The Anita Borg Institute connects, inspires, and guides women technologists who live, study, and work all around the globe – from Nairobi to Hyderabad, from Tokyo to Minneapolis. Our flagship event, the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, welcomed 15,000 people – mostly women – from 87 countries last year.
Some of those women live in the very countries included in the Executive Order issued by President Donald J. Trump Friday afternoon. That order suspended immigration and entry to the United States by refugees and by citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations. As has been widely reported, the order’s immediate effect – whether intended or not – was to effectively close our borders to those who have legally and legitimately gone through the process of acquiring visas and/or permanent residence.
This Executive Order has a direct impact on members of the ABI community. For some, the uncertainty of whether or not they will be able to travel to attend GHC 17 may prevent them from applying to present at the celebration or from nominating a colleague for an ABIE award. Those already studying or working in the United States may be experiencing a tremendous amount of anxiety and distress about what this means for their future, and for that of their family and friends.
Women who live in some of the very countries included in the Executive Order told us how GHC 16 provided them sanctuary – a safe place to meet and learn from other women technologists. It also provided other women technologists the opportunity to learn from them, and that exchange of diverse ideas contributes to better development of technology.
The Anita Borg Institute opposes this Executive Order, and stands in solidarity with all our community members affected by it. We work on behalf of all women, no matter where they live and what they profess, and we are committed to creating a world in which their work contributes equally to the development and implementation of technology. We call on the U.S. government to remove this restriction and refrain from erecting more barriers that threaten opportunities for women, immigrants, and under-represented minorities.