Last month saw the 50th anniversary celebration of the first American to orbit the Earth and Project Mercury in general. The Associated Press article by Marcia Dunn noted that the veterans of the Mercury program included women who were involved as mathematicians and computer programmers.
Salary negotiation is a hot topic right now. This article in the New York Times has some good reminders for women specifically about negotiating for a fair salary, and describes some of the pitfalls women fall into. One of my go-to financial blogs Get Rich Slowly has numerous posts about the importance of salary negotiation. One important point these writers make is that it is always a good idea to negotiate. Regardless of what the employer offers, ask for more, and be willing to work for what you think you’re worth.
Recently, I met a (male) colleague at the coffee machine and told him how excited I was about solving a tough coding problem. He was completely surprised to learn that I code and I love to do it. I was taken aback by this reaction, but he told me that he’d never met women with a passion for coding who keep doing it after their junior years. And when I think about this and look at the women in IT whom I know in person, I can understand his perception.
On or around January 17, 2012 Systers celebrated Anita Borg’s birthday with first global meetups in cities across the globe. The meetups were open to all technical women which gave potential members of Systers an opportunity to learn more about AnitaB.org, Systers, and the annual Grace Hopper Celebration. Additionally, women discussed ways to introduce computing fields to young girls and women in their local communities; a call-to-action goal to not only help to increase the number of women in computing fields, but be more engaged at grassroots level.
The best thing related to computers that I or my parents could find when I was a teenager, awkward and crazy dorky, was programming classes. You know what would have been a whole lot better? Building robots. You know what would have been even better? An all-girl robot group!