Thought Leaders Convene to Solve Issues Concerning Women in Technology at the 2015 NCWIT Summit

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Distinguished entrepreneurial, corporate, social science, non-profit, and academic representatives cross disciplinary lines to share effective strategies for attracting and keeping women in computing.

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The NCWIT Summit is where powerful, unprecedented conversations about increasing diversity in computing happen.

Tomorrow, May 19, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), a non-profit focused on increasing the meaningful participation of women in technology, will kick off the 2015 NCWIT Summit on Women and IT: practices and ideas to revolutionize computing (https://www.ncwit.org/summit). This annual, three-day event convenes more than 600 change leaders from the NCWIT community of educators, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and social scientists who recognize the lack of women and other underrepresented groups in computing is a crisis affecting U.S. innovation and workforce competitiveness.

Extensive research has found that groups with greater diversity solve complex problems better and faster than do homogenous groups. Yet, women hold only 26% of U.S. technology jobs and make up only 19% of U.S. software developers. The industry is failing to attract diverse talent.

“The NCWIT Summit is where powerful, unprecedented conversations about increasing diversity in computing happen,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “Our alliance members don’t just talk about the issues; they implement strategies identified by NCWIT as effective practices, and their hard work leads to progress. NCWIT is a network of change leaders producing results all year long.”

Event highlights include:

  • Actress Renée Felice Smith will receive the first-ever SET Award for Portrayal of a Female in Technology, presented by Actress and Activist Mayim Bialik, PhD. This award – sponsored by the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC), NCWIT, and Google – honors a female character (and those involved in bringing her to life in television, film, or streaming media) that goes above and beyond to inspire future female technologists and eliminate stereotypes to elevate the conversation around female ingenuity in a technology field.
  • Plenary speakers and special guests include Amy P. Abernethy, MD PhD, Duke University School of Medicine, Professor of Medicine; Karen Ashcraft, Professor of Communication, University of Colorado Boulder; Benjamin Todd Jealous, Partner, Kapor Capital; Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations, Google; Peggy Johnson, Microsoft, Executive Vice President, Business Development; Rane Johnson-Stempson, Director, Microsoft Research; Amanda Neuf, Director, Technology Development, AT&T; Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law, Center for WorkLife Law, UC Hastings Foundation Chair and Director; and Janice Zdankus, Vice President, Enterprise Group, Hewlett-Packard Company.
  • NCWIT will screen “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap” – a documentary that exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap and digital divide. The film highlights breakthrough efforts that are producing more diverse programmers and shows how this critical gap can be closed. “CODE” asks: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code and how do we get there?
  • Colin Bodell, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Time Inc.; Ileana M. Rivera, Sr. Director, IT, Cisco Systems; and Jeremy Sonnenburg, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets will participate as judges for the NCWIT Flash Tank – an idea incubator for empowering change leaders for women in technology.
  • NCWIT will honor Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden with the 2015 NCWIT Pioneer Award – an award that recognizes technical women whose lifetime contributions have significantly impacted the landscape of technological innovation, amplifying the importance of capitalizing on the diverse perspectives that girls and women can bring to the technology design table.
  • NCWIT will recognize faculty members and others at higher education institutions who make a significant impact on increasing the number of women in computing-related fields through mentoring, engaging curriculum, recruitment practices, and more: Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Awards, sponsored by Google.org; EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards, sponsored by Google; Undergraduate Research Mentoring (URM) Award, sponsored by AT&T; Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award, sponsored by the NCWIT Board of Directors; and the Academic Alliance Seed Fund, sponsored by Microsoft Research. (https://www.ncwit.org/awards)

Visit https://www.ncwit.org/summit/agenda for a complete listing of events. The 2015 NCWIT Summit will stream live at https://www.ncwit.org/livestream, with support from Media Partners JupiterReturn, Microsoft, and FabLab. The event is sponsored by NCWIT’s Strategic and Investment Partners with additional support from IT-oLogy and the Royal Bank of Canada.

About NCWIT
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 600 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at https://www.ncwit.org.

NCWIT receives significant financial support from Lifetime Partner Apple, Strategic Partners NSF (the National Science Foundation), Microsoft, Bank of America, Google, and Intel, as well as from Investment Partners Avaya, Pfizer, Merck, AT&T, Bloomberg, and Hewlett-Packard. View all of NCWIT’s supporters at https://www.ncwit.org/about/supporters.

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Adriane Bradberry
NCWIT
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