Educational CyberPlayGround ®

Women's History Month Special Edition

About Computers in the Classroom
Changing Girls' Attitudes About Computers


2014 How to ask to get paid to speak

2014 Women don't need to figure out how to get more productive; instead, the system needs to be changed so that women are evaluated equitably.A Sociology grad student at Stanford has done a study in which she looked at 500+ assistant professors in each of 3 fields at research universities. She very carefully examined research productivity, as measured by publications and the prestige of the publications' venues. When controlling for research productivity, it turned out that women in computer science departments were 55% less likely than men to get tenure.


Pushing Our Own Boundaries
Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto

The reality is, in most cases no one will be there to give you permission to act. To try. To succeed. And to fail. No one will take you by the hand and say, "Now it's time. You're ready." No one will be so sure to say, "Don't worry, you won't fail." No one will lay their hand on yours as you click that submit button, as you fill out that form, as you sign up for that chance, as you raise your hand.Teachers' and Girls' Attitudes Towards Computers


Women invented networking, computer languages, and programming. In 1946 ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer ) was the first 30 ton Electronic Digital Computer. My father Jerome H. Ellis was just back from the WW11 and had the occasion be in the room with this computer. I don't really remember the story about why he was there, but I do know that the women were the known as the original computers they were the ones who worked to make ENIAC run. Computing was their job. It was womens work, and it was a women who literally found the real bug that messed up Eniac.
Radia Perlman was dubbed the “Mother of the Internet”. Perlman's algorithm forms a sort of road map to navigate the internet. Jean Bartik was one of the six women who programmed ENIAC. Kay McNulty Mauchly Antonelli graduated from Chestnut Hill College in 1942 and was recruited as a human computer. Betty Snyder Holberton of Philadelphia and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper helped create Cobol and Fortran. Dr. Dorothy Danning is responsible for cryptography and data security. The actress Hedy Lamarr was the first to describe frequency hopping


It's quite apparent what the value is in something so obscure and mysterious as "smart is beautiful" - it lets everyone see their own idea of it. Some people see sexy chicks, some see elegant science, some see pretty female faces, some see - whatever you see. My male nerd colleagues loved it because it allows them in the "beautiful" picture too. It can fit anyone. It certainly wasn't meant as "sexy chicks" or "pretty female faces". If you are reading it that way, you are simplifying it, dragging it down into something it isn't. So a statement like that is a little of a koan, you need to relax your mind and go into it and kinda meditate on it. If you are getting defensive immediately, it is hitting a button in you and needs a little reflection. The intent behind the statement is to open something inside, and to think wider and deeper, to get something beautiful in. To feel the beauty in oneself, science, computers, and life in general. And to finish, there is a Navajo song: I walk in beauty. Beauty is before me, Beauty is behind me, Above and below.

Hedy Lamarr Female Inventor of Wireless Technology

Hedy Lamarr Female Inventor

Find out about of Hedy Lamarr aka the famous Austrian actress Hedwig Kiesle Inventor of Wireless Technology during National Women's History Month.


2007 Females now constitute an undeniable majority of the US Internet population. eMarketer estimates that there will be an estimated 97.2 million female Internet users ages 3 and older in 2007, or 51.7% of the total online population. In 2011, 109.7 million US females will go online, amounting to 51.9% of the total online population.

4/11/2000 The Philadelphia Inquirer RE: Martha Woodall
To the Editor:
Your article, "Girls Turned Off by Computer Culture," accurately reported the findings of the American Association of University Foundation report, "Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age," but the article failed to acknowledge efforts under way in Philadelphia and across the country to address these problems.
The article included only a scant mention of those who are working diligently to increase computer fluency and no mentions or URLs for Webs sites that are trying to address these issues. Examples include:

The article provided a good look at the problem. It should have provide a better look at those who are working on solutions.

Jim Leonhirth
Educational CyberPlayGround
Philadelphia, PA

Tech jobs are usually male-dominated and techie women often not 'typically' feminine

2007 sexual harassment and 'non-feminine' behaviour
"BEHAVING like "one of the boys" to get ahead at work may not be the best strategy for women. A study had found that alpha-females are more likely to suffer sexual harassment. "Women who display what many regard as traditional male traits - such as assertiveness, independence and ambition - are more often the targets of sexual harassment than "feminine" women, the Canadian research has found. The situation is worst in workplaces dominated by men, where women with so-called masculine personalities - described in the study as "uppity" - suffered more than twice the harassment of other women. "The researcher, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, Jennifer Berdahl, says it is the first systematic evidence that women who veer furthest from the feminine ideal are most likely to be sexually harassed at work and socially.... 'These results highlight the double bind faced by women who are dismissed and disrespected if feminine but scorned and disliked if masculine, limiting their ascent up the organisational ladder,' Dr Berdahl said."

