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Anita’s Quilt

by Kate Meersschaert

January 20, 2014

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Our friend Anita Borg was passionate about both technology and empowering women. She was fearless when it came to launching new projects and making them succeed. She inspired each of us in countless ways including connecting us with each other and to many other amazing women technologists. (from the Anita’s Quilt "Welcome" page)

Piecing Together Positive Role Models
In a field lacking strong female voices and role models, Anita’s Quilt, a project presented by the Anita Borg Institute, is dedicated to encouraging young women and women as a whole, to pursue and excel in STEM careers. Research continues to emerge that explains how and why many young women feel left-out of the STEM field and a recurring theme is a lack of adequate access to role models and mentors. This site aims to change that. Through sharing anecdotes and life stories, women who have succeeded in the STEM fields are able to inspire and help guide others. A recent posting by Google staff engineer Sarah J. Bell is a great example of the simple messaging and sharing of advice and life experience that can encourage women who are contemplating or are already far-along in their STEM careers. Bell writes, "I left Silicon Valley two years ago. For anyone seeking to build the best technology that affects the greatest number of people, this is a bad idea. Silicon Valley is for tech what Florence was for the Renaissance. You want to write the world’s best code? Surround yourself with the world’s best engineers, live where they live, eat what they eat, play what they play." Anita’s Quilt is helping to do just this by "surrounding" women with other STEM role models.

One Story at a Time...
Anita’s Quilt takes simple blog posts a step further by sponsoring and curating "story campaigns" on the site. Recent campaigns have included subjects ranging from "Step up your Game" to "Legends and Visionaries." Through these and other activities the Anita Borg Institute has become a leading voice and advocate for women in technology. By developing tools and programs to assist leaders of industry, academia and the government, "recruit, retain and develop women technology leaders," the Anita Borg Institute is trying to shift the gender balance in the STEM fields. Anita’s Quilt is a part of this effort to create, "inclusive platforms designed to ensure women’s voices, ideas and spirits will result in higher levels of technical innovation," while developing, "programs that are changing the world for women and for technology."

Image: from this blog post.