PASADENA, CA — It’s been a decade since the University of California, Berkeley, set up an all-female computer science program, and as such this week marks the 20th anniversary of the U.C.B. computer science campus — or, in other words, the 10th anniversary of the first “women’s computer club,” which was first formed in 1999.
U.C.B. is a flagship institution of academia in Northern California, which, in 2012, received a $8 billion gift (that’s just a tiny fraction of the university’s entire budget, of course) from venture-backed tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who is on record as saying it’s in his “best interest” not to have to raise taxes on the wealthiest among us.
“To think of the university that you and others have created here and for which you’ve worked for 20 years as being a microcosm of the society at large is to think of the future far beyond the present and to think in terms of an even older moment than you could possibly imagine,” professor and director of U.C.B.’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Dr. Stephanie L. Bortolotti, told the New York Times last year.
“We all went through that experience in that 20 years,” she said. “We’re trying to figure out how we can build on that.”
This year marks the culmination of this effort, a group of about 40 women who formed U.C.B. in 1999 to encourage themselves to think differently about the role of computers in the workplace. The group — all Ph.D.-level computer science faculty — includes women from outside the field of computer science with experience at U.C.B., including math, engineering, business, and engineering-based health care organizations.
The group’s original mission statement was: “We seek to create a computer science department whose educational values and professional practice reflect the community’s values.” The group’s ultimate goal was also to “improve the computer science community,” which, at the time, was largely defined by men, and to “strengthen women’s representation in the computer science community on campus.”
“We’re still working on it,” senior science and engineering adviser Sarah Eubanks told Berkeleyside. “We’re working very hard to make sure that what starts here will carry over into future campuses and into careers. You can’t do it by doing stuff that no one else is
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