Mitchell Baker Chairperson for the Mozilla Foundation
As Chair of Mozilla, Mitchell continues her commitment to an open, innovative Web and the infinite possibilities it presents. TIME Magazine profiled Mitchell under “Scientists and Thinkers” in its 2005 TIME 100. She has also appeared on “The Charlie Rose Show” and “CNN Global Office” to discuss open source software and the Firefox phenomenon. In 2009, Mitchell was honored as winner of the Anita Borg Institute's 2009 Women of Vision Award. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Aenne Burda Award for Creative Leadership and was honored as the recipient of Frost & Sullivan's 2010 Growth, Innovation and Leadership Award. She is also a part of the Henry Ford Museum's Innovator Program.

Angie Byron Angela Byron, Director of Community Development at Acquia, is the core co-maintainer for Drupal 7, recipient of the Google-O'Reilly Open 2008 Source Award for Best Contributor, co-author of the O'Reilly book Using Drupal, and an open source evangelist who lives and breathes Drupal.

2015 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ASKING FOR A RAISE Think you can't ask for a raise? Think again. Almost 60% of workers don't ask for one. PayScale's salary survey, released this year, reports that 57% of employees haven't asked for a raise in their current field. Problem: women do speak up and if they find out that a man or woman doing the exact same job as they are and speaks up and says she wants a raise the boss can fire both of them. That is legal!

U.S. gender pay gap emerges early, study finds 2007
A dramatic pay gap emerges between women and men in America the year after they graduate from college and widens over the ensuing decade, according to research released on Monday. One year out of college, women working full time earn 80 percent of what men earn, according to the study by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, based in Washington D.C. Ten years later, women earn 69 percent as much as men earn, it said. What we do know is not good.

Why companies need women engineers 2007
Big practical reason why tech companies need more of us.
Two staff members ask for feedback in very different ways. One was male, one was female. Guess who was which.... Also, guess who agonized more at making the point that he/she wanted to be told more frequently that he/she was doing well. Both wanted feedback more often.

1. I think that overall I'm doing a pretty good job. Do you agree?
2. When can we set up a time to talk about how I'm doing?

Issue: Digital Divide/Gender SOURCE AUTHOR: Pamela Mendels 2004
As the San Jose Mercury reported yesterday, the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation issued a new report, "Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age," which recommends a number of ways that girls could be encouraged to take an interest in technology.
Recommendations include:
1) Teachers should use computers in innovative ways throughout the school curriculum, so that girls who are not necessarily drawn to the computer lab might have their interest in computing sparked in, say, a literature class;
2) Teachers should receive better training not only in incorporating the computer into the classroom, but in ensuring that girls as well as boys use the equipment;
3) Computer games and educational software should display less gender bias;
4) Initiatives should be launched to combat stereotypes that many girls have about the antisocial nature of computer work; and
5) Support should be given to efforts to start computer clubs and summer-school computer classes for girls.

The New Gender Gap MAY 26, 2003
From kindergarten to grad school, boys are becoming the second sex
Lawrence High is the usual fortress of manila-brick blandness and boxy 1960s architecture. At lunch, the metalheads saunter out to the smokers' park, while the AP types get pizzas at Marinara's, where they talk about -- what else? -- other people. The hallways are filled with lip-glossed divas in designer clothes and packs of girls in midriff-baring track tops. The guys run the gamut, too: skate punks, rich boys in Armani, and saggy-panted crews with their Eminem swaggers. In other words, they look pretty much as you'd expect.
But when the leaders of the Class of 2003 assemble in the Long Island high school's fluorescent-lit meeting rooms, most of these boys are nowhere to be seen. The senior class president? A girl. The vice-president? Girl. Head of student government? Girl. Captain of the math team, chief of the yearbook, and editor of the newspaper? Girls.
It's not that the girls of the Class of 2003 aren't willing to give the guys a chance. Last year, the juniors elected a boy as class president. But after taking office, he swiftly instructed his all-female slate that they were his cabinet and that he was going to be calling all the shots. The girls looked around and realized they had the votes, says Tufts University-bound Casey Vaughn, an Intel finalist and one of the alpha femmes of the graduating class. " So they impeached him and took over."
The female lock on power at Lawrence is emblematic of a stunning gender reversal in American education. From kindergarten to graduate school, boys are fast becoming the second sex. "Girls are on a tear through the educational system," says Thomas G. Mortenson, a senior scholar at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education in Washington. "In the past 30 years, nearly every inch of educational progress has gone to them."
Just a century ago, the president of Harvard University, Charles W. Eliot, refused to admit women because he feared they would waste the precious resources of his school. Today, across the country, it seems as if girls have built a kind of scholastic Roman Empire alongside boys' languishing Greece. Although Lawrence High has its share of boy superstars -- like this year's valedictorian -- the gender takeover at some schools is nearly complete. "Every time I turn around, if something good is happening, there's a female in charge," says Terrill O. Stammler, principal of Rising Sun High School in Rising Sun, Md. Boys are missing from nearly every leadership position, academic honors slot, and student-activity post at the school. Even Rising Sun's girls' sports teams do better than the boys'.

