Why We Used Creative Commons for the Notable Women in Computing Card Deck

Mock-up of card_Back
Every piece of our Notable Women in Computer Science card deck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 U.S. License. There’s a few reasons for that.

The first is ideological: the card deck is designed to help connect technical women and girls to the history of women’s leadership in computer science. Some women and girls who most need that connection may not be able to afford a deck: think a public high school computer science teacher trying to encourage teenagers to consider software engineering who wants to hand out 12 decks. $120 is a bit high for a public school teacher’s salary, but these cards might have a major impact in those girls’ lives.

That’s why we’re rolling all profits from our Kickstarter back into the project to fund sending cards to educators who can’t afford them. We plan to make $0 profit from this project. Backers can also select to Give 1/Get 1 if they’re interested in doing so. We’re enthusiastically accepting applications for free decks.

The second reason we licensed the deck under Creative Commons is practical: particularly in the first edition, a number of the photos we used to showcase notable women came from their Wikipedia pages. Some of those photos were in the public domain (like ones taken by the U.S. Department of Defense) while others are licensed through Creative Commons under ShareAlike and/or NonCommercial licenses. Those licenses mean that if we wanted to use the photos in a project, that project needed to be licensed similarly.

You’ll note that we include proper citations at the bottom of all of the CC-licensed cards. See a card without a citation? We have individual permission from the technical woman pictured. We’re heard nothing but positive feedback from the women honored in this deck, with some sending us updated pictures for the second edition.

The final reason is personal: I am a huge fan of Creative Commons. All 1000+ entries on this blog are CC-licensed. As a musician, writer, and former Electronic Frontier Foundation and Berkman Center for Internet and Society intern, I think Creative Commons is the best and use with whenever possible.

All of this is a long way to say: anyone who wants to can download the full first edition of these playing cards, and either print them through the vendor we used or another way entirely. If you want to make a Latinas in Computing, or an African-Americans in Computing deck, you’re welcome to use our files as a starting point. There are full instructions here. If you do it, let us know–I’m @JessiDG on Twitter.

Updated to add a link to the Kickstarter–decks start at $10 and you can see all of our budgeting on the page.

Inspirational Quote:

“I was told I’d never make it to VP rank because I was too outspoken. Maybe so, but I think men will always find an excuse for keeping women in their ‘place.’ So, let’s make that place the executive suite and start more of our own companies.”— Jean Bartik

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