spot for less technical skills as well: product planning, UI design, UX research, digital marketing, social media strategy… Management! A career in technology can bring you anywhere.
  2. Possibility of Remote Work
    Not all professions have the privilege or possibility of remote work, but IT-related jobs definitely do. Remote work gives us a wider pool of opportunities and the possibility to work internationally.
  3. Unconventional Lifestyle
    Working flexible hours and working from home office allowed me to improve my lifestyle. I can go to the gym in less crowded hours and I don’t eat in restaurants anymore because I can cook lunch every day. Work on a rainy weekend and go skiing on sunny Monday? Why not?!
  4. Constant opportunities to grow
    With constant change and improvements in technology, it’s almost impossible to fall into a routine. You’re always pushed to upgrade your skills which means constant learning and discovering your new strengths (both professional and personal).
  5. Exceptional community
    Tech world is full of unbelievably smart and talented people who are mostly welcoming and willing to help or mentor. It’s simply inspiring to be part of such a community.
  6. You can make a difference
    It’s empowering to be able to transform cutting-edge ideas into the real world. You can be part of something actually meaningful to you and work on projects that are aligned with your values. The work is mentally challenging and the tangible results are rewarding (and appreciated!) so the chances are small that you’ll ever get bored.

I’m thrilled the Corteza project is making a step towards fixing a problem of diversity in IT with a majority women in the board of directors and I’m excited to be part of the organization that truly breathes and lives its values.

With a university degree in Social Science, much of my early adult life was spent debating the equalities and inequalities of life with my fellow students. Admittedly, I wasn’t the student with the most erudite or succinct points of view (and probably never will be!), but one thing became crystal clear to me: While social inclusion can be the goal, it’s often useful to think of it as a discipline and responsibility to be constantly maintained and improved. Exclusion can be structural, but inclusion can be too.

When forming the board of directors of the Corteza project, we went out of our way to ensure that the board had a majority of women. We also recruited a proud member of the LGBT community. We set the bar high, with the criteria of prior proven leadership in their field being compulsory. In the end, we achieved our goal, something which is startlingly rare in open source projects – a board of directors not dominated by men.

However, let’s face it, though it’s a step in the right direction, this is still not a 100% socially diverse board. We have more work to do with regards to casting the net wider in our recruitment efforts. As Corteza attracts wider and wider audiences we intend to profit from this exposure and fulfill our responsibility.

Next on the agenda for the Corteza project is to recruit Chairs for our outreach programmes. These are roles which determine how the overall Corteza project meshes together from a strategic perspective and include the following categories:

  • Humanitarian
  • Ecological
  • Health
  • Locali(s)(z)ation
  • Accessibility
  • Commercial
  • Public Sector
  • Educational
  • Identity & Privacy
  • Compliance
  • Security
  • Digital Economy

Once again, we intend to drive diversity of representation among the programme Chairs and, once again, we will only recruit those who have proven credentials relevant to the specific programme in question. This is a voluntary role and the “give” is one hour of your advice per month to help determine a programme strategy and keep it on track.

If you think you or someone you know might fit the description, please don’t hesitate in reaching out to me here on LinkedIn or sign up to https://latest.cortezaproject.org and open a conversation with me there.