Tag Archives: systers

“fraction quilt — two rows to go” by r0ssie

Anita’s Quilt

This is a guest post by Gail Carmichael. Gail is a PhD student in computer science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is passionate about computer science education and outreach, and is on the Advisory Board for the Anita Borg Institute. She blogs regularly at The Female Perspective of Computer Science.

'fraction quilt --- two rows to go' by r0ssie

“fraction quilt — two rows to go” by r0ssie

One of the big hurdles of getting more women into tech is making sure they know the job exists and providing more visible role models. Like my newest high school mentee recently said: “You hear women talk about becoming doctors, lawyers, and that sort of thing. Nobody ever talks about becoming a computer scientist!”

Enter Anita’s Quilt. A project of the Advisory Board of the Anita Borg Institute (of which I’m a member), Anita’s Quilt is an ongoing dialog of inspirational stories from women in tech supporting each other and individually striving to have more impact as technologists. We know things aren’t perfect for women in our industry; the Quilt is about giving people enough concrete ideas so they feel capable of taking actions.

We believe a personal story has the power to inspire, transform and shape others’ stories. With that in mind, Anita’s Quilt features a wide range of stories coming from undergraduate students to Turing Award winners (the Turing Award is the top prize for computer scientists). Stories are organized into campaigns. The Systers collection that came first showcased stories from some of the very first Systers (members of the technical-women-only Systers mailing list) as well as more recent members. The next campaign was all about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and included stories about how the conference started and the impact it has had on attendees. The current cycle is called Legends and Visionaries, and includes a story featuring Anita Borg herself as well as one of those aforementioned Turing Award winners, Barbara Liskov.

So here we have a powerful tool to inform and inspire women around the world about careers in computer science and engineering. But we need your help. We need you to share the Anita’s Quilt website with your communities both online and in real life. We also need you to share individual stories. Read a few, pick your favourites, and tweet a line about why you liked it. Help draw attention to the women you found most inspiring. Hopefully, with your help, we can help the Quilt grow along with its impact!

Open Source Community Development, Systers Code Sprint

I’m involved in two very cool things tomorrow at GHC09 that I’d like you to know about:

I’m a late addition to a panel entitled “Open Source Community Development” — I just met most of the other panelists tonight, and I’m really thrilled to be involved:

Here’s the abstract:

The open source software movement has changed how products are developed, and how communities interact. The community of developers, writers, users, academics, managers and evangelists is critical to open source. In fact, the community is sometimes more important than the software. How do communities grow? Through traditional marketing? How is trust among engineers built? What shapes a community’s culture? What infrastructure does a community need? How do these needs change?

Right after our panel (well, actually, it starts just before the panel ends), Systers is doing a code sprint at GHC09. I mentioned this previously in a linkspam post here, and talked about why I’m so excited about it here.

The short reasons? Systers is a pretty awesome community of women, and I want to help them have exactly the technology they want. Mailing lists have long been one of the ways I “meet” other women involved in open source, and they’ve helped us form global communities. And, well, I’m a Mailman developer, so I’m always thrilled to have more participants on my open source project of choice.

Here’s a few more reason to come if those aren’t enough: this is a great opportunity to get some one-on-one mentoring from some great people, and maybe get yourself involved in an open source project or two.

And if you can’t actually make it at GHC09 tomorrow, don’t despair. One of our wonderful community bloggers will be summing up the open source community development panel and posting to GHCbloggers. And you can join in to the Systers code sprint remotely by irc! Details at the bottom of this page.

And if neither of those is your thing, there’s tons of great stuff going on, including a BoF with my own CU-WISE women, who will be talking about growing women in science groups.

Not at GHC? If you aren’t already reading http://ghcbloggers.blogspot.com, you should be — volunteers are already posting about the talks. (Including a post on the session I where I presented my PhD research!)

Write linkspam on it (26th September, 2009)

Update (by Mary, 28 Sep): misskinx told us in comments that the workshop on dating violence is not a Carleton University event, it’s organised by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) and the Sexual Assault Network (SAN).