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Media Portrayals of Women in Tech: Google Joins Nonprofits to Drive Change


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NCWIT's Ruthe Farmer.

Ruthe Farmer, chief strategy and growth officer at the National Center for Women & IT, says a new award for best media portrayal of women is tech is aimed at reinforcing the idea that technology "is a place that women can work and be successful, and be considered contributors to society."

Credit: GraceHopper.org

Many have noted the decline of women's participation in computer science since the 1980s has accompanied the proliferation of media portrayals of men and women that send the message women do not belong in technical fields. Google wants to change that and has joined with nonprofits the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) and the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT) to create a new award for the best media portrayal of women in tech.

The three groups are looking to the public to help select the nominees by commenting on a Google+ video about the award. "What we're looking for are nominations of portrayals of women in technology that are positive, realistic, and reinforce the idea that this is a place that women can work and be successful, and be considered contributors to society," says NCWIT's Ruthe Farmer.

Ann Crommett, program manager for computer science in media at Google, says the hope is the award will help spur more positive media portrayals of women in tech, which could "do for CS what 'CSI' did for the field of forensic science, changing its gender make-up and increasing its appeal to a wider audience."

Farmer also hopes recognition from the award will encourage media creators to continue digging into these characters.

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