Women in Computing

This site has been created to log references to women in technology.
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.Floss Pols -- A Study of Open Source Software
Gender: Integrated Report of Findings
Gender: Policy Recommendations

. From msnbc: Researchers study software gender gap, September 24, 2007.

.From ACM's TechNews, September 23, 2007.

Software Design Research Adds New Perspective to High-Tech Gender Gap Associated Press (09/24/07) Mintz, Jessica

Laura Beckwith, a new computer science Ph.D. from Oregon State University, and her adviser, Margaret Burnett, believe that examining and altering software programs may be the key to attracting more women to the computer science industry. Beckwith and Burnett specialize in how people use computers to solve problems. During their research they found that men are more likely than women to use advanced software features, specifically debugging features that help users find and correct errors. After researching gender differences in problem solving and computer use, Beckwith found that in most studies women have less confidence than men in their computer skills, even women who study computer science. Beckwith tested her theory by asking a group of men and women if they believed they could find and fix errors in spreadsheets filled with formulas. Participants were then asked to test formulas in two spreadsheets for any bugs. The spreadsheets contained a debugging feature. The debugging feature was used by men at all confidence levels, but only women who believed they could successfully complete the task used it. Beckwith then created two more options for the debugging tool, "seems right maybe" and "seems wrong maybe," and eliminated the need to right click the mouse to make the feature less intimidating. Tests with the new feature showed that women were more willing to use the softer options on the software, and occasionally used the debugging tool more than men. "We know from our colleagues in psychology and sociology that there are gender differences that can be very important to take into account in human-computer interaction and software design," says Julie Jacko, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and president of ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI). "Projects like this can help us have a better impact, even at younger ages, where I believe interventions need to happen." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, September 14, 2007.

Patenting The Co-ed Code
Forbes (09/13/07) Miller, Claire Cain

The findings of a National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) survey on the value of patents suggests that having both men and women on a development team is more likely to create a truly useful invention. The survey examined the prestige and importance of patents awarded for information technology inventions over the past 25 years, measured by the number of subsequent patents that cite a patent, and found that inventions developed by mixed-gender teams received 42 percent more citations than single-gender patents. "Our data show that diversity of thought matters to innovation," says NCWIT chief executive Lucinda Sanders. "We can say involving women is important because women are half the population and have good ideas, but our study shows the impact for companies." The number of women named in patents for information technology has increased since the 1980s, but is still only a small portion. In 1980, women accounted for 1.7 percent of information technology patents, which increased to 6.1 percent by 2005. Women accounted for 10.9 percent of all patents in 2002, and hold more patents in computer software than any other technology category. The survey found that some technology companies have no patents involving women, while other companies obtained as much as 70 percent of their patents from mixed-gender development teams. The importance of female participation in the development process only highlights the importance of strengthening the dwindling numbers of women choosing to earn degrees in computer science, which decreased by 70 percent between 2000 and 2005. Click Here to View Full Article

. WoTech: A blog for and about women who work in technology.

.From ACM's TechNews, August 29, 2007.

Stereotypes Turn Girls Off to Math, Science
LiveScience (08/27/07)

The National Science Foundation's Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program found that although pop culture presents an image that girls are just as interested in science and math as boys, new studies suggest otherwise, while several myths about girls and science endure. The first myth is that by the time children start school, girls are already less interested in science than boys. Although a recent study of fourth graders found that 66 percent of girls and 68 percent of boys said they enjoy science, another study found that by the second grade, when asked to draw a scientist, both boys and girls tend to draw a male in a lab coat. Any female scientists are drawn tend to look severe and rather unhappy. This stereotype of isolated, stern, and unhappy female scientists is so persistent in society that by the eighth grade boys are twice as interested in STEM subjects as girls. Another myth is that interventions intended to interest girls in STEM might cause boys to become uninterested. In reality, such interventions have been found to interest both girls and boys, because when girls are shown images of female scientists, boys realize that they can succeed in science as well. Yet another myth is that at the college level, changing STEM classes could water down important "sink or swim" courses. In reality, the process of "weeding out" weaker science students, especially in more quantitative disciplines, disproportionately weeds out women. Not necessarily because women fail more often, but because women often perceive Bs as inadequate grades and drop out while men with Cs stay in the program. Effective mentoring and "bridge programs" are needed to prepare students for challenging coursework. Changing the curriculum often leads to better recruitment and retention of both women and men in STEM programs. Click Here to View Full Article

. Fran Allen's A.M. Turing Award 2006 Lecture.

.From ACM's TechNews, August 24, 2007.

Still Trying to Find What Women Want
SearchCIO.com (08/22/07) Tucci, Linda; Braue, David

A recent Gartner report suggest that women have superior communication and listening skills and are "innately better suited than men" to thrive in the new global economy, so the shrinking population of women in IT could cause trouble in the industry. Women control or influence 80 percent of consumer spending decisions, but 90 percent of IT products and services are designed by men, a formula for "going out of business," according to Gartner. If IT organization do not adapt to attract a strong female workforce, women will take their skills elsewhere, making the IT skills crisis even worse. "Men and women behave, think, and operate differently. To pretend otherwise is to ignore fruitful inputs into IT team-building, leadership, global projects, innovation, and talent management," says Gartner analyst Mark Raskino, co-author of the study "Women and Men in IT: Breaking Through Sexual Stereotypes." Last year, a University of California study found that the proportion of women undergraduates interested in computer science is at its lowest since the 1970s, unlike other scientific fields such as biology and physical sciences where the proportion of women continues to rise. Ilene Grossman, vice president of systems and technology at The Bank of New York, says a major reason women do not consider an IT career or leave the IT industry is the lack of advancement opportunity. "I still think men are more comfortable with men, and they're the ones who pick who gets promoted, because they are still the CEOs and COOs," Grossman says. "When women have more prominent positions on the business side, you'll see more women rise up higher in technology." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, August 20, 2007.

Teen Girls Play With Technology at IBM Camp
eWeek (08/17/07) Nobel, Carmen

Participants in IBM's EX.I.T.E. (Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) program say recruiting efforts continue to improve. The recent camp in Cambridge, Mass., drew 45 applicants for 30 spaces. Like the other 52 EX.I.T.E. programs around the world, including 15 more in North America, the Cambridge event is designed to pique the interest of girls in seventh and eighth grade in information technology through various activities during a week-long day camp that exposes them to what it is like to work in the industry. The girls made "binary bracelets," used a PC and light detectors to program Lego robots, learned about project management by playing a team-building game in the Second Life virtual world, and made bubble gum and learned how to market it globally. Girls are unlikely to be drawn to technology for the sake of technology, so the program tries to incorporate activities that show them how technology can make a difference for humanity, says IBM's Cathleen Finn. The girls gain a mentor for the upcoming school year who will keep in touch via email and continue to fuel their interest in technology. Wendy Page, a software manager at IBM Rational in Lexington, Mass., who has served as a mentor, says the prospect of global travel can help entice some girls to pursue a technology career. "You have to get them where their interests lie," says Page. Click Here to View Full Article - Web Link May Require Free Registration

.From ACM's TechNews, August 17, 2007.

