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NCWIT Trying To Increase Number of Women in Technology Field

A program by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is looking to graduate 1,000 additional women with information technology-related degrees by next year.

The project, called NCWIT Pacesetters, includes partnerships with higher education institutions and businesses to boost retention and recruitment of women in informational technology. Some businesses and universities that are signed up include University of Virginia; University of California, Santa Cruz; Google; and IBM.

The Pacesetters project helps its partners by proving the following resources:

  • A group of peers to discuss experiences, research, and results;
  • The NCWIT Summit on Women and IT, held each May, which focuses on best practices for educational reform, recruitment and retention;
  • Case studies on educational reform, recruitment, and retention;
  • Social science research on workforce participation, education, and innovation;
  • Outreach campaigns that inform the public, specifically women, about information technology careers, and education; and
  • Promising Practices, an online inventory of all resources, including a catalog.

Other college and university partners include Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo; Georgia Institute of Technology; Indiana University; Santa Clara University; University of California, Irvine; University of Colorado at Boulder; University of Texas at Austin; University of Washington; Villanova University; and Virginia Tech.

Higher education institutions and businesses are already reporting results: The University of Virginia is on its way to boosting its percentage of women computing graduates by 10 percent to 25 percent. Google now has twice as many female engineer interns. University of California, Santa Cruz has increased the number of female majors in computer science by 40 percent. In addition, IBM is encouraging more women to participate in professional development programs.

"The work these organizations have done to increase women's participation is so impressive" said Lucy Sanders, CEO of NCWIT, "and the benefits are clear: an expanded talent pool to fill the growing number of computing-related occupations, and improved technology innovation through a greater diversity of perspectives."

The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a nonprofit group of more than 300 business, colleges and universities, and organizations trying to increase the number of women entering the information technology field.

For more information, visit The National Center for Women & Information Technology Web site.

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