I returned home Saturday from the very exciting 2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing held in Portland Oregon at the convention center.
The big words from the celebration seemed to be Brand and Sponsor (have both)!
The Wednesday evening event was a job fair in the exhibition hall (although the recruiters were there throughout until Friday at 2. It was clear by the large number of companies and the enthusiasm of the young women visiting with those recruiters that there are jobs and that the recruiters were VERY interested in finding women to fill them.
At the opening session on Thursday morning, I learned that there were in attendance 30 babies, and 24 toddlers using the free childcare service provided by NetApp! There were 2908 attendees, 235 academics, from 34 countries which represented a 35% increase over last year. The program listed 419 speakers. But most promising was the fact that there were 1136 students. I applaud Harvey Mudd whose president, Maria Klawe, was instrumental in the grant that allowed Z Sweedyk to arrange for 46 young women from Mudd to attend this year!
I will admit that I was not keen to hear the opening keynote by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer. Was I ever off base! She was fantastic. Tune into Facebook Live to watch Sheryl Sandberg’s keynote address live from the Grace Hopper Conference this Thursday, November 10 at 8:55 AM/PT!
RSVP to the Facebook Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/125456260896830 You can watch the event on Facebook Live: http://on.fb.me/techtalkslive
Sandberg used no visuals but very discretely used what was a remote for a probable teleprompter.
I’ll briefly summarize the talk which she prefaced by citing both the opportunities for women in tech careers and the abysmal stats regarding their numbers and salary gap. One anecdote in this intro was that when Larry Summers’ (Harvard) mother got a high-level job at Standard Oil the CEO told her that they were getting twice the brains at half the money and she thought that it was a compliment!
She gave 5 pieces of advice.
- Believe in yourself – Peggy Macintosh (author of “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”) reported feeling like a fraud. Sandberg said men attribute success to themselves, women don’t but attribute it to luck or being at the right place at the right time.
- Dream big. we have an ambition gap. Success is positively correlated with likability for men and the opposite for women. This is important because of stereotype threat –if there is a gender box on an exam, women do worse on math tests than they do if there is no such box.
- Success relies on whether one has a life partner and how supportive that partner is. “Even if you marry the right guy they need training.”
- Women make small decisions that lead to leaving career. She hinted that women worry too much about things way in the future (like would this job work is I had kids). LEAN IN. Lean all the way in until you have a real decision to make. Note that CS jobs the most flexible there are
- Start talking about this. Sandberg’s TED talk hasn’t hurt career to talk about difference
She said that her generation not going to change this but the young women here (at Hopper) can .
There was much more about Hopper than the opening, but I wanted to get this out there