The friends to whom I’ve posed the question in this title often begin confidently:
“Sure! Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace, umm, Anita Borg, ummmmmmm. Um.”
Then follows an embarrassed silence.
Women have been a part of the history of computing from the very beginning, but our stories are rarely remembered and seldom told. Dr Susan Rodger, my Mom (Katy Dickinson), and other technical women have been working for years on a project to increase the number of notable women who have Wikipedia pages as one way to address this. Here is a list of over 300 notable women in computing; it includes notes as to who does and does not have a Wikipedia page. You can submit names to the database, correct information, and more importantly, you can learn to write a great Wikipedia article, then write one using information in the database.
I came late to this project but brought my graphic design skills and lifetime of card-sharking. I designed a custom deck of 54 notable women in computing to make it easier for my friends to name at least 5 next time I ask. Pending a few details, we should be launching a Kickstarter for the project in the next few days.
Women in the deck have received external recognition from multiple sources, are diverse, and beyond inspiring (learn more about selection here). The information on the cards and many of the images are in the public domain, and the entire project is freely licensed under Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 U.S. License. You can download all of the jpgs here and print them yourself using instructions that should be on this page in the next few days.
Dr Rodger will be presenting a poster with these cards at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on the Notable Women in Computing project. Go by to ask questions during the poster session, if you’re at Hopper. While you’re there, you can also pick up a deck at the Duke table for $6 to cover printing costs.
More on this project soon!
“Leaders of the future will have to be visionary and be able to bring people in – real communicators. These are things that women bring to leadership and executive positions, and it’s going to be incredibly valuable and incredibly in demand”–Anita Borg