U of A Women Lagging Behind in Male-Dominated Sciences
Edmonton Journal (Alberta, Canada) (08/16/07) Ferguson, Amanda

At the University of Alberta women account for slightly more than half of all university students enrolled in science-based programs, but are still significantly outnumbered by men in subjects such as computer science and mechanical engineering. The University of Alberta reports that only 10 percent of students enrolled in computer science and 20 percent of students in engineering are women. "We still have a lot of work to do," says Grace Ennis, coordinator of the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) program. "The numbers may be high in some subjects, but if you look at the number of women in subjects like computing sciences and electrical engineering, those numbers are dropping every year." WISEST is a summer program intended to encourage women to enter non-traditional science fields. "The need is evident in the gender proportions but also in the industry at large," says chemical engineer and WISEST vice-chairwoman Gail Powley. Ennis says convincing women to continue their studies beyond the undergraduate level is one of the biggest challenges. Some call the tendency for women in science to leave after each level of study at a greater rate than men do the "leaky pipe" phenomenon, and say reasons include feelings of isolation, self-doubt, competing loyalties, a lack of scholarship opportunities, and a lack of role models. Click Here to View Full Article

.Do Women Hate IT?

.Women in Technology: At Lunch with the Sisterhood by Darryl K. Taft as appeared in eWeek, July 2, 2007.

. KAN: Know and Network -- Women in IT

. from CIO Insight: Why Do Women Leave IT?, June 7, 2007.

.Sudo Coaching Resources including
The Best Advice We Ever Took
Coaching Geeks from the 2006 Grace Hopper conference

.The Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation
Resources for Parents & Teachers
Resources for University Students
Resources for Primary and Secondary School Students
Resources for Professional Women

.From OECD: OCT's and Gender.

.The UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology
Research and Statistics
Research Projects
Publications

.From ACM's TechNews, July 6, 2007.

DePaul Scores Win for Women
Chicago Sun-Times (07/04/07) Guy, Sandra

At DePaul University, Project Her-CTI within the university's School of Computer Science, Telecommunications and Information Systems connects female students with mentors and peers. One of the programs is called Digital Divas, sponsored by ACM's DePaul chapter. The program seeks to enable students to create relationships by accessing professional networks. Project Her-CTI's formal mentoring program involves paring juniors and seniors with freshmen to encourage and sustain new students. CTI students also undertake "externships" in which they shadow a DePaul alumna for one day in the workplace. These programs were recently strengthened by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the 2007-2008 school year; the grant will help fund mentoring efforts and provide scholarships. A $7,000 stipend funded by the grant, for example, will cover one quarter's tuition for student mentors and allow these upperclassmen to attend conferences such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, June 27, 2007.

The IT Girls
Austin American-Statesman (TX) (06/23/07) P. F1; Gallaga, Omar L.

Project IT Girl is a three-year program for young women in the Austin, Texas, area interested in computer science and tech-related fields. Participants meet every Wednesday and one Saturday every month starting their sophomore year of high school and continue to meet through the summer following their senior year. The project, funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by the nonprofit Girlstart, was developed to boost the percentage of women in tech-related professions. According to the National Science Foundation, only 9 percent of engineers, 29 percent of computer scientists, and 29 percent of computer programmers in the United States are women. During a two-week summer academy, the 61 young women participating in the program researched and shot public service announcements about problems such as AIDS in Africa, racial strife, and drug abuse. The research, data management, and filming process is intended to teach participants how to work on large-scale projects that require teamwork, problem solving, and goal setting, simulating how engineers and scientists work. Participants who complete the program receive a paid internship and scholarship from the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) in North Austin, Texas. TACC associate director Kelly Gaither says she is not at all surprised by the IT Girls' enthusiasm and skill. "I think they're capable of tremendous things," Gaither says. "They're getting past the stereotype that things like this are male-oriented activities." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, June 25, 2007.

K-12 Alliance Launched to Reverse Declining Participation of Girls in Computing Careers
Business Wire (06/25/07)

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) announced the creation of a new coalition intended to boost the number of girls interested in pursing careers in computing fields. The NCWIT K-12 Alliance, composed of 19 organizations including ACM, will work to improve the visibility of girls' involvement in computing and information technology, remove obstacles preventing female participation in the field, improve computer education at the K-12 level, and raise awareness that strong computer skills create success in many other careers. The U.S. Department of Labor says that only 26 percent of IT workers in the U.S. are women and predicts that more than 1 million computing jobs will be added to the workforce by 2014. Surveys by the Higher Education Research Institute show an 80 percent decline between 1996 and 2005 in the number of incoming undergraduate women interested in computer science. "In the next seven years, women will account for more than half of the nation's workforce," says NCWIT CEO and co-founder Lucy Sanders. "If U.S. companies wish to maintain their competitive advantage in IT-related fields, they cannot afford to miss out on the input of half the population. Women can, and must, play a more significant role in building an innovative and technically trained workforce." The K-12 Alliance's first project will be to release a resource kit called "Gotta Have IT" that will contain posters, career information, digital media, and more for teachers to use in the classroom. The K-12 Alliance is also creating a permanent networking system to help K-12 Alliance members distribute information to educators, parents, and other K-12 influencers. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, June 18, 2007.

Indian-American First Female Recipient of Robotics Tech Award
Hindu (06/18/07)

Aeolean CEO Bala Krishnamurthy is a 2007 winner of the Engelberger Robotics Award for Technology Development. Krishnamurthy is the first female to receive the award. The growth of robotics is the result of some of the programming languages, networked systems, and related technologies she designed and developed over the past 25 years. A pioneer in electric and hydraulic industrial robots in the early stages of her career at Unimation, Krishnamurthy applied the VAL language to the hydraulic Unimate robot and headed the firm's software design and development effort involving the third generation UNIVAL controller. An Indian-American, Krishnamurthy later developed software that allowed autonomous robots to navigate hospitals, a mobile research base, and a 3D range sensor at HelpMate Robotics. She has also helped develop algorithms for the Tennessee Valley Authority's 21-axis Robotic Transmission Line Rover and next-generation robots for a European manufacturer, and served as a member of NASA's Office of Exploration Systems (OExS) research proposal review panel for Human and Robotic Technology in 2004. Krishnamurthy and the other 2007 winners have helped popularize robotics today, says Joseph F. Engelberger. "Their innovations and perseverance have led to the use of robots in new ways, in educational curriculum, and have made it possible for companies to gain a foothold and prosper in the global economy they compete in," he says. Click Here to View Full Article

.From CIO Insight, June 13, 2007.

