WordPress Names 5.5 Release Leads, Plans All-Women Release Squad for 5.6

WordPress’ Executive Director, Josepha Haden, announced the names of the leaders who will be coordinating releases for the remainder of 2020. Version 5.5, expected to be released in August, will be led by Matt Mullenweg, with Jake Spurlock as the coordinator and David Baumwald on Triage. Haden also named tech and design leads for the editor, media, accessibility, and documentation. This release is set to introduce automatic updates for plugins and themes in core. It will also add the Navigation block and block directory to core.

In November 2019, Haden tweeted that one of her goals was to put together an all-women release squad by the end of 2020, an idea that was well-received by the community. Although WordPress has already had women lead releases, the realization of this idea would be the first time in the project’s 17-year history that the entire squad is composed of women leaders. Haden began recruiting for the team in March.

“My hope is that with a release squad comprised entirely of people who identify as women, we’ll be able to increase the number women who have that experience and (hopefully) become returning contributors to Core and elsewhere,” Haden said in her initial proposal. “This doesn’t mean the release will only contain contributions from women. And if our current squad training process is any indication, it also doesn’t mean that we’re asking a squad to show up and do this without support.”

Last Friday, Haden named 50 women to the upcoming 5.6 all-women release squad, set to land in December 2020. This group includes women who have volunteered to participate, first by joining a “ride along” process for the 5.5 release cycle. Participants will join triage sessions and meetings, as well as collaborate on a 5.5.x point release in preparation for steering 5.6.

The proposed scope for WordPress 5.6 includes opt-in automatic updates for major core releases, full-site editing in core, a new default theme, and more. Squad leaders will be named in a separate kickoff post.

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4 responses to “WordPress Names 5.5 Release Leads, Plans All-Women Release Squad for 5.6”

  1. I for one am excited by this. There are woman I know in the community who deserve to be recognised. There are woman who are in the community but remain silent. There are woman in the community who speak but go unheard. There are woman that have not yet been welcomed to the community.

    Now is the time we change that. I am ready to follow their lead and excited what this can make happen.

    An all woman release squad will put WP is a very unique position in the tech world. It can be the encouraging factor for others to follow. We should not stand in the way of it happening – we should encourage it.

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