Women and Information Technology

I’m chairman of the National Center for Women & Information Technology.  A lot of my friends ask me why an organization aimed at women has a guy as chairman.  I respond by telling them that NCWIT is not a women’s issue focused organization (although I’d still be supportive if it was) – it’s all about the long term negative impact on innovation of the gender imbalance that currently exists in the IT industry, especially on the technical side – which obviously involved both men and women. 

Lucy Sanders – the CEO of NCWIT and ex-CTO of Avaya Labs – is much more articulate about it than I could ever be.  She has a great interview in Saturday’s Rocky Mountain News that describes the issue clearly, including the following sound bites:

  • Goal of NCWIT: Gender parity in the IT work force in 20 years.
  • Evidence of Today’s Situation: Only 16% of high schoolers taking the AP Computer Science test are girls.
  • Why Does This Matter?: Men and Women bring different creative skills to the innovation table and we need both in the invention of technology.
  • What Does NCWIT Plan to Do?: First – build a national community around the issue and figure out what’s really going on.  Then, create alliances, build community, mobilize for change, and use effective practices based on research results.