Friday, September 10, 2010

CompSci Woman: Technology is Women's Work

This is cross-posted from my personal blog, The Female Perspective of Computer Science.

Have you seen the new CompSci Woman blog yet? No? Well get over there and check it out! And better yet, if you happen to be female and have any kind of computer science background, consider contributing to the blog as well.

I just wrote up my piece for this month's theme on "how I got into computer science." It's called Behind the Screen:

I once considered attending a local specialized high school called Canterbury. It’s an arts school, and I wanted to attend for creative writing. After all, I had won a writing contest or two in my day, so I thought I was pretty good at it.

Unfortunately, the bus ride was far too long from my rural home, so I never went. Fortunately, I never let go of my creative side, which also included a love for drama, music, and now photography.

You'll have to read the rest of the story over at the blog.

Cate Huston is one of the two creators of CompSci Woman (Maggie Zhou is the other). Cate shared some of the "why" behind it all:

What brought it home so strongly, how hard it had been to be a minority, is that at the time I wasn’t. Extreme Blue Canada had an amazing number of women in the program this year. There was a girl on every team - two on some, including the team I was on. It was noticeable compared to the US teams at expo - Canada had exceeded the magic ratio, at which the women were not minorities, but normal.

It was different for Maggie, who was one of two women in her building. We talked about this - we had very different coping strategies. Towards the end of the summer, I floated the idea of a blog to her - the natural next step from the many conversations we had that summer. We thought that whilst you might not want to brand yourself as a woman in CS (every woman in CS I know is so much more than that, perhaps it’s like evolution, only the most awesome/stubborn/motivated/interesting survive), you could brand a platform, provide a forum for women who don’t have the time, or inclination to run their own blog. Maggie was excited by the idea as well, and we started to sketch out a vision and pitch (EB gave us a lot of practise in that) our idea to people. They were interested. They promised to blog for us. CompSci Woman was born, although unnamed.

With your help, we can build a platform, and a community. Because more people means more mentors, and more role models, and more inspiration. And that - well, I hope it’s just the start.
Inspired? I hope so! Now get out there and write your piece! I'll look out for it in the next few weeks. ;)