Why Do Women Leave IT?
By Edward Cone

Women are vacating technology positions at a significant rate. But their reasons why are still unclear. Read the article.

.From ACM's TechNews, June 13, 2007.

Luring the Other 68 Percent Through the IT Door
eWeek (06/08/07) Perelman, Deborah

Penn State researchers report that women are underrepresented in the IT industry, and that increasing the number of women in the field would increase the ranks of the overall workforce and promote diversity. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004 women accounted for almost 60 percent of the U.S. labor force, but only 32 percent of the IT workforce. A 2005 Information Technology Association of America study also found that women who leave the IT industry are less likely to return than their male counterparts. The new research paper, "What Do Women Want?: An Investigation of Career Anchors Among Women in the IT Work Force," found that a recruiter's typical sales pitch emphasizing job promotion and security is not as attractive to women as it is to men. Professor of information sciences and technology Eileen Trauth says, "Human-resources personnel need to recognize that women have diverse values and motivations throughout their careers and tailor hiring and retention practices to fit those needs." Although researchers found that women's career anchors were fairly constant throughout their careers, some were subject to variation. For example, those that valued technical competence early in their careers generally placed value on it later in their careers, while lifestyle factors, such as the desire to balance life and work, were important to women with young children but less so as the children aged. "Addressing women's under-representation not only will help tackle the anticipated IT worker shortage but will help foster a diverse work force, a cornerstone of both innovation and economic development," Trauth says. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, June 6, 2007.

Women's Technology Program Graduates First Class
MIT News (06/04/07) Salius, Erin Michael

The first participants in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Women's Technology Program (WTP) will graduate from MIT this month. In the summer of 2002, Alisha Schor, Emily Slutsky, and Kyung Jin Chang, who will receive their B.S. degrees on June 8, participated in the inaugural session of WTP, a four-week academic and residential experience where pre-college female students experience engineering with hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects. When entering the program, having just finished their junior year of high school, the women had difficulty just imagining themselves as MIT students. Slutsky said the idea of facing the notoriously rigorous freshman curriculum and adjusting to the high intellectual expectations was frightening, but that attending WTP made enrolling at MIT a realistic option by offering an experience similar to what life is like at the school. "WTP was my first experience within a challenging, college setting," Slutsky said. WTP was started by then-senior Doug Ricket to dispel the widespread belief among many young women that they would not succeed as engineers and computer scientists. Ricket hired a group of MIT women, including graduate and undergraduate students, to serve as instructors and residential tutors for the electrical engineering, computer science, and math courses offered that first summer. Slutsky said, "WTP is a woman's opportunity to develop, fine-tune, and cultivate an invaluable confidence in herself." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, June 4, 2007.

A Few Good Women Are Needed in Computer Gaming
Computerworld (06/04/07) Pratt, Mary K.

Women are highly valued by the gaming industry for the fresh insight they can bring, and this is creating opportunities for female tech professionals looking for job options outside of the usual corporate IT departments. "If we want to have [game] titles that reach a diverse audience, our workforce has to reflect that diversity," argues Sirenia Consulting game designer and developer Sheri Graner Ray, who is also chairwoman of Women in Games International's steering committee. Peter Gollan of Iceland's CCP Games believes adding more female game designers could result in the production of content that draws more female gamers, while University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts professor Tracy Fullerton suggests that more women would become game designers if there were more games on the market that appeal to them. According to the International Game Developers Association, only 11.5 percent of the gaming industry workforce was female as of 2005. Graner Ray points out that most game designer tutorials follow a distinctly male learning paradigm, that of jumping right in and playing with the game environment, while women are more inclined to first understand games before they experiment with them. Also discouraging to female game designers are negative portrayals of women and a strong anti-female bias in popular games, notes ECD Systems CEO Jack Hart. Meanwhile, JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg observes that women and girls have a greater affinity for games that involve strategy and puzzles than in violent first-person shooter scenarios. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 25, 2007.

Study Reveals What Women Want From IT Jobs
PressEsc.com (05/24/07) Panditaratne, Vidura

A Penn State study of 92 female IT professionals shows that the traditional sales pitch focusing on job promotion and security actually stops women from taking information technology jobs. Eileen Trauth, a professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State, says that human-resource workers need to recognize that women have diverse values and motivations throughout the course of their careers and hiring and retention practices need to be adjusted to fit those needs. The study focused on three traditional "career anchors"--technical competence, managerial competence, and organizational security--while interviewing women from a variety of ethnic identities, ages, and backgrounds. All of the women work in IT positions ranging from Web developers and IT administrators all the way up to CIO and upper-level managers. The study found that, contrary to traditional theories, none of the anchors alone was a deciding factor in the women's career choices. About 30 percent said they valued careers that let them perfect technical skills while others said they wanted career paths with managerial opportunities. Women interested in management were most attracted to the opportunity to supervise, manage, and coordinate the work of others, and several spoke on the importance of earning graduate degrees to move into management. The research is described in a paper, "What Do Women Want: An Investigation of Career Anchors among Women in the IT Workforce," given at the recent SIGMIS Computer Personnel Research Conference in St. Louis. Click Here to View Full Article

.From MentorNet News, April, 2007.

Women and Technology: Creating the Right Fit
by Pam Nesbitt

Full integration of women into the IT and scientific workplace and realization of their potential requires that we acknowledge some gender-specific differences. Increased self-awareness and a better understanding of their makeup will help women to take better advantage of the available opportunities. Read the article

.From PhysOrg.com, May 24, 2007.

Stereotype-induced math anxiety robs womenís working memory
A popular stereotype that boys are better at mathematics than girls undermines girlsí math performance because it causes worrying that erodes the mental resources needed for problem solving, new research at the University of Chicago shows. Read the article.

.From What's Hot Now with Mike Vizard, Volume 2, Issue 21, May 24, 2007.

Woman Tops Ziff-Davis Most Influential CIO List
CIO Insight, May 24, 2007

The editors of eWeek, Baseline and CIO Insight came together to identify the most influential CIOs of our time and ExxonMobil CIO Patricia Hewlett is at the top of the list. There's been concern expressed lately about the lack of women in IT, but this list counts four women among the top 25 which may indicate that, while women remain underrepresented in IT, their influence is growing. Longer term, however, people are starting to worry about the general lack of grooming in next-generation CIOs. View the list.

.From SiliconValley.com, May 10, 2007

Awards Unite Technology, Woman's Touch At Right Time
Mercury News, by Sue Hutchison, May 9. 2007

It seemed especially fitting that Deborah Estrin received her Women of Vision award from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology so close to Mother's Day. After all, it was her own mother, an accomplished electronics engineer, who convinced her that she was perfectly capable of combining her interests in technology and social justice into one career. Read the article.

