Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ruthe Farmer: NCWIT strategist. Computer science advocate. Tech Dumbledore. - TechRepublic

Ruthe Farmer is the chief strategy officer for the National Center for Women in Information Technology. She talked about bringing computer science to Girl Scouts and NCWIT's impact on the women in tech movement. 

The moment Ruthe Farmer picked up the phone, I knew she was a force of nature.
Before I could even ask about her career history, she was telling me about her plans for the future. Each time I asked a question about her life, she brought it back to her larger mission -- getting girls to choose careers in technology and engineering, and making sure the system makes it easier for them to do so.
It's a mission that she may never see the end of, a problem for which she may never see the full solution. But Farmer, the chief strategy officer for National Center for Women in Information and Technology (NCWIT), is proof that if you talk about something enough, try hard enough, push hard enough -- good things start to happen.
The core of NCWIT's mission is to not only increase the number of women in computer science and technology, but to also provide better products and services that can serve a more diverse population -- namely, minority populations and low-income schools that may not be able to afford the latest technology -- and scale those programs.
"I have been working on this since 2001. All of this stuff is not new, this conversation is not new, but new people are coming to the table, which is great," Farmer said. "The more attention the better. But my push and the entire reason I got an MBA after working at Girl Scouts is -- if you build programs that are expensive, whether they're sponsored or not, you're going to perpetuate the class system, and you're not going to be able to scale."

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