NCWIT Talking Points

Rikki Kite

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

Jul 10, 2008 GMT
Rikki Kite

The site provides a Talking Points page as a resource for parents and educators to help encourage girls to consider careers in IT. The page is a great starting point and touches on topics such as what kinds of jobs are available, how to get started, job security and salaries, and how to prepare for a career in IT. However, the link to read more about women in IT provides a rather short list of 22 women and brief descriptions about them.

Women who made the list are:

  • Ashley Qualls
  • Juliette Brindak
  • Martina Butler
  • Marissa Mayer
  • Fran Allen
  • Mary Lou Jepsen
  • Manuela Veloso
  • Helene Brashear
  • Val Henderson
  • Dr. Robin Murphy
  • Ayanna Howard
  • Leah Buechley
  • Regina Barzilay
  • Martha Gray
  • Lorrie Cranor
  • Dannie Durand
  • Roberta Klatzky
  • Jennifer Mankoff
  • Shafi Goldwasser
  • Deborah Estrin
  • and under the "Dead Now" category, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and Anita Borg

Surely we can think of a lot more women to add to this list and help the site provide a more complete resource for girls considering careers in IT.

Please post a comment and let me know who you think should be added to the list, or email your suggestions to me and I'll pass them along.


  • NCWIT talking points cards, target audience


    Thank you for mentioning this new resource, the first of the NCWIT Talking Points series. NCWIT is a capacity-building organization that uses high-quality social science and advocacy for achieving parity for women in computing. Please help us build the list of women to showcase to girls and women, because we will only accomplish our goals in partnership with others. If you have suggestions for more women on the list, please send them to By the way, these do not have to be superheroes. Girls and women want to see other girls and women whose lives are real and believable, too.

    The Talking Points series is a way of supporting individuals who want to motivate others. The web site is not the main component of Talking Points, but rather the "for more information..." site. Our goal was to produce something for parents and teachers, including parents who don't have access to computers. (The NCWIT K-12 Alliance plans to translate the card into Spanish, too.) We wanted to put the information in a form that was somewhat unusual, to get attention. The result was a 5x8 card, which you download (pdf) on our the Talking Points page. We've already passed out 6,000 at the National Educational Computing Conference and will distribute 50,000 (plus?) more through the NCWIT K-12 Alliance members this summer.

    We worked very hard to produce the Talking Points card, using a research basis for the content, then piloting with many adults (and a few kids), and feedback from the NCWIT Social Science Advisory Board, NCWIT Workforce Alliance, and NCWIT K-12 Alliance. We targeted adults with the content because research tells us that parents and teachers are the strongest influences on kids' decisions. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to produce something to help adults talk to kids about computing careers and what kids can do now to ensure successful degree attainment as undergraduates. We know, however, that kids will also see the card, so we kept them in mind as a secondary audience. If you have comments or suggestions about this card or other issues related to advancing women in computing, please send to

    Lecia Barker, Senior Research Scientist, National Center for Women & IT

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