Gender, Technology and UN Pants

Photo courtesy of FatBusinessMan

It took a minute, but I found decent pants to wear to the UN. Yeah, that UN. This Thursday, March 3, 2011, I’m part of a panel about “Women in Technology: The Past, Present, and Strategies for the Future”, which will happen alongside the United Nations 55th Committee on the Status of Women Annual Conference. The topic of the big conference is access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work. This event is organized by the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN) and co-sponsored by United Nations Association, New York (UNA-NY); World Diversity Leadership Summit (WDLS) and Hitachi Data Systems. More info from the UN Association and the Foundation for the Support of the UN. It’s open to the public, so stop by if you like! Registration is requested but not required, and you can do so by emailing jcs.fsun [@] It happens at 2pm at the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, 221 East 52nd St., New York, NY, and is followed by another interesting panel on “Diversity and Inclusion: Strengthening Partnerships Between the Business Sector and NGOs”.

I’m going to give a little lightening talk about my experiences as an IT professional, a volunteer teaching basic tech, and an elected leader of a hackerspace addressing its diversity gaps. I’ll touch on how I feel I’ve been received in those situations, what it’s like to increase women’s engagement with technology, and what’s going on in the background of those very different contexts.

The panel is really interesting. One of them is Christina Dunbar-Hester, about whom I effervesced in a previous post. There’s Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of TechGirlz, a young Philly org that aims to get 6th to 8th grade girls excited about technology because that seems to be the age when their interest, and therefore aptitude, falls off. The wonderful LeAnn Erickson will be talking about her feature-length documentary about the Top Secret Rosies of WWII, and the women who programmed ENIAC. Leslie Chapman will bring her perspective as a software developer with a background in AI, and Lisa Dearborn joins us from Hitachi where she works as a Vice President of Diversity, College Programs, and Communications. There might be one more last minute addition that’s a secret, but here’s a hint: media critique and puppets.

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