.From Educational CyberPlayground: Changing Girls' Attitudes About Computers.

.Best online resources for Technology Careers for Women and Minorities.

.From the Girl Scouts of America: The Girl Difference: Short-Circuiting the Myth of the Technophobic Girl.

.From ACM's TechNews, May 18, 2007.

How to Narrow IT's Gender Gap
Computerworld (05/15/07) Lanzalotto, Jim

Women account for only three out of every 10 computer scientists, system analysts, computer support specialists, and operations research analysts, according to the 2005 Current Population Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which estimates that the percentage of women in such fields has dropped 7 percent at a time when the technology workforce is at an all-time high. Meanwhile, a University of California, Los Angeles study concluded that female undergraduate enrollment in computer science is at its lowest point since the 1970s. Several reasons exist for why women do not hold a more prominent role in computer technology, writes Jim Lanzalotto of technology personnel placement firm Yoh. He cites women who start careers in technology but choose a different career path later, or those that leave the workforce for various reasons such as maternity leave, but find a steep learning curve and few opportunities for advancement upon returning. Windy Warner, an executive coach specializing in working with IT executives and professionals, says women also have a difficult time landing tenured positions, and directorships or CIO positions. "Women create part of the problem themselves because we tend not to be as confident in our abilities as men are," Warner says. "We don't let management know what we have contributed, we don't ask for promotions and raises as easily as men do, and we don't assert ourselves into leadership positions on teams as much as we could." Lanzalotto says that a work/family balance is the primary desire of women in IT, as with women in many industries, and managers who create flexible schedules can ensure they retain experienced, knowledgeable workers of both sexes. Training can help workers who temporarily leave the workforce catch up faster, and flexible hours can help employees meet conflicting demands without decreasing the number of hours they work. For information on ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, see http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 16, 2007.

Report: Tech's Gender Gap Widened by Uninviting Workplace
eWeek (05/14/07) Perelman, Deborah

The lack of women in technology related fields is typically blamed on a lack of women interested in pursuing computers and engineering, but the experience of women working in such fields is rarely discussed. The "Women in Technology 2007" report, published by Women in Technology International, finds that the vast majority of women working in their field enjoy their jobs, and that of the 2,000 female respondents, 75 percent would encourage other women to pursue similar interests. However, the report found that many female tech workers have mixed feelings about their companies' climates. Only 52 percent of women believed their company offers a favorable environment for women. "There is a kind of conventional wisdom that goes around that maybe women don't like technology. So, for us to learn through this research that they do like it and do find it to be a place where they can make a difference and would go as far as to recommend it to others is very telling," said Compel President and report co-author Patricia Schaefer. "What was very intriguing was that such a large percentage of women said that they didn't find their organizational climates to be very inviting to women. They're saying that they don't feel that their voices are heard and it causes them to question whether this is an environment that they wish to stay in." Almost half of respondents, 48 percent, felt that their views were not as acknowledged or welcomed as those of their male counterparts, and 44 percent said that women in their company were given fewer opportunities to participate in and lead large projects. While the majority of female tech workers, 73 percent, felt that they could influence their bosses, only 53 percent described themselves as broadly influential in the organization, and only a little over half of respondents said they felt in charge of their careers. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 14, 2007.

Women Graduates Increase in Science
Arizona Daily Star (05/12/07) Potell, Valarie

At the recent University of Arizona's College of Science's graduation, more than 420 student received their diplomas, but fewer than half of the recipients were women. The long-standing absence of women in science and technology fields may soon be changing, however. According to an analysis by the Arizona Daily Star, the proportion of women earning undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics increased by almost 4 percent nationally from 1995 to 2004, and by almost 10 percent at the University of Arizona from 1996 to 2006. According to the National Science Foundation, in 1995, nearly 193,000 bachelor's degrees were awarded in science-related fields across the country and 34.7 percent of those degrees were received by women. In 2004, more than 233,000 science related degrees were awarded, and 38.4 percent were received by women. University of Arizona chemistry professor and director of academic services for the department said the shift is "huge," particularly because the percentage shift works both ways, as a 10 percent increase for women means a 10 percent decrease for men. One reason the percentage of women entering into the field has remained relatively low is that there is a lack of female professors and female role models. University of Arizona's Office of Institutional Research and Evaluation statistics show that in 2006 women accounted for only 17 percent of tenure-track faculty in the College of Science and 12 percent in the College of Engineering and Mines. "To attract more women into engineering, you need more mentors and role models and that really translates into more faculty," said Jeff Goldberg, associate dean of academic affairs in the University of Arizona's college of engineering. For information on ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

Girls Get Glimpse of Computer Science Careers
news@UofT (05/09/07) Franca, Sara

The University of Toronto's computer science department recently held an event called GR8 Designs for GR8 Girls that introduced 22 female eighth-graders from 12 schools near the St. George campus to the world of computing. "We suspect that many girls are opting out of mathematical careers by making choices based on career stereotypes that aren't necessarily correct," said Michelle Craig, computer science senior lecturer and one of the coordinators of the event. "GR8 Designs for GR8 Girls allows young girls to learn a little about computer science and discover that they might enjoy working in this exciting field." Supported by the Faculty of Arts and Science and Google, Craig created projects to give the girls a first look at basic programming skills and an opportunity to apply what they learned. The girls worked with graduate students and faculty members, writing programs in the Python language, playing a hands-on programming simulation game, and using Alice 2.0, an interactive graphics program, to create animated stories. The overwhelmingly positive response for the girls has prompted another event next year. "The girls had a blast discovering that computer science can be fun," Craig said. "Every single participant said that she would encourage a friend in Grade 7 to attend next year." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 9, 2007.

Gaming Class Aims to Spark Girls' Interest in Computer Careers
Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) (05/04/07) Jones, Donna

ETR Associates in Scotts Valley, Calif., is giving young girls an opportunity to learn how to design their own computer games. As part of the health education, training, and research nonprofit's new after-school program, 52 girls from local schools over the next 18 months will also create a computer game business in Whyville, an online community for pre-teens and teens. The girls will be paired with a mentor, and will have an opportunity to visit game-maker Electronic Arts in Redwood City, Google in Mountain View, and UC Santa Cruz. The program is funded by a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, and another group of girls will be able to participate in the second half of the program. Gaming is a way for ETR to show the young girls that technology can be fun. ETR hopes to inspire more young girls to think seriously about a career in technology. More than twice as many men as women are obtaining bachelor's degrees in computer science, and more than three times as many men as women are getting engineering degrees, according to a 2003 NSF report. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 7, 2007.

