Equality of access is an important ethical principle and we don't have it
when it comes to women and other minorities in computing.
It's not enough to have women and other minorities use the technology, but
it is important that they participate in its creation too.
Diversity is important, not only for ethical reasons but also for the good
of our society. Despite the downturn of the economy there appears to be a
shortage of software developers for example. Women may have the talent to
excel in such endeavor. In order to achieve diversity there ought to be an
increase of women and minorities in computer science, computing science
education, and the computing science professions. Although the factors
leading to the current imbalance lie outside the university arena, a lot
can be done to correct it within. To ensure greater diversity each
institution should aim to eliminate bias and encourage a broader scope of
students. Prior experience also tends to influence success in education
and usage. In most fields there is no great differential of experience, but in
computing boys and whites in general tend to be more experienced by the
time they arrive to college. We need therefore to encourage girls and
minorities to use computers earlier in life in addition to enhancing their
participation in undergraduate computing.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ...
... by Margaret Mead
With the growing dominance of the Internet, blog, chat and mobile telephony, the great "big bang" of the new media has begun.
Communication is rapidly changing and becoming mobile, interactive, personalized and multi-channel.
This extraordinary revolution is affecting the basic structure of
many societies and is raising various discussions and debates that profoundly impact women: the rapid transformation of the boundaries between the public and the private spaces, the relationship between new technology, orality and women's literature, changes in the relationship between written and oral languages, the increasing use of mother tongues (mainly oral) in the field of education, and the challenges of new transmissions of women"s knowledges.
We will have an
overview of the women who have made it in computing from
Countess Ada Lovelace and
to others more modern like
Anita Borg, who founded Systers, the email forum for women in technology,
Ellen Spertus from Mills college
in CA. Another major aspect of the course will overview the reasons
of why there are so few
women in the field, and what can be done to remediate the situation.
This will serve as a vehicle for assignment/presentations in class whereas
each student chooses a famous woman and a topic and does the research and presentation in
Students will be assigned weekly readings from books and articles.
They will answer some written questions
and will participate in class discussions of the readings.
Students will be encouraged to participate in online women networks
to research ways of interchanging ideas and support.
There will be a couple guest appearances in class for questionning and
A team assignment may include visits and observations in schools and
The team will decide on a research study to be conducted outside of class and
results presented in class as a midterm project.
A final paper will be requested as a summary of most pertinent papers the
student has read, and field research done.
The paper will be presented by the student in class using a presentation
Weekly assignments include article reading, summary and feedback writing,
participation in women networks, and relating these activities to the class.
Midterm team research in or out of school. Presentation of research
findings in class using (Ppt) presentation tools, web
page or Word document.
Final paper will be presented individually. It will be based on readings,
research, and personal thoughts.
A possible exam will be given midway. This possibility will be discussed
Weekly assignments on readings and networks searches - 35%
Midterm research paper and team presentation - 25%
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org for Comments and questions is appreciated.
Last updated on 1/31/11
In the news
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
A Breakthrough For MIT -- And Science
Five years after conceding rampant sexism, MIT has a new president, Susan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology shocked academia five years ago
with a scathing report about how it had discriminated against female
scientists. Although many were world-class, the country's most
prestigious science university publicly confessed that its male-dominated
culture had marginalized them. Women were paid less, received fewer
resources, and were often treated as if they were "invisible," the report
concluded. Moreover, despite a flood of women earning PhDs, their share
of MIT's science faculty hadn't risen in more than a decade. In MIT's
entire history, no woman had ever headed a science department.