Waikato University crest

Department of
Computer Science
Tari Rorohiko

Computing and Mathematical Sciences

Women in Computing

50/50 by 2020 - this was the goal of the iconic Anita Borg, someone who fought tirelessly to change the world for women and for technology until her untimely death from cancer in April 2003.

So ask yourself the question: does it really matter if women are not involved in creating technology, that they continue merely as being users?

Our answer is YES, it does matter. Even today there are numerous examples of technology that do not work well for women. The now so humble cell phone is a good example. Where does a woman store a cell phone when it is not in use? In her pocket you might say - if she has one, and she is okay with the bulge that ruins the styled lines of her outfit. Or there is her hand bag and the mad dive to the bottom of it each time the phone rings.

Devices like Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) seem like the ideal shopping tool. But have you ever seen a mother juggling one with a couple kids and a supermarket trolley in tow? These basic examples show us that women need to have a say in the creation and development of technology at all levels. Technology impacts on our lives at every turn. Now and in the future women will be expected to use much of it, whether it is functional for them or not.

It is important for women that technological advances take account of the needs that arise from simply being female. How can the guys understand and take account of issues relating to how women use technology if there are no women working with them to give such a perspective?

Knowledge truly is power in technology. We need lots of women with the knowledge, and the power, to create and develop the world's future and current technologies. An equal number of men and women working together to achieve better results - 50/50 by 2020 is the goal.