IT Goes Soft for Career Oriented Women
Computerworld Australia (05/04/07) Tay, Liz

Speaking at a Females in Information Technology and Telecommunications (FITT) careers seminar, Penny Coulter, president of the IT Recruitment Industry Association, outlined a trend in employer requirements that is causing a shift away from technical skills to more general soft skills, and suggested that perhaps women should think more like men and consider promotions when planning their careers. According to a survey by FITT, 38 percent of survey respondents considered career development as a toping of interest in 2006, a slight increase from 25 percent in 2005. Coulter said the lack of women in IT was the result of an inability to attract women to what Coulter called an outdated reputation of a high technical, antisocial industry, challenging industry leaders to create and promote a more attractive work culture and dispel IT's negative stereotypes. "It is essential that we break away from the traditional nerdy stereotype in IT," Coulter said. "Diversity is essential; an organization gets a very narrow focus if all its employees come from the same background." Coulter said she believes hiring today is more based on the person and less on the technical skills as it was in the 1980s and 1990s, and that there are more positions for people with experience in less technical areas, such as subject matter experts, business managers, and accountants. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 4, 2007.

A Program That Gives Saudi Women a SWIFT Start in Technology
MIT News (05/02/07) MacMillian, Amy

An MIT graduate student in system design and management has won the first runner-up prize in the Jeddah Economic Forum Collegiate Business Venture Award 2007 for her efforts to provide Saudi Arabian women with basic computer skills and the experience of working for a real company. After obtaining undergraduate and master's degrees in computer science and math in the United States, Nada Hashmi returned to her native country in 2005 to work for the College of Business Administration, and the lack of technology in Saudi Arabia and the limited opportunity for women to gain IT skills inspired her a year later to coordinate a partnership for women at the private college with Women in Technology (WIT). The female students became Microsoft-certified through an outside trainer, and they were able to teach the entire Microsoft Office suite, the basics of the Internet, and e-commerce to other women. Hashmi set up a nonprofit company, Student Women Initiative For Technology (SWIFT), for the 50 participants. "They had to go through finance to raise and manage funds, and they had to deal with a president and a vice president," says Hashmi. "I wanted to do a project that's good for society and the school." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 4, 2007.

Anita Borg Institute Honors Three 'Women of Vision'
Business Wire (05/03/07)

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) recognized and celebrated Deborah Estrin, Leah Jamieson, and Duy-Loan Le May 3, 2007, for the examples they have set for women in technology. Estrin, a professor of computer science at the University of California Los Angeles, won the award in the Innovation category for her research efforts in network interconnection and simulation, embedded networking, sensornet, and security. ABI honored Dr. Jamieson, Dean of Engineering at Purdue University, with the award in the Social Impact category for her education and social change efforts through the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, which she co-founded. And Le, a senior fellow at Texas Instruments, received the award in the Leadership category for the major roles she has played in projects that have had an enormous impact on science and technology. "Women, individually and collectively, have the power to improve our world and change the face of technology," said ABI President Dr. Telle Whitney. "These women are using that power in ways that have earned them a rightful place as role models for the next generation." Click Here to View Full Article - Web Link May Require Free Registration

.From ACM's TechNews, May 2, 2007.

Program to Help Girls Click With Computers
Catonsville Times (MD) (04/26/07) Weybright, Scott

The fifth annual Computer Mania Day at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is scheduled for May 5, 2007. The event targets middle school girls with a day's worth of technology-related activities, with hopes of attracting them to careers in information technology, engineering, and other technology-related fields. Pamela Ezzat, the director of kindergarten through 12th grade programs at the Center for Women in Technology at UMBC, says the young girls have an opportunity to gain some professional role models. "We require that [the teachers] be women in the classrooms teaching the workshops," says Ezzat. "The girls can see that women are really out there." UMBC officials add that it is unacceptable that girls accounted for only 10.5 percent of students who took the computer science Advanced Placement test last year. The guest speaker for the Computer Mania Day will be "eighth-grader Jennifer Webb," a digital puppet developed by young girls who attended the event in previous years. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, May 2, 2007.

Women in IT: Find Us If You Can
MC Press Online (05/01/07) DeGiglio, Maria

Recent statistics from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics on women in IT are inaccurate because they fail to account for female professionals who have transitioned into business analyst roles and female freelancers, writes analyst Maria A. DeGiglio. According to the Department of Labor, the number of female women in IT fell by 76,000 from 984,000 in 2000 to 908,000 in 2006. DeGiglio argues that these numbers only accounted for eight very specific groups in the IT industry: managers, computer scientists/system analysts, programmers, software engineers, support specialists, database administrators, network/computer systems administrators, and network systems/data communications analysts. DeGiglio believes these categories have extremely rigid definitions and do not account for women who may have more ambiguous IT jobs but no official IT title, such as consulting professionals, technical writers, journalists, and industry analysts. These professionals may not have true IT positions, but a large portion of their jobs is IT related. DeGiglio says that if the number of women in IT is truly decreasing, there are several reasons for the trend. One is that some women may have felt that IT was too thankless and that they hit a glass ceiling, but DeGiglio believes that the main reason women are "leaving" the field is that they have reinvented themselves and have pursued graduate degrees or more lucrative professions. She says the "IT career paradigm is morphing into a new paradigm--one that is non-traditional and dynamic." For information about ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From Harvard Business Review, April, 2007.

Younger Women at the Top

According to the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business and Loyola University, as reported in the April 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review, women who make it into senior management roles in Fortune 1,000 companies get there faster than men. "Though nearly half of Fortune 1,000 firms still have no female executive officers, those that do seem to be aggressively hiring and promoting them into the top ranks. As the chart shows, a much larger percentage of Fortune 1,000 women have made it to executive officer positions in their thirties, forties, and fifties than have men their age. What's more, these women achieved their executive positions at a younger average age than the men did (46.7 versus 51.1) and have less tenure on average than men in their current positions (2.6 years versus 3.5 years)." Read the article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 30, 2007.

As Women Steer Clear of Computers Nationwide, Tufts U. Breaks Trends
Tufts Daily (04/25/07) Battan, Carrie

Faculty and students say Tufts University is one of the most active universities in its efforts to attract more women to the field of computer science. Tufts has specific scholarships for women in computer science, a campus organization called Women in Computer Science, and is one of the few computer science faculties in the world with an equal number of men and women on staff. Stacy Ecott, president and co-founder of Women in Computer Science, believes that stereotypes associated with computer science tends to drive women away, as does the overall difficulty of the major. Senior Lecturer of Computer Science Judy Stafford agrees with Ecott, and has noticed that women entering college have less of a concept of what computer science is really like than male students. "Computer science has a problem with minorities in general," Stafford said. "It tends to be a white male population." Ecott estimates, based on her observations in classes, that women make up about a tenth of undergraduate computer science majors, and Stafford said she has noticed a lack of women at conferences, usually 20 percent or less. Tufts recently rewrote the course descriptions for some of the classes to make them more interesting, and is trying to make computer science more appealing to women by stressing the potential for interdisciplinary work. "We're looking at the introductory curriculum and trying to make sure that it includes materials that appeal to women," Stafford said. "Women tend to go into fields in which they feel that the can make a contribution to society. We're trying to make sure that it's obvious that computer science is an important field for supporting society in general and that it's strongly connected to other fields." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 30, 2007.

