We Don’t Need Beards to Achieve in Computing!

by Ann Gates

Ann Gates

Ann Gates


“Did you know that all great computer scientists have beards?” This was posed to me by a professor in the hallway when I was a Ph.D. student, and it had a profound impact on me. Why? Because many of the computer scientists to whom I was exposed did, indeed, have beards, and I wondered where a Mexican-American female would fit in this world.
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11 to 48 in 14

By Maria Klawe

Maria Klawe sitting next to a Koi pond

Maria Klawe, President Harvy Mudd College

The paucity of females in science and engineering has been bothering me for a long time. It started when I was a young girl who loved all things that were supposed to be just for boys. It intensified when math faculty asked me why I wanted to be a mathematician given that there were no good female mathematicians. When I moved to the University of British Columbia in 1988 as the Head of Computer Science I was the fourth female to become a full professor in the Faculty of Science

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From Research Rags to Riches

By Wendy Hall

Wendy Hall

Professor Dame Wendy Hall
Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18

I was not always passionate about computing. I started my academic career as a mathematician and really didn’t enjoy computing while I was doing my first degree. It was the 1970’s and computing in my University degree was all about using punched cards to write FORTRAN programmes. I gave it up as soon as I found out the course was non-examinable!
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My Career in Computer Science

By Barbara Liskov

Barbara Liskov

Barbara Liskov


When I was young, it was uncommon for women to have careers. After World War 2, there was pressure on women to stay at home. I have often wondered what led me to go in a different direction.

My parents expected me to go to college and to excel academically, but not to have a career. My father was concerned that I be able to support myself — if I had no husband to support me. What I would do in this case was never spelled out, but my impression was that I could be a teacher or a secretary. My father was a lawyer, but my having such a profession did not appear to be a possibilitity.
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My biggest journey yet, from Congo to India to Kabul

by Carol Realini

Carol Realinni with inexpensive cell phone

Carol Realinni


In 2002 I was traveling in Africa because of my board role with a non-profit that worked there. A retired software entrepreneur who had successfully dealt with big problems, I was “giving back” by supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries. What I didn’t know was that I was to face some of the biggest challenges of my life.
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I Risked My Career and Lived to Tell the Tale

By Ellen Lapham

Ellen Lapham

Ellen Lapham


This is my story of a long ago time, before rapid prototyping and 3D printing were ubiquitous. I’ll let you know up front that my life and career have centered on taking risks – though I had to build up to them.

I watched rapt as man first landed on the moon about 3am that glorious July morning, yet my first job was with a company whose technology was perfected in 1905 or so. We were the first US firm with modern dry-process copiers, but my division also made mechanical typewriters (ever used one?), then the firm’s core revenue and profits producer.
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You can be a computer scientist and a feminist!

by Valerie Barr

Valerie Barr

Valerie Barr


I recognise that life has an inside as well as an outside and that events separated by years lie side by side imaginatively and emotionally. – Jeanette Winterson, in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

I went to college during the mid-late 1970s, smack in the middle of “second-wave feminism” in the U.S. It was the period during which an increasing number of schools started offering women’s studies courses, people began to talk about sexual harassment, and battered women’s shelters opened. On my campus we had seemingly endless discussions about patriarchy, lesbian separatism, and all facets of feminism. These conversations encouraged me to think about a number of important issues.
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Girls Just Want to Do Math


Francine Berman, smiling and looks like she is listening

Francine Berman


Francine Berman
is Vice President for Research and Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Vice Chair of the Anita Borg Board of Trustees, a world expert on national scale cyberinfrastructure, and good at Math.
  • “I was always good at Math and Science and Physics.”
  • “If you enjoy math and you write novels, it’s very rare that you’ll get a chance to put your math into a novel. I leapt at the chance.”
  • “I didn’t mind studying. Obviously math and the physical science subjects interested me more than some of the more artistic subjects, but I think I was a pretty good student.”

Quick quiz: How many of these quotes were by women?
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