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Ruby on Rails Workshop

Thanks to everyone who contributed and attended the workshop this October. We hope we were successful in hosting an attitude-free, newbie-safe and mama-friendly tech event encouraging women to join the Ruby on Rails community.

Women are a minority in most technical communities, but in open source communities the numbers are even smaller — by a factor of about ten or more.

Moving forward, we encourage our newly empowered programmers to meet monthly and use their skills towards open source projects in a welcoming, collaborative, mixed gendered environment.

Click here to learn more about the Open Source Code Crunch.

Corporate Sponsors:




Individual Sponsors:

Julia Ashmun

Author Archive for apatel

Girls in Tech Boston Event

This is a bit of short notice but nonetheless:

Girls in Tech | Boston

The Boston Chapter of Girls in Tech will be hosting a lifestyle panel discussion designed to explore the following issues:

* work/life balance
* career management
* leading a purpose-driven life


* 6:00 – 7:00 pm » Networking
* 7:00 – 7:45 pm » Panel Discussion
* 7:45 – 9:00 pm » Open Audience Discussion

Event Details

* Date » Tuesday, June 30, 2009
* Time » 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
* Location » 38 Cameron Gallery, Cambridge, MA

This event is FREE. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. Reservations are required.
More info here.

March 18th Mini-Conference – Mind Map

By Anita Patel, Junior Web Developer, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

The March 18th Mini-Conference had great discussions and led to a lot of varying thoughts and ideas. The speakers varied in areas of expertise:

  • Duncan Kennedy — considered a historical feminist framework
  • Eszter Hargittai — examined gender difference in perception of technology skills
  • Nancy Hafkin — questioned the international world: broadband access; SES issues; international branch developing countries
  • Judith Donath — looked at trust and identity. construction of gender… through the flexible are the constructions?
  • Dena Sacco and Diane Rosenfeld — dicussed legal issues in pornography, rape, crime on the Internet
  • Margo Seltzer & Elizabeth Stark –searched for models and experiences of visionary -gendered leadership

The thoughts gathered from these discussions were so diverse that the best way to represent them is through a mind map. So I made one. To view the Gender and Technology Mini-Conference Mind Map, click here

Birth of the Netbook

Mary Lou Jepsen, an LCD screen designer, was chosen to lead the development of the One Laptop Per Child project. With such tight constraints Jepsen needed to carefully craft the machine to sell for about $100.

Instead of using a spinning hard drive she chose flash memory—the type in your USB thumb drive—because it draws very little juice and doesn’t break when dropped. For software she picked Linux and other free, open source packages instead of paying for Microsoft’s wares. She used an AMD Geode processor, which isn’t very fast but requires less than a watt of power. And as the pièce de résistance, she devised an ingenious LCD panel that detects whether onscreen images are static (like when you’re reading a document) and tells the main processor to shut down, saving precious electricity.

Asustek crafted the EEEPC with concern that Jepsen’s OLPC machine would be a threat. Within a few months it sold out its 350,000 piece inventory. Turns out people wanted less out of their laptops and the netbook as been a success ever since.

Read the full article from Wired.

New CTO of the U.S. Could be a Woman

It’s great to see President Obama so focused on technology and the importance of it in our government. Although it is still unclear how the new CTO position will interact with the current Chief Information Officer and the new Cyber-Security Czar position the two people up for the position are both Indian-born technology executives. They are Padmasree Warrior who is the chief technology officer of Cisco Systems, and Vivek Kundra, who is the chief technology officer in the government of Washington, D.C. Padmasree Warrior was previously the CTO at Motorolla and has a strong technology expertise.

Check out the article in Business Week.

Fortune 500 Women CEOs

There are 12 Fortune 500 CEOs that are women, but none of them are in the technology field. Maybe the next generation of CEOs will change that! Read the article from

Support Ada Lovelace Day!

Join the pledge of over a thousand people to blog about your favorite woman techie on March 24th. You can pledge here:

Learn more about Ada Lovelace, the “first programmer”, here.

What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science?

The number of women in the computer science field has been surprisingly dropping. In 2001-2002 28% of undergraduate degrees for computer science went to women, it went down to 22% in 2004-2005. Many computer science departments are reporting that the percentage is now under 10%. It is argued that the rise of male oriented video games correlates to the decline in women interested in the computer science/engineering field. Justine Cassell, director of Northwestern University’s Center for Technology & Social Behavior, has written in “Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming,” “The girls game movement failed to dislodge the sense among both boys and girls that computers were ‘boys’ toys’ and that true girls didn’t play with computers.” Another thought Ms. Cassell suggests for the drop in interest is the notion of being labeled a “nerd” or “geek” which may be unappealing to women.

Check out the full article here.

Wooing women gamers — and game creators

A few women at Sony Online Entertainment have created a group called G.I.R.L, Gamers In Real Life, which is a scholarship program to attract more young women to careers in game development. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 38 percent of gamers are female, spending an average of 7.4 hours a week playing. Yet, the number of women who are actually developing these games are very low.

“Though the number of women who play games is high, they represent just under 12 percent of the industry, according to the International Game Developers Association. By diversifying the work force, developers can create products that appeal to a wider audience.”

Read the full article here.

The contest for the scholarship was to design a video game, here is the winner.