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Board/Council Diversity

Question: What is the diversity within a governing board or council?


A governing board (or council - hereafter governing board) is a group of individuals who steer an open source project. Diversity in such groups is beneficial to signal that a project embraces diversity and that leadership roles are available to everyone. A diverse governing board also increases the chance that the issues raised by members of diverse backgrounds are heard and understood. Diversity can be represented in a variety of ways, including racial diversity, range of ability, age diversity, neurodiversity, geographical diversity, and others. Attention to intersectionality is also an important factor when assessing a governing board’s diversity.


An open source contributor would often like to know that someone on the governing board is representing their interests. Having a diverse governing board helps others to see themselves reflected and to advance in their careers. Electing a diverse governing board normalizes those from underrepresented backgrounds in positions of leadership for the entire community. The governing board should not be an echo chamber, where the ideas of individuals from similar backgrounds are compounded, drowning out the thoughts of those outside of the dominant culture. This metric makes the diversity of a governing board, as compared to other areas such as technical leads or event organizers, visible to all people of a community.


Data Collection Strategies

  • Observe how community elections are held to help determine processes are present to ensure candidates are from diverse backgrounds.
  • Observe the diversity of governing board members from the project webpage (limitation: demographics are not always observable from web pages).
  • Request diversity information on the governing board.
  • Examine the length of time members exist on the governing board, and if there is regular turnover or term limits.
  • Survey project members about their perceived diversity on the board.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: I feel represented by the board or council.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: The board or council is attentive to people with different backgrounds and experiences within the project.
    • Likert scale [1-x] item: The board or council represents the diversity of the project community.


This metric was last reviewed on July 20, 2022 as part of the metrics revision process.

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