Here is a short summary of the challenges for women in the free and open source community, extracted from Jay Lyman’s article:
Less technical female roles: Women in open source tend to be involved in management, marketing, and leadership roles, but they do not tend to excel in the more technical aspects of software development, with some notable exceptions.
Lack of support and harassment from male group members: as examples were given some women mailing-lists, among which Debian women, who are sometimes getting "nasty correspondence telling them to get out of open source and into the kitchen".
Social barriers for women, including family: from one side is the lack of support from the part of the family for a woman, getting fully involved in her work, from another - balancing between family, kids and work are challenges, applying more to women than to men.
However, there are many positive examples of women who get involved in innovations and writing code. Studies show that women have different approach than men in working with technologies. "Women are more interested in working for a purpose," according to Julie Goldberg, a software engineer with CarDomain. "And guys are more into the newest, latest technology."
If you wish to read the whole articke please follow the link: Getting in touch with the feminine side of open source. Written by Jay Lyman. Published on August 08, 2005.