In the News: 10 Women Who Changed the Tech Industry Forever, 2015 White House Science Fair, Initiative to Scale Student Computing Groups Nationwide

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This newsletter provides a monthly recap of the biggest headlines about women and computing, news about NCWIT, and links to resources to equip you as change leaders for increasing women’s participation in technology. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.


Women & IT News

10 Women Who Changed the Tech Industry Forever

In honor of Women’s History Month, NCWIT shared several articles throughout March about technical women pioneers. This list from The Daily Dot was by far the most popular, including recognizable visionaries from the past and the present. Check out the list.

Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem Goes Beyond Hiring Practices

Many recent news articles cover the issue of gender and race biases in the workplace including Amadou Diallo’s article for Aljazeera America. Amadou points out that recruiting and hiring more women and underrepresented groups won’t solely solve the tech industry’s diversity problem. A company must also maintain a supportive work environment where employees are constantly working to acknowledge and correct biases. Diallo concludes, “The challenges for companies that genuinely value diversity are that creating it doesn’t happen on its own and sustaining it requires buy-in from all employees.”

NCWIT’s first interactive video resource, “Unconscious Bias and Why It Matters for Women in Tech” provides a series of engaging, interactive experiments that introduce the concept of unconscious bias and explain why this information is vital for technical companies to understand.

Silicon Valley Gender Gap is Widening

A report released last Thursday by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) says the gender gap in technology is widening. Jessica Guynn’s article in USA Today cites needs for improved college curriculum, hiring and retention practices, access at an early age, as well as reducing implicit bias among the reasons why the numbers are low. Catherine Hill, AAUW’s vice president for research says changes must be made across the board to encourage more women to see themselves as technologists and explore careers in the industry.

NCWIT In The News

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2015 White House Science Fair

This year’s White House Science Fair, held on March 23, featured more girls and women in science than ever before, with more than 100 students from more than 30 states, representing more than 40 different STEM competitions and related organizations. Four NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recipients — Sreya Atluri, Maureen “Reeny” Botros, Anvita Gupta, and Sophia Sánchez-Maes — were honored guests. See our press release for details about these young women’s technical projects. They were also featured in several local news outlets including The Bellingham Herald and Cronkite News, as well as mentioned in national outlets including U.S. News. A White House video captures President Obama’s tour of the science fair exhibits (including appearances by Anvita at minute 12:14 and Sophia at minute 50:32).

Several NCWIT Alliance Members also participated including the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) who announced their upcoming launch of The Connectory and the Girl Scouts “Supergirls” Junior FIRST Lego League Team who presented their battery-powered robot made of Legos. CyberPatriot, Academy For Software Engineering (AFSE), The New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education (CSNYC), MIT, and FIRST Robotics were also on the scene.

In an ongoing effort by the Obama administration to inspire young people about STEM, President Obama pledged $240 million in new private-sector commitments to inspire and prepare more girls and boys, particularly those from underrepresented groups, to excel in the STEM fields. In addition, the Department of Education will launch a $25 million grant competition to support the creation of science and literacy themed media that inspires children, especially those from low-income homes, to play and explore.

NCWIT Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Ruthe Farmer Receives the British Council’s Education U.K. Alumni Award

NCWIT is pleased to announce that its Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Ruthe Farmer received the British Council’s Education U.K. Alumni Award for Social Impact, an award that recognizes alumni who have made an exceptional contribution and commitment to creating positive social change and improving the lives of others. Read the full press release.

NCWIT Programs, Campaigns, Supporters, and New Resources

NCWIT, Google.org, and ACM-W Announce Initiative to Scale Student Computing Groups on Campuses Nationwide

At the 2015 SIGCSE Technical Symposium in early March, NCWIT, Google.org, and ACM-W announced a $500,000 investment in support of student computing groups at U.S. post-secondary institutions. This initiative will dramatically increase the capacity for student computing groups by growing the national infrastructure and creating tools for chapter sustainability, while investing directly in student groups including seed funds to launch 35 new ACM-W chapters; $5,000 awards to amplify the impact of existing chapters; and moonshot awards (up to $15,000 each) for established chapters to launch institution-wide projects. Read the full press release.

SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology

Time is running out to cast your vote for the SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology, presented by EIC, NCWIT, and Google! This award honors a female character — and those involved in bringing her to life in television, film, or streaming media — that goes above and beyond to inspire future female technologists and eliminate stereotypes to elevate the conversation around female ingenuity in a technology field. The nominees, from television, film, and internet productions, were selected through public comment on YouTube. The winner will be determined by a combination of public voting (March 6 – April 6) and expert input from entertainment and technology professionals. The first-ever recipient of this SET Award will be announced at the 2015 NCWIT Summit for Women and IT on May 19-21 in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Cast your vote.

New Resources

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