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We all know this, but it’s useful to be reminded of it periodically.
I’m chairman of the board of the National Center for Women & Information Technology. It’s a remarkable organization that has accomplished a great deal under the leadership of Lucy Sanders. While it would be easy to categorize NCWIT as a "gender equality" organization, it’s not. Instead, NCWIT is focused on helping the US be more competitive in the long term in the field of information technology and computer science.
Simply put, the only way to satisfy the increasing demand for computer science / IT folks in the US over the next decade is to get more women involved. There is a long list of other important reasons to get more women in the US engaged in computer science / IT, but the need to stay competitive in this arena is the one that seals the deal for me.
NCWIT periodically gets emails like the following:
Subject: Answer of why woman in IT is shrinking
IT is a very hard field in which you have to study all the time to keep up with technology. Also, it involves incredible troubleshooting skills, which by nature woman lack. What you need are more special laws, so that woman have special privilages, which is the only way their will be an increase of women in IT. Until then just keep complaining as your gender is perfect at it. Please post this on your wall at your Facist Woman in IT offices. Or just delete as women hate the truth.
Someone should teach that guy how to spell fascist.
I’ve been chairman of the National Center for Women and Information Technology for the past two years. The mission is straightforward – it is “to ensure that women are fully represented in the influential world of information technology and computing.”
NCWIT programming is organized into “alliances” – we have an academic, workforce, K-12, and entrepreneurial alliance. The academic and workforce alliance are the most mature; the entrepreneurial alliance is the youngest.
A year ago I sat down with Lucy Sanders – the NCWIT CEO – and a few other folks (including Heidi Roizen and Lee Kennedy) to discuss the most impactful thing we could do to raise the visibility of successful women entrepreneurs in the IT / computer science field. While there are some very notable successful women, we wanted to shine a bright light on some of the younger ones and those who could be additional role models for young women interested in entrepreneurship in the IT arena.
We came up with the NCWIT Heroes program – a series of short podcast interviews. These 15-minute interviews interviews are going to be released weekly with approximately 20 women IT entrepreneurs chosen from among more than 100 nominations. I’ve found the project fascinating – both identifying the women and helping set up the interviews.
The first three interviews are with:
- Lucy Sanders: CEO and co-founder NCWIT; Bell/Lucent/Avaya Labs
- Helen Greiner: co-founder and Chairman of iRobot
- Elaine Wherry: co-founder of Meebo.com
We had an NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) board meeting yesterday in advance of two days of NCWIT alliance meetings. I’m delighted with the progress this organization has made in the past three years. We held the meeting for the first time at the new CU Boulder ATLAS building. Bobby Schnabel – a co-founder of NCWIT, the Director of ATLAS (“Alliance for Technology Learning and Society) and Vice Provost for Academic and Campus Technology – has a good podcast up describing ATLAS titled ATLAS – Is It Technology, Art or a Coffee Shop. If you haven’t been there, it’s a cool, cool building.
Tonight’s reception is from 6pm to 8pm at the Folsom Stadium North Club Level. We’ve got over 300 people attending – if you are part of the front range tech community and want to learn more about NCWIT – come join us.
On May 15th and 16th leaders from over 100 distinguished universities, corporations and non-profits from across the country will attend the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) semi-annual meeting at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
I’ve been chairman of NCWIT for the past few years and am incredibly proud of what Lucy Sanders and her team have created. NCWIT is a capacity-building coalition working aggressively to increase women’s participation in computing/information technology (IT) – we believe that women’s participation is a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability.
On the evening of May 15th, at 6:00 pm, NCWIT and the ATLAS Institute at CU Boulder are hosting a reception on the CU Boulder campus (on the North Club Level of Folsom Stadium) at which you can meet these leaders and share ideas with them about the meaningful role women can play in technical innovation. If you are a member of the tech community in Colorado, I encourage you to come join us.
The reception is sponsored by NCWIT Investment Partners Avaya, Microsoft and Pfizer and we are honored to have State of Colorado Lt. Governor, Dr. Barbara O’Brien, and CU Boulder Chancellor Dr. Bud Peterson offer remarks.
I hope to see you there.
At the National Center for Women & Information Technology we are about to embark on a “heroes campaign” – a new project to highlight 20 successful women IT entrepreneurs via 15 minute podcast interviews accompanied by text transcriptions. We’ve got a great initial set of women that we’ll be interviewing but are casting our net far and wide to find interesting, amazing, and inspirational stories. If you fit the profile (female IT / software / Internet entrepreneurs) or know someone that does, please give me a shout.