TITLE: Where Influential Women in Computing Come From AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 19, 2008 4:36 PM DESC: ----- BODY: A recent article at Fast Company highlights some of the Most Influential Women in Web 2.0. This list "wasn't chosen by star power, nor by career altitude" but for the biggest innovations in the nebulous sphere of Web 2.0. This list is also not a random sample, which makes drawing conclusions from it dicey. Yet I could not help noticing how few of them have CS background: Perhaps this is a non-representative sample of women in computing or Web 2.0. Or perhaps the range of backgrounds we see here, especially its tilt toward the humanities, says more about the social and interactive nature of Web 2.0 than about computer science. Perhaps it says something about women and what they want out of their academic majors. Somehow, though, I think this list is a great example of why we need to broaden the public's conception of computing, in hopes that more might choose to major in CS. I also think it is also a great example of why we as a discipline need to engage students all across the campus. We need to expose more (all?) students to expose them to the power of the ideas of computing and give them some of the skills they will need to apply it to whatever they decide to do. I'm glad these innovators and women found computing along the way to turning their ideas into reality, but I'd like for us to eliminate some of the barriers that we erect between computer science and tomorrow's innovators. -----