Comp. Sci. Recruits Women
Stanford Daily (04/27/07) Allen, Jenny; Jenn

Stanford, like universities nationwide, has seen its ranks of female computer science students shrink, as only 13 percent of computer science undergraduates were female this year, compared to 24 percent during the 1999-2000 school year. Mills College computer science associate professor Ellen Spertus believes that women generally enter college with less computer science than men, and are more easily discouraged by 'weeder' courses. "Even when they earn good grades in these classes, the fear that they don't belong in computer science and leave," Spertus says. In an attempt to reverse this trend, Stanford faculty, staff, and students are making an active effort to recruit and retain more women in computer science. In 2002, Stanford students organized Women In Computer Science (WICS), a student group that provides speaker series, workshops, mentoring programs, and social events for female computer science students, as well as sponsors attendees to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computer Conference, the largest conference for women in computer science. Additionally, Stanford offers an introductory course designed to expose more students to the field, works with programs that supports young students, and provides additional research opportunities through the Computer Science Undergraduate Research Internship. To develop additional strategies, Stanford participates in the Academic Alliance of the National Center for Women in Information Technology. Stanford also works to recruit more women by including women on search committees to identify qualified candidates from underrepresented groups. Stanford computer science professor Eric Roberts says the school needs to increase the number, not the percentage, of women in the CS department. [[For information about ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://women.acm.org.]] Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 27, 2007.

Robo-Girls
IEEE Spectrum (04/07) Hospodor, Joe; Hospodor, Andy

All-girl teams are becoming a force to be reckoned with at regional high school robotics tournaments, and among the contests where girls are starting to make their presence known are For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) events designed to stimulate interest in science and technology among young people. FIRST gives all teams a standard set of components, and each team must design and construct a robot that fulfills a specific function--placing rings on a rack, in the case of one regional competition--in six weeks. After that, the teams' machines are pitted against each other in the tournaments that test their reliability and precision. In this year's competition, California is hosting 19 teams, all but nine of which are strictly female. Among the notable all-girl teams performing at this year's Los Angeles regional was the Royal Robotrons of Louisville High School, who were mentored by California State University professor Tarek Shraibati. He works in the university's manufacturing systems engineering and management department, and is also the father of one of the team members. The Royal Robotrons and other teams are demonstrating through their participation in FIRST contests that girls can compete in robotics. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 23, 2007.

Getting Women Back Into IT
CIO Insight (04/17/07) Chabrow, Eric

More schools should follow the lead of Carnegie Mellon University in revamping their admission requirements for computer science studies, writes Eric Chabrow. At a time when more women are leaving IT jobs and young girls view IT as a career for nerds, the Pittsburgh school has decided to focus on how computers are connected to many fields, according to a recent story in The New York Times. Carnegie Mellon no longer requires high overall achievement and programming know-how for admittance into its computer science program, but now demands that would-be computer science majors have high overall achievement, broad interests, diverse perspectives, and the potential to become future leaders. With the new admission criteria, Carnegie Mellon has seen the number of women enrolled in its computer science program jump from 8 percent to almost 40 percent, according to computer science professor Lenore Blum. Since 2000, the industry has lost 76,000 women, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. Blum adds that factors that discourage women from IT could influence men as well. For information about ACM's Committee on Women and Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 23, 2007.

IT Managers Fear Growing Technical Gender Gap
Computerworld (04/19/07) Fonseca, Brian

Recruiting and retaining women for IT jobs such as storage administration, which requires being on-call at almost all times, has become a problem for many companies. Attendees at the recent Storage Networking World conference discussed the issue, and some participants saw it as a major problem in the years to come because more women are leaving such jobs and not enough are coming in behind them to take their place. Though statistics from the Department of Labor forecast an increase in IT jobs through 2012, research from Gartner indicates 40 percent of women will leave the industry for more flexible business, functional, and research and development careers over the next five years. The IT industry stands to miss out on the diversity and balance that women bring to teams that run and maintain storage environments. Dot Brunette, network and storage manager for Grand Rapids, Mich., retailer Meijer, says companies are failing "to provide day care at work, or work at-home options for someone who leaves to have a child." Mentor relationships, team building, and training are also vital to retaining women, adds Lisa Johnson, manager of systems at Freedom Communications in Irvine, Calif. For information about ACM's Committee on Women and Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 20, 2007.

Women in Science: Good News, Bad News
Harvard University Gazette (04/19/07) Walker, Ruth

Speakers at Harvard's fourth National Symposium on the Advancement of Women in Science noted that the number of women in many scientific fields, particularly computer science, is dwindling, and funding for the advancement of women in science is insufficient. Frances Allen, an IBM Fellow Emerita at the T.J. Watson Research Laboratory and the first woman to win ACM's A.M. Turning Award, said the structure and requirements in the field of computer science are largely responsible for the lack of women professionals in the field. When Allen started in the 1950s, before computer science was truly an area of study, programming was open to people from a wide range of backgrounds and easily accessible to anyone with any interest. As the field matured and became more structured in the 1960s, the industry started requiring engineering degrees, which tended to exclude women. "The workplace changed immensely. And in my view, the field has not recovered since," Allen said, calling the number of women in the field a "tragedy." Lucy Sanders, co-founder and CEO of the National Center for Women and Information Technology, said she was a "reluctant leader" when she was offered an advancement opportunity at Bell Labs, but that although leadership can be frightening, women should not be hesitant to accept the challenge. "It's a great deal of fun. Something that will force you to learn new skills," Sanders said to the crowd of about 110 female college and high school students. "Please, please go after leadership positions." To learn about ACM's Committee on Women and Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 18, 2007.

