In my role at NCWIT, I have wonderful opportunities to talk to people all over the United States about technology and innovation. As a technologist and innovator myself, I love this part of the job. September brought together several thought processes for me that I am only now finding the time to write about. All concern the impact of information technologies on our global, social, and economic systems, and the role that women must play.
For years, science and technology professionals have tried to bring attention to the lack of gender equity in the important fields of information technology (IT) and computing. Now, ten years after the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women recognized the need to promote gender equity around the world, the "gender gap" issue finally has arrived on the radar screen of the world's influential opinion-makers.
Recently I spent hours watching HBO's Six Feet Under so I could catch up before the series finale aired. As an Executive Mom, the innovation of "On Demand Television" has definitely enhanced my life. I now have access to hundreds of high-quality, fun, educational programs for my children. Better yet, I'm spending more quality time with my husband. (And it is indeed quality time, because my husband loves to cuddle in front of the television.)
By now we've all seen the devastation that Hurricane Katrina has wrought on hundreds of thousands of people, who are now slowly beginning to recover their broken lives. One recovery effort about which the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) is deeply concerned is the attempt of thousands of college students to get their academic lives back on track.
Dillard University students camp out. Courtesy Greg Pearson/The Shreveport Times
I feel the need to post a short message about Hurricane Katrina.
Two members of our NCWIT community, Dillard University and Xavier University, have sustained heavy damage, and the worst may be yet to come. Please click here for a message from United Negro College Fund President and CEO Dr. Michael Lomax with information about how you can help.
It's been a long time since I visited Arkansas. Growing up in Louisiana we would wander up there from time to time, but it's been quite a while since I spent any quality time in "The Natural State." As my plane touched down at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, I looked forward to slipping into a car and driving the backroads to Bentonville, where I was to meet the next day with Wal-Mart CIO Linda Dillman.
On July 29th, 2005, NCWIT Board member Avis Yates Rivers and I went to visit the Vanguard Group in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Deb Denis, who is responsible for IT diversity within Vanguard, had arranged for our visit to talk to over 50 IT managers concerning the declining number of girls and women interested in IT.
For all of the problems that his remarks revealed and engendered, Larry Summers deserves thanks for catapulting the issue of women's under-representation in math, science and technology to a level of nationwide attention it has never before received. We should capitalize on this attention – and on the commitments made by President Summers and other university leaders and policy makers – to take concrete steps to eliminate the artificial and discriminatory barriers that women continue to face in these fields.