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It’s no secret that the tech industry can be a male-dominated space. According to BuiltIn, women hold only 26% of jobs in the computing industry. 

However, in an attempt to change the stigma and bias in the industry, WordPress made history with an all-female and non-binary release team for its latest version, “Simone.”

Keep reading to:

  • Meet some of the women and non-binary people behind WordPress 5.6
  • Discover what it’s like to be a woman or non-binary person in the WordPress community
  • Find out how WordPress’s female and non-binary-led release squad made history

Josepha Haden Chomphosy

Release Lead, @JosephaHaden

Josepha Haden Chomphosy is very well-known in the WordPress community, thanks to her Executive Director role at Automattic. She contributes 60 sponsored hours every week to various WordPress teams and recently launched the WP Briefing podcast. She acted as the Release Lead for the 5.6 release.

On November 12, 2019, Josepha set her intention of an all-woman release squad by the end of 2020 — then made it happen.

Ebonie Butler

Core Tech, @metalandcoffee

Ebonie Butler worked as a core contributor for the 5.6 “Simone” release. She also works as a lead developer at Yikes, Inc.

According to Butler’s bio, WordPress is her passion: “Ebonie has truly found a continuous love for working with WordPress and website applications in general.”

Chandrika Sista

Editor Tech, @chandrikaguntar

Chandrika has been part of the WordPress community since 2011. Her main focus is working with small businesses to implement WordPress. She is also the lead developer of the Chamber Dashboard plugins and the organizer of the Cupertino WordPress Meetup.

As Sista explains on her website, she is a true WordPress fanatic: “Though I like building any kind of website and always love a challenge, I like working with WordPress as it is very flexible, has tons of documentation help, and is very easy to work with. 

I have faced my share of challenges with the other CMS’s, and I try to avoid them if possible.”

Tracy Apps

Design Lead, @tapps

Tracy Apps is a WordPress designer who led the design team for the “Simone” 5.6 release. 

As Apps explains on her website, she is way more than just a designer: “For me, having a multidisciplinary skillset has made me a better designer, developer, strategist, consultant, teacher, and artist. I call myself a ‘creative problem solver.’”

Michele Butcher-Jones

Documentation Review Lead, @michele_butcher

Michele Butcher-Jones is a WordPress specialist and WordCamp organizer. She also founded 13Core, a women’s WordPress community called ShePressWP, and Can’t Speak Geek

According to Butcher-Jones, “Being able to work on an all-women and non-binary-led release of the largest CMS is definitely one of the most rewarding tasks I have done in my WordPress career. Being a lead for the Document Review team made it just that much more special for me. 

It was completely humbling to be included with such an amazing group of brilliant, dedicated women in the WordPress Community. This was the first in tech history of a full women/non-binary-led release, and to have my name among the greats will be something I will cherish forever. ”

Mel Choyce-Dawn

Default Theme Design Lead, @melchoyce

Mel Choyce-Dawn is a WordPress Core Committer and a frequent speaker on WordPress design and UX.

Writing about her experience working on the 5.6 release, Choyce-Dawn explained that her main contribution was the Twenty Twenty-One default theme, which was released alongside 5.6. 

These are just a few of the incredible women and non-binary contributors to the 5.6 WordPress release. 

It’s wonderful to see the incredible results that come when women and non-binary people are put front and center — and we can’t wait to see what they do next. 

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