Computer Science Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold
New York Times (04/17/07) P. D1; Dean, Cornelia

Over the past few decades women have been playing a larger role in science and engineering, exceeding enrollment parity in mathematics, biology, and other fields, but in the field of computer science women's role is static or even shrinking when compared to men. In 1985, women received about 38 percent of computer science bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States, a figure that fell to about 28 percent in 2003, according to the National Science Foundation. At universities with graduate programs, only 17 percent of bachelors degrees went to women during the 2003 to 2004 academic year, according to the Taulbee Survey, conducted annually by a computer science research organization. Many believe the percentage has worsened in recent years as well, with computer science the only field in science or technology in which women are consistently giving ground. Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist Lenore Blum believes women are essentially "canaries in the coal mine," and factors that drive women away from computer science will eventually drive men away as well, such as the dot-com bust, the outsourcing of high-tech jobs, and negative stereotypes about jobs in computer science. Experts say these fears about the computer science industry are blown out of proportion as there are more computer science jobs today than at the height of the dot-com boom, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for computer scientist in the United States will increase during the coming years. Some programs, such as the one at Carnegie Mellon, have shifted the focus away from programming proficiency to overall achievements and broad interests in an effort to attract more women applicants, but these changes have brought accusations of lowered standards. To learn about ACM's Committee on Women in Computing, visit http://women.acm.org. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 16, 2007.

Who's Minding the Gender Gap in IT?
CIO Decisions (04/07) Vol. 3, No. 4, P. 18; May, Thornton

A study of 140 companies in 17 vertical markets finds that both large and midmarket firms have reached critical mass in terms of hiring women for IT positions, with large companies and midmarket companies listing 39 percent and 22 percent of their IT employees as female, respectively. Yet all large- and midmarket-company respondents report that the female IT workforce is in decline, and the ITAA reports that between 1996 and 2004 the percentage of women in IT fell from 41 percent to 32 percent. In addition, less than 33 percent of CIOs' direct reports are women. Respondents indicate that there are differences in the way men and women relate and express intimacy as well as network. "In the women's networking group I actively participate in, when the women get together, we talk about things of a more personal nature, [such as] 'How do you balance work and family?'" notes a female CIO at a global conglomerate. "I have never heard of a men's networking group that deals with those types of issues." People observe that men tend to network on not as broad a scale as women, and through direct contact. The institutionalization of outreach, training, and networking programs for women is deemed essential for boosting the number of women with IT leadership roles. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 13, 2007.

Anita Borg Institute Honors Three 'Women of Vision'
Business Wire (04/09/07)

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) has selected Deborah Estrin of the University of California Los Angeles, Leah H. Jamieson of Purdue University, and Duy-Loan Le of Texas Instruments as the winners of the 2007 Women of Vision Awards. Estrin, a professor of computer science who has pursued research in network interconnection and simulation, embedded networking, sensornet research, and security, has been selected for the category of Innovation. Jamieson, Dean of Engineering, has been a leading figure in education and social change through her involvement in the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, and has been chosen in the Social Impact category. And Duy-Loan, the first women elected as a senior fellow at TI, has been honored for the category of Leadership. ABI will honor the women in a gala reception and dinner, which is scheduled for May 3, 2007, at San Jose's Fairmont Hotel. Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, Google, and Hewlett-Packard are among the sponsors of the event, which is expected to attract more than 700 people. Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 6, 2007.

Women in I.T.: Where the Girls Aren't
CIO Insight (04/07) Cone, Edward

IT industry observers are still trying to figure out why the number of women in the industry has declined substantially in recent years. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of women in eight IT categories has declined from 984,000 in 2000 to 908,000 last year, or by 7.7 percent. Six years ago, women represented 28.9 percent of all IT workers, compared with 26.2 percent of the industry in 2006. Lynne Ellyn and Christine Davis have authored a report for IT advisory firm Cutter Consortium, and they suggest that women have issues with an intolerant working environment, a field that does not appreciate a balanced lifestyle, declining opportunities in the industry, and the social stigma or perception of IT. "I think this trend is an indication of the often abrasive experience women have in the IT arena," says Ellyn. "As I reflect on this disturbing trend, I recall countless incidences where women have been discounted and marginalized while struggling to balance family and work." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, April 2, 2007.

Gender Divide Growing in Computer Science
Wisconsin State Journal (03/29/07) LaRoi, Heather

Enrollment in computer science is declining just when computer science grads are becoming a valuable commodity due to an abundance of high-tech jobs and the prospects of continued job market expansion. There has been a 60 percent drop-off in the number of students who say they are interested in majoring in computer science since 2000, according to Jan Cuny with the National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing Initiative. About 10 percent of computer science bachelor's degrees at U.S. research universities are awarded to women, while the percentage of women who received bachelor's degrees in computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison fell from 16 percent to 9 percent between 1998 and 2006. Many experts are bewildered by the widening gender gap in computer science and IT fields, because studies indicate that efforts to get more women involved in math and science have had a generally positive effect. Cuny cites a NSF study showing that there has been a profound leakage of women in the field of computer science, as opposed to engineering and physics. One reason often given for the gender disparity is the differing reasons why men and women use computers; while men tend to see computers as devices for gaming and entertainment--and by extension, programming--women frequently view them as tools for chatting and word processing, which limits their appeal. Madison Area Technical College IT instructor Nina Milbauer says the image of IT professionals as solitary, socially maladjusted geeks is a deterring factor to girls and women that must be countered. Cuny observes that any signs of job insecurity can discourage women from entering IT, although the climate for IT jobs is more secure than ever, with the U.S. Department of Labor projecting "much faster than average" job growth for most of the chief computer science employment categories through 2014. Click Here to View Full Article

.From the New York Times, April 17, 2007

Computer Science Takes Steps to Bring Women to the Fold
by Cornelia Dean

For decades, undergraduate women have been moving in ever greater numbers into science and engineering departments at American universities. Yet even as they approach or exceed enrollment parity in mathematics, biology and other fields, there is one area in which their presence relative to men is static or even shrinking: computer science. Read the article.

. UK Resource Centre for Women

. ICT's and Gender: A Report Presented to the Working Party on the Information Economy at its meeting in December 2006.

.From Nature, March 15, 2007.

Leaks in the Pipeline
by Mary Anne Holmes and Suzanne O'Connell, Volume 446

Although the number of women earning Ph.D.'s has risen significantly, they are less visible in the top ranks of academia. Mary Anne Holmes, Ph.D., and Suzanne O'Connell, Ph.D., stipulate on the implications and provide insight on the situation. Read the article.

.From MentorNet News, April, 2007.

Women and Technology: Creating the Right Fit
Pam Nesbitt

Full integration of women into the IT and scientific workplace and realization of their potential requires that we acknowledge some gender-specific differences. Increased self-awareness and a better understanding of their makeup will help women to take better advantage of the available opportunities. Read the article.

.From eWeek.com, March 19, 2007.

Girls Ask Alice for Programming Skills
by Darryl K. Taft

Girls, want to learn to program? Go ask Alice. I don't mean to make any more reference to the Jefferson Airplane song, "White Rabbit," that made famous the line "Go ask Alice" than necessary, as it's a sad tale of drug use. The Alice I'm talking about is the Alice software for teaching students to program. Alice is a Java-based, interactive program that enables users to create 3-D computer animations without the need for high-level programming skills. Read the article.

