10 November 2017
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By Jennifer Wandler
Think of a random person who is a successful professional in the technology field. Maybe they’re a web developer, game designer, software engineer, IT Manager, or even a company’s CTO. Think about how this person has always loved technology, and that passion led them to choose this career. They have always been referred to as smart, worked hard in school, started in an internship or at an entry-level job, and then maybe had an awesome mentor to really help them blossom and become an expert in their chosen specialty.
Picture them sitting at their desk, behind multiple monitors, some work swag on the wall next to them, and water bottle or coffee mug safely away from the keyboard but still in reach. As they’re typing away, picture their hands; what color is their nail polish, or do they have nail polish? Wait, what – you were picturing a man?
A career in technology is synonymous with a male profession. Women are the exception. There is a vast technology diversity epidemic in the United States, and it’s no secret that women face unique challenges in this field. It should not be this way. Both women and men should be putting their energy toward working to advance the field of technology.
Computer scientist Anita Borg wanted to change the dialog and empower women to embrace being technologists. In 1987 she formed Systers, an organization dedicated to connecting women and supporting one another. And in 1994 Anita, along with Dr. Telle Whitney, founded the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). It continues annually, and the 2017 event in Orlando, Florida, drew more than 18,000 attendees.
GHC has inspired locally-organized one-day events, including Hopper x 1 Seattle – the second one-day event to take place in the US, and third in the world. It is a vehicle to bring together and celebrate Seattle area women in technology who are impacting all aspects of technology, and how they are increasing the positive impact of technology on the world’s women. Attendees will collectively experience ways in which women technologists can build community, strengthen diverse voices, promote inclusion, and inspire action.
The other key contributors to the conversation about closing the gap between women and men technologists are men. As gender diversity is embraced in the field of technology, men and women will be alongside each other. They will support each other working through and solving problems, celebrate successes together, and most important: challenge each other to keep pushing technology further than anyone imagined.
Anyone can be involved by using their voice and showing support to all technologists. For ways to get involved locally or nationally, visit www.AnitaB.org.