NCWIT has just completed another busy, engaging, and productive round of semi-annual Alliance Meetings (held May 24-26 in Washington, D.C.) where we covered a range of topics.
We reviewed the NCWIT high-level messaging and progress.
We learned about organizational change from a slate of experts.
We committed to improving communications between the various sub-groups of NCWIT, bridging the silos of industry, academia, government and non-profit.
We got to interact with some very interesting and influential folks from DC at our reception: over 175 people attended and stayed for quite some time to eat, drink, listen to our speakers, and exchange ideas about advancing women in IT.
Our NCWIT Social Science Network shared research results concerning ways to view parity, history, and marginalization of women. We also began learning about promising and effective practices.
Our Alliances and our Social Science Network advanced breakthrough ideas for the NCWIT organizational structure that will further our goal of forming a true coalition.
The Academic Alliance discussed MOUs and decided to expedite progress by forming subgroups on data models, collective actions, introductory courses, alternate pedagogy, school outreach, and university advising.
The Industry Alliance decided to change its name to the Workforce Alliance, to form a subgroup to advance an industry study on technical women, and also agreed to expedite progress by meeting every 4-6 weeks.
The Social Science Network agreed to produce a “top ten” list of things to take into consideration while implementing promising and effective practices.
Members of our community took the NCWIT messages to various places in DC – Brad Feld, our Board Chair, visited the CSPP, the Committee for Economic Development, and Senator Clinton’s Chief of Staff. NCWIT Board member Jack Burns, along with Executive Team members Bobby Schnabel and Telle Whitney, visited NASA; NCWIT Senior Research Scientist Joanne Cohoon did an NPR radio call-in show; and I sat on a panel on the Hill for the combined STEM/Women’s caucus.
Our Leadership Team stayed an extra day to review NCWIT programs (funded by NSF, Avaya and others) focused on finding promising and effective practices for the IT pipeline. We also reviewed other possible programs, the Microsoft Scorecard, and our internal metrics.
We were pleased with our progress and heartened by all the support we felt. And yet, we have a long way to go to really and truly increase the number of girls and women choosing information technology disciplines and careers. As I said during the meetings, and I repeat now, we need everybody involved if we are to solve this troubling systemic problem.
Lucy Sanders is CEO and Co-founder of NCWIT and is a Bell Labs Fellow.