Tag Archives: Ask Donna

Question/Answer: How Do We Improve Computer Science’s Image?

question markSee Wechie’s Comment of 8/21: There seems to be hundreds of separate initiatives to encourage girls to study computer science but there remains an image problem. How can we get an industry wide campaign going to improve the image of computing?

Yes, Wechie you are correct, there is a huge image problem. American Association of University Women’s Study, Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (2000) which you can download for free, documents the image problem among girls and many other studies have gone on to replicate these findings.

I would like to see one of the major computer giants – such as Apple or Electronic Arts – use their marketing savvy and department to team with a nonprofit (such as us) to develop a multi-media marketing campaign (YouTube, facebook, TV commercials, Posters) that could create a more positive image of computer science for women and girls (and men!).

Of course, we also advocate that schools help to change the image by showing female role models in posters and career videos — our womentechstore has many resources to help with this. I’ve personally previewed the videos we have and they are extremely well done. (Shameless plug). Now if we could combine this with a national campaign by industry leaders this could be the push that’s needed.

Question/Answer:What To Do When A Woman is Blocked by a Woman

On 8/27, Mcauly asks what should she do when she’s blocked by another woman? question markJulia Child actually gives us some guidance on what to do when as a woman you are blocked by another woman. (See my earlier post of 8/20).  Essentially the same thing you would do if you were blocked by a man. 1) She uses politically savvy – by referencing her ally in power (the ambassador); 2) she persists by insisting she be given the test and by asking to be given it again when it is designed for her to fail; 3) she over prepares and studies long, long hours – determined to pass; 4) she does not take it personally.

She reminds me of the first women entering firefighting and what they went through. Is it fair, no? However, there are important lessons to be learned from those pioneers like Julia who refuse to fail. To summarize: have good political skills, persist, over prepare, don’t take things personally.

Readers, do you have strategies you’ve used successfully that you’d like to share? Please comment.

Ask Donna Advice Column Launched! Send Your Questions.

Donna MilgramHave a question on recruiting and retaining women and girls in technology that you want to ask me? Now’s your chance, today I am launching a “Dear Donna” advice column except it will be about gender equity questions.  Send your questions to me via this link. Make sure to include “Ask Donna” in the subject line. This should be fun!

Do you know that I read “Dear Abby” faithfully every morning in the San Francisco Chronicle and now I am going to have an advice column of my own!!! I’m so excited, so fire away with those questions, the more difficult the better readers. :-)