Report from the women and IT summit

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The CCC blog posted a report out from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) annual summit held last week in Oregon. The NCWIT (which I had sadly not heard of before I saw this post) is a non-profit coalition of organizations whose goal is to increase women’s participation in information technology.

A few highlights from the post

This year, one of the prominent themes of the summit was bias, both explicit and implicit, and its effects on women. The Academic Alliance (AA) meeting began with a fascinating talk from Dr. Bernice Sandler, considered “The Godmother of Title IX”.  In her talk, Dr. Sandler provided numerous practical tips for recognizing and responding to sexual harassment and other forms of more subtle bias.

In the keynote talk on Wednesday morning, Brian Nosek gave us a fascinating look at implicit bias in which he described the Implicit Association Test, a psychological instrument for measuring implicit bias. He presented research that shows that most people in the US, both men and women, tend to implicitly associate “male” with “science” and “female” with “arts and humanities.” In addition, this bias is correlated with female’s lower self-confidence and indeed lower performance in mathematics. You can read more about this research and take the implicit association test yourself here.

If you are interesting in joining, check out the NCWIT page and find an Alliance that’s right for you

NCWIT Alliance members pledge to contribute their most promising practices for nationwide piloting; consider adopting recruitment, retention and curricular practices; serve as beta test sites for these practices; meet at least twice annually to discuss and compare approaches; serve as national leaders and change-agents; and provide overall guidance and advice to the NCWIT leadership team. If you are interested in joining an NCWIT Alliance, please email us.