to ensure that grantees comply with
Title IX by performing several compliance activities, such as investigating
complaints and providing technical
assistance, but most agencies have
not conducted all the monitoring activities required. 11
˲ Publicly advertise the agency’s diversity programs and its proportion of
women in leadership positions.
˲ Stay aware of new policy and legislative initiatives, even in advance of
their demonstrated impacts.
˴ The House Diversity and Innovation Caucus, whose mission is to help
generate policy ideas for addressing
the underrepresentation of women
and minorities in the STEM fields, has
held a number of briefings.
˴ The America COMPETES Act
of 2007 (Creating Opportunities to
Meaningfully Promote Excellence in
Technology, Education, and Science)
seeks to strengthen research, provide
technical training for 21st-century occupations, and attract the best and
˴ NSF’s ADVANCE program, in
place for about a decade, contributes to
the development of a more diverse technical work force (see www.nsf.gov/fund-
˴ The BPC program, while relatively new, is having significant impact on many computing educators
and professionals. Its largest initiative is NCWIT, whose organizational
structure includes a set of alliances—
within participating communities in
K– 12, academia, and industry—that
have been very successful. For example, the Stars Alliance is a partnership
of over 20 southeastern universities
that share best practices for recruiting students to computing and retaining them. The goal of the Alliance for
Access to Computing Careers is to
increase the field’s representation of
people with disabilities.
Every computing professional, male
and female alike, can contribute to
the increased participation of women in the field. At the very least, each
of us should do more to encourage
women with whom we daily interact.
For those readers not well informed
about practices and programs that
help attract women to our profession
and retain them, we hope this article
has provided useful information and
indicated actionable steps pertinent
to one’s particular circumstances.
By way of encouragement, know that
institutions that have already made
decisions to implement these kinds
of practices are seeing significant increases in the participation of women
in computing at all levels. Thus we encourage our colleagues to work to effect positive change, both locally—in
individual institutions—and globally.
Long-term success depends on our entire community taking responsibility
for making computing a broadly supportive and inclusive discipline.
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Maria Klawe is president of harvey Mudd college,
claremont, ca. Prior to joining hMc, she served as dean
of engineering and professor of computer science at
Princeton University. she is a former president of acM.
Telle Whitney is president and ceo of the anita borg
institute for Women and technology, Palo alto, ca.
Caroline Simard is director of research at the anita
borg institute for Women and technology in Palo alto,
© 2009 acM 0001-0782/09/0200 $5.00
76 CommunICatIons of the aCm | feBRuaRY 2009 | vol. 52 | No. 2