Learn more about Alice.

.From CIO Insight, March 22, 2007.

Numbers Show Big Decline of Women in IT
by Eric Chabrow

The proportion of employed women business technologists has fallen through the decade, a CIO Insight analysis of government data shows. Read the article.

.From ACM's TechNews, March 12, 2007.

Girls Just Wanna Be Geeks
NOW (03/08/07) Silverberg, David

Although science and technology have long been male-dominated, there are increasing instances of passionate women finding ways to enter this club. Co-editor of "She's Such A Geek: Women Write About Science, Technology And Other Nerdy Stuff" Annalee Newitz is encouraged by a rise in female computer-science Ph.D graduates between 2003 and 2004, while the National Science Foundation estimated six years ago that 56 percent of engineering and science graduates were female. Yet just 25 percent of science and engineering jobs were held by women, and Newitz points to several obstacles women face, such as a lack of women to support them in the sci-tech domain, and lingering if understated sexism. Newitz cites a 1997 Swedish Medical Research Council report that women in the sciences had to have productivity levels more than twice that of their male equivalents in order to obtain grants or funding. But she says more women are being hired by software development companies now. "Sometimes people think that a woman doesn't know her tech stuff," notes Amber McArthur of Toronto, who wears multiple hats as Citytv's new media specialist, host of the CommandN weekly vidcast, and co-host of the net@nite podcast. "But as soon as you show them that you do, you should just hold your head high and support other women who do the same." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, March 5, 2007.

Turing Award Recipient Discusses IBM, Then and Now
eWeek (03/01/07) Perelman, Deborah

In a recent interview, ACM A.M. Turing Award winner Frances Allen spoke about the changes she has witnessed in the IT industry regarding women and what can be done to bring more women into the field. "In 1960 it was just fine for women to be managing; it was nothing exceptional," says Allen. But once "computing became a profession," engineering courses were required, and there were very few women in engineering school at the time. "This is the point when I think things changed dramatically for women," Allen says. "As a field, it really hasn't recovered from that." The gender gap has been closing in every other science, but computing has not witnessed the same integration. Although Allen spends a lot of time pondering it, she admits to not understanding what keeps women from pursuing careers in computing, but she suggests attention be paid to two aspects. First, to the curriculum and the experiences it affords, since "the decision to go into computing is difficult for both boys and girls," Allen says. "Many choose it as a major and then drop out." Second, the workplace needs attention, since studies have shown that diversity yields better results. Allen laments that the enthusiasm in the field has decreased since 1960. She believes women could provide the element missing from the industry. She says, "I think they could make contributions--maybe on the ease of use of computers, or in the style of work." Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, February 28, 2007.

From Math Teacher to Turing Winner
CNet (02/27/07) Lombardi, Candace

New A.M. Turing Award Winner Frances Allen spoke recently with CNet about the past, present, and future of computer science, diversity in the field, and her role in both. Allen considers her greatest achievement to be "enabling users to have access to high-performance computing ... being able to achieve high performance by the use of parallel computational computers." She says that when she began working for IBM, the term "computer science" did not exist, and the field was more open to broad experimentation. However, as the field became more structured in the 1960s and became a science, Allen noticed that it was mostly men who met the new requirements being established. She does not believe that women are less interested in science than men are, and espouses the abilities of mobile technology to allow people to work from outside the office, since the "culture of the workplace" may not cater to some women, especially mothers of young children. Mentoring has allowed Allen to make in impact on the number of women going into sciences and to be "an advocate for women," she says. Allen plans to place her $100,000 Turing prize money into a fund that will help educate poor people, with an emphasis on young women, who would not have such an opportunity otherwise. As for the future of computing, Allen "would like to see the computer languages change to be a little bit more user-friendly ... there are lots of experts in that. But we build very high-performance computing machines--and they're getting ever faster and ever bigger, not in size but in terms of their capabilities. We've got to find ways for them to be easier to use." For more information on Frances Allen and ACM's A.M. Turing Award, visit http://campus.acm.org/public/pressroom/press_releases/2_2007/turing2006.cfm
Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, February 26, 2007.

The Turing Award Honors Frances Allen
BusinessWeek (02/23/07) Hamm, Steve

IBM Fellow Emerita Frances Allen became the first female to receive the prestigious ACM A.M. Turing Award for her pioneering work in the "theory and practice of optimizing compiler techniques." In the 1970s Allen helped promote higher-level languages over machine languages and was responsible for ways to improve compilers so programs could run on different machines. "She's really the mother of customer-oriented computing," says IBM VP Robert Morris. "She was an early proponent and practitioner of what has become our innovation model. There was a time when we thought of innovation as being just associated with invention. Now we see it as a path from the invention through to where it has an impact on how people live their lives." Allen sees the award as a way to further her efforts to bring more women into computing. She says, "I have worked hard for women to be recognized, and I'll use this as a platform to get more attention to the role of woman in computing." One of ACM's goals is to get more women interested in computer science, as only 26 percent of U.S. IT workers are female, down from 33 percent in 1990, and only 15 percent of undergraduate CS degrees from major universities go to women. "It's essential for women to participate," says Allen. "A diversity of people can bring a much more creative environment and better results." For more information on the ACM A.M. Turing Award, see http://campus.acm.org/public/pressroom/press_releases/2_2007/turing2006.cfm Click Here to View Full Article

.From ACM's TechNews, February 21, 2007.

Top Computer Award Breaks Gender Barrier After 40 Years
Los Angeles Times (02/21/07) Pham, Alex

Retired IBM scientist Frances E. Allen, a pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers whose work helped crack Cold War-era code and predict the weather, has been named the first woman to receive ACM's A.M. Turing Award--the highest honor in computer science. ACM has granted its Turing Award for technical merit to no more than a few people each year since 1966. Previous winners include Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, who helped create the underpinnings of the Internet; Marvin Minsky, an AI guru; and Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse. Allen, who receives the award, which carries a $100,000 prize from Intel, at ACM's annual banquet in San Diego on June 9, was hired by IBM in 1957 to teach a new programming language called Fortran to IBM scientists, most of whom were not trusting the language to transfer their intentions to the machines. Thus began Allen's life-long work improving compilers to better translate human instructions for computers. Allen's achievement comes long after women toppled barriers in other scientific professions. "There's an image about our profession that doesn't appeal to women, which is a shame because women in our field are just fabulous," said John White, ACM's CEO. "They're great researchers. They're great leaders. There just aren't enough of them. This has been an issue for many years." Allen has reported she plans to use the award money to inspire young women to take up an interest in computing. "Maybe this is the time and period when society and in my case, my profession, is ready for a change," she told the Journal News (NY). Click Here to View Full Article

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