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20 years in tech: GeekWire talks to UW CSE alumnae about their experiences in a male-dominated field

UW CSE alumnae in GeekWire“There’s no one way to be a woman in technology.”

That’s one of the takeaways from a terrific article published today by GeekWire that explores the experiences of eight UW CSE alumnae since they earned their degrees 20 years ago—and how the industry has progressed over the past two decades when it comes to welcoming and advancing women. Reporter Lisa Stiffler talked with the women about their trials and triumphs as they carved out careers in a male-dominated industry.

Featured UW CSE alumnae were Gail Alverson (Ph.D., ’90), Denise Draper (Ph.D., ’95), Gail Murphy (Ph.D., ’96), Bojana Ostojic (B.S., ’95), Cathy Palmer (Ph.D., ’94), Amy Raby (B.S., ’95), Radhika Thekkath (Ph.D., ’95) and Elizabeth Walkup (Ph.D., ’95).

From the article:

“Challenges for women and minorities in tech have persisted in recent years, despite widespread efforts to increase diversity and inclusion. The spotlight on the problem has intensified in recent weeks, with tech groups holding a series of events on the topic during Women’s History Month, and shareholders pressuring tech giants to close the gender gap in employee compensation.

“To better understand these issues, GeekWire interviewed eight University of Washington alumnae who earned computer science or engineering degrees in the mid-1990s. By looking back 20 years, our goal was to see the tech world through their eyes—understanding the progress they’ve made individually, and the impediments still in the way as the industry evolves and wrestles with its diversity crisis.

“As a group, they are remarkable. Of the eight women who participated in this project, seven are still in technology. Six have children. Five worked at Microsoft at some point in their careers, and three are current employees of the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant. Two have their own tech businesses.

“All of them still love technology and believe in its power to solve problems and create world-changing products.”

The article is accompanied by profiles of each of the women that chart their individual career trajectories and offer insights into how the industry has evolved when it comes to providing greater opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Both are must-reads! Find the full article here, and the alumnae profiles here.

March 24, 2016