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August 27, 2004

MIT names first woman president

Yale University Provost Susan Hockfield, a professor and administrator with a background in biology, anatomy, and neuroscience, will head up the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

--> edition.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/ 08/26/mit.president.ap/index.html

--> web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2004/ president-announcement.html

August 12, 2004

"A few good women: Tech firms want more female computer whizzes"

The number of women in computer science programs is falling, despite the increasing female presence in a number of other career fields. Businesses and universities in the United States are reacting by stepping up their efforts to entice them into the computing industry, trying everything from mentoring networks to computer science camps.

How well those initiatives succeed may determine whether the half of the U.S. population that is female ever boasts 50 percent of the nation's computer science degrees, as women do now in professions such as medicine and law. But even if the industry falls short of that goal, some companies now see a compelling business case for boosting the number of women in IT ranks. "If you've got a bunch of nerdy white guys creating the technology, you get stuff that appeals to nerdy white guys," says Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer for Sun Microsystems. "If you want to turn out more usable products, you'd better get more women involved."

In some instances, not having a woman on a design team can prove costly, not only in profits. At one California communications firm, engineers couldn't understand why a hospital emergency-messaging device--triggered by voice recognition--wasn't working. Then somebody noticed that most of the nursing staff was female. The voice-recognition software had been tested mostly on men.

This article is also the subject of a heated debate on Slashdot.

--> "A few good women: Tech firms want more female computer whizzes", U.S. News & World Report, Marci Mcdonald, August 16, 2004, www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/ 040816/biztech/16eegeeks.htm