Study Finds Wage Gap Is Just the Beginning
By Laura Koss-Feder 04/16/02
A new report finds a surprisingly large gender gap in salary, venture-capital funding, board positions, and just about every aspect of the business-executive world.
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--For all the success that women have enjoyed in the corporate world and in their own businesses over the years, hard data indicates that true gender equality remains a far off goal. The prestigious Committee of 200, a 20-year-old network of top women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, recently completed its first-ever Business Leadership Index. It showed how businesswomen fared in relation to men on a 10-point scale, with 10 representing parity with men. In an aggregate of 10 separate benchmarks, women scored an overall 3.95.
The study, released in January, also predicted how long it would take before women achieved parity. These benchmarks, which included comparing men to women in the areas of board membership of Fortune 500 companies, access to venture-capital funding, company size, enrollment in graduate business programs and gender wage gap, each had their own index numbers as well.
"The numbers show the lack of progress. Those women who have done something wonderful and have managed to break through the glass ceiling are few and far between," says Anna Lloyd, president of the committee.

Women Losing Ground in Engineering, Technology 07/22/01 By Vera Haller
A major report says women and girls have made significant progress in science over the past two decades, especially in medicine and the biological sciences. But the gains in the male bastions of computer science and engineering are being erased.

Women, minorities high-tech group gets backing March 2, 2001 by Sharon Gaudin

Gender Bias in Computing Work
A joint project between Glasgow's Department of Computing Science and Strathclyde's Department of Human Resources Management is analysing the significant gender bias which exists within the software industry, including the under-valuation of women's skills both as developers and operators.
Mrs Janet Stack
Department of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
Tel: +44 141 330 6493

Study: Girls Don't want to be geeks
High school junior Katy Prendergast is pretty blunt about why she decided to take a computer programming class. She doesn't care what goes on inside her computer. She has no grand thoughts about a high-paying technology job. All that mattered to Katy was getting another credit toward graduation; the introduction to computer programming class happened to fit her schedule. She did well, earning a ``B,'' but she'd still rather leave the technical work to someone else. ``It's tough work getting it to work exactly correctly and it's frustrating because one misspelled word and you can't get it to work,'' Katy said recently during the final week of classes at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School on Chicago's southwest side. Referring to Microsoft Corp., chairman Bill Gates, she added, ``I say let him have it all, let him do it all.'' Technology experts find that an alarming number of young girls feel the way Katy does. The number of computer science degrees awarded to women is hovering below 30 percent at the same time technology companies are begging for highly skilled employees.

Changing Girls' Attitudes About Computers April 12, 2000 By PAMELA MENDELS
If there is to be equality of the sexes in the world of information technology, educators and others need to make wide-ranging changes in how girls are taught about and exposed to computers, a new report suggests.
The report, 18 months in the making, was released Tuesday in Washington by a commission of the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, which funds educational programs benefitting women and girls. The 14-member commission was headed by Sherry Turkle, a sociology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her studies on computers and identity, and Patricia Diaz Dennis, a telecommunications industry executive and a former member of the Federal Communications Commission.
The 102-page report, "Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age," recommends a number of ways that girls could be encouraged to take an interest in technology. If the changes work, the report suggests, the result will be not only a technology work force that includes more women, but a more inclusive computer culture.

Issue: Digital Divide/Gender
Martha Woodall 4/11/2000
A report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) scheduled for release today cites an imbalance in the computing/science coursed taken by female and male high school students. Female students account for 17 percent of the students that opt to take the College Board's Advanced Placement exam in computer science; earn 28 percent of the computer science bachelor's degrees awarded; and make up only 20 percent of information technology professionals. What's needed is change in the culture that discourages female participation in these academic and professional areas contends the report, "Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age."
The male-dominated computer culture must change in order to attract girls and women to technology. Sherry Turkle, professor of sociology at MIT, co-chaired the commission that wrote the report. The lack of participation by females in these areas seems not to be related to a phobia of math or science, but instead a lack of interest in currently promoted uses of computers. When asked to describe a person who was really good with computers, the girls interviewed would often describe a man. The report also noted: "Girls outnumbered boys only in their enrollment in word processing classes, arguably the 1990s version of typing." Parents are also providing boys more opportunities with computers. Boys tend to have a computer in their bedrooms, attend computer camps, and are allowed to tinker with machines. The commission report concludes that students need to be better educated about the range of career options that use technology.

