The Best of Systers Blog “Male Majority for Another 20 Years?”
There was a recent discussion on Systers about comments from Christos Papadimitrou. I wont go into whether or not he is right or wrong, which is a topic that received a bit of flaming. What I want to discuss is a comment from Susan Landau, a syster and someone who I always enjoy hearing when she talks at the Grace Hopper Conference. She wrote (with permission to share):
“In 1989 Christos put together a program committee of ten women and two men for the Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) conference, which is one of the two leading conferences in theoretical computer science. He was accused of reverse discrimination at the time. Time shows up those critics sharply. The program committee consisted of Fan Chung, Cynthia Dwork, Faith Ellen Fich, Shafi Goldwasser, Debby Joseph, Maria Klawe, Nancy Lynch, Vijaya Ramachandran, Eva Tardos, Avi Widgerson (the one male on the program committee aside from Papadimitriou), Frances Yao, and Christos. Of the ten women, four are now members of the National Academy of Engineering (Dwork, Goldwasser, Lynch, Tardos), one just won a Turing Award (Goldwasser), one is the president of Harvey Mudd College (Klawe), two have been Athena Lecturers (Goldwasser and Lynch). They are numerous other awards as well (e.g. ACM fellows, etc.).”
Just how amazing is that?
It is easy to become focused on a stupid comment that someone made. Irregardless of whether or not he meant it, or what was meant by it, the comment matters little in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that women in technology keep making strides forward. What can we do to make people believe that in 20 years women and men in technology will equal parity? What can we do to get there? What can we do to make people continue to put together such amazing panels?
And, more importantly, how soon can I make a time machine so that I can sneak into that committee?