The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology seeks to increase both the number of women in the technology industry and the positive impact of technology on women around the world.
The organization works to achieve this objective by working with industry, academia, and government to recruit, retain, and advance women technology leaders. One focus is highlighting and promoting female role models. By sharing stories of women leaders, for example at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the Institute helps women identify and develop satisfying career paths and meet mentors who can help them along the way.
At the same time, the Anita Borg Institute works with companies to change their culture so that women’s contributions are recognized and rewarded. The research is clear that women face greater challenges than men at technology companies. The result: mid-career level women leave their jobs at twice the rate of men. Because the proportion of women in technical professions is small to begin with—only 24 percent in the United States—these departures make it challenging to develop a critical mass of women to help sustain long-term cultural change. Have an opinion about why this problem exists, or how we can help reverse this trend? Join our conversation on Just Means!
The Institute helps partner companies attract, retain, and advance technical women through programs such as the Grace Hopper Celebration and on-site seminars, by sharing practices that have worked at other organizations, and through industry-wide research. At Symantec, the Institute collaborates with women who are part of the Symantec Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and helps senior executives implement changes to address challenges that women face at the company.
The Institute also emphasizes how technology can create beneficial social impacts, such as improving women’s lives around the world, to motivate women to work in technology. This year’s Grace Hopper conference includes a “Code-a-thon for Humanity” programming competition in which women will create software to support relief and recovery work in Haiti. Conference participants will decide exactly what type of application to develop—to track donations, facilitate the flow of relief supplies, or coordinate other forms of supply chain management—and because they’ll use an open-source framework, they can continue building the software after the conference ends.
Learn more about the Anita Borg Institute.