AAUW Educational Foundation Research
What they say about their own study.
Tech-Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (2000)


Indian schools tend to over emphasize natural sciences over social sciences. This may finally explain why girls do overwhelmingly better in Indian high school examinations than boys.
A survey of the finger lengths of over 100 male and female academics at the University of Bath by senior Psychology lecturer Dr Mark Brosnan has found that those men teaching hard science like mathematics and physics tend to have index fingers as long as their ring fingers, a marker for unusually high estrogen levels for males. <summary>
It also found the reverse: those male academics with longer ring fingers than index fingers - the usual male pattern - tended not to be in science but in social science subjects such as psychology and education.
The study also found that these hormonal levels may make male scientists less likely to have children.
Academics find that finger of destiny points their way Male scientists are good at research because they have the hormone levels of women and long index fingers, a new study says.
A survey of academics at the University of Bath has found that male scientists typically have a level of the hormone estrogen as high as their testosterone level.
These hormone levels are more usual in women than men, who normally have higher levels of testosterone. The study draws on research that suggests that these unusual hormone levels in many male scientists cause the right side of their brains, which governs spatial and analytic skills, to develop strongly.
The study, which as been submitted to the British Journal of Psychology, also found that:

  • these hormonal levels may make male scientists less likely to have children. - those men with a higher level of estrogen were more likely than average to have relatives with dyslexia, which may in part be caused by hormonal levels.
  • women social scientists tended to have higher levels of testosterone, making their brains closer to those of males in general.

The study drew on work in the last few years which established that the levels of estrogen and testosterone a person has can be seen in the relative length of their index (second) and ring (fourth) fingers. The ratio of the lengths is set before birth and remains the same throughout life.
The length of fingers is genetically linked to the sex hormones, and a person with an index finger shorter than the ring finger will have had more testosterone while in the womb, and a person with an index finger longer than the ring finger will have had more estrogen. The difference in the lengths can be small - as little as two or three per cent - but important.
A survey of the finger lengths of over 100 male and female academics at the University by senior Psychology lecturer Dr Mark Brosnan has found that those men teaching hard science like mathematics and physics tend to have index fingers as long as their ring fingers, a marker for unusually high estrogen levels for males.
It also found the reverse: those male academics with longer ring fingers than index fingers - the usual male pattern - tended not to be in science but in social science subjects such as psychology and education.
A further study also suggests that prenatal hormone exposure, and hence index finger length, can also influence actual achievement levels. In a survey of male and female students on a JAVA programming course at the University, the researchers found a link between finger length ratio and test score. The smaller the difference between index and ring finger - the higher the test score at the end of the year. "The results are a fascinating insight into how testosterone and estrogen levels in the womb can affect people's choice of career and how these levels can show up in the length of fingers on our hands," said Dr Brosnan. In the general population, men typically have higher levels of testosterone than women, but the male scientists at the University of Bath have lower testosterone levels than is usual for men - their estrogen and testosterone levels tend to match those of women generally.
This research now suggests that lower than average testosterone levels in men lead to spatial skills that can give a man the ability to succeed in science. Other research has in the past also suggested that an unusually high level of testosterone can do the same thing by encouraging the development of the right hemisphere.
This right brain development is at the expense of language abilities and people skills that men with a more usual level of testosterone develop and which can help them in social science subjects like psychology or education.
Dr. Brosnan said that men having levels of testosterone very much higher than normal for males would also create the right hemisphere dominated brain, which could help in science. The extremes of low testosterone and high testosterone for men would create the scientific brain, and the normal range in the middle would create the 'social science' brain.
The question also arises as to why more women, who have this lower level of testosterone, are not in science, which is male-dominated, with only one in 40 science professors being a woman.
The short answer is that we don't know: the high levels of estrogen in women may act differently on the brain and not give them the spatial skills that men with similar levels of the hormone have.
There may be social reasons: science has been male-dominated the past and this may be putting women off entering it, even though they are able to. Why male scientists should have fewer children is not known.
"The study of my colleagues at the University of Bath was also interesting in that it shows that women in social science tend to have a higher level of testosterone level relative to their estrogen level, making their brains closer to those of men in general, said Dr. Brosnan."