Issue #4 - Anita Borg

Welcome to the 4th issue of Heroes of Computer Science! I hope you enjoyed the previous edition of this newsletter.

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Anita Borg

Computer scientist Anita Borg was a strong advocate for technical women, passionately working towards the goal of having 50% representation for women in computing by 2020.

Through her highly accomplished career, mostly in email and communication systems, she established a number of initiatives to make sure technical fields were places where women would be equally represented at all levels.

After attending a  symposium with almost no women in sight, she worked together with the few that were present on an idea that in 1987 became Systers, an emailing list to provide a safe space for women with technical training to seek input and share advice.

Together with Telle Whitney, she founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in 1994, a conference by and for women computer scientists. Its first edition brought together 500 technical women!

In 1997, Borg founded the Institute for Women and Technology (renamed in 2003 to the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology by Whitney). The organization had two major goals: to increase the representation of women in technical fields and to enable the creation of more technology by women.

Further reading

Borg’s legacy is vast and she had a deep impact on the diversity we have (and still strive to improve) nowadays in technology. To get more familiar with the challenges she faced, check Recoding Gender: Women's Changing Participation in Computing. In it you can read interviews from Borg and other women pioneers.

Dr. Anita Borg; Member of Research Staff, Xerox PARC, Institute for Women and Technology.