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The Google 2004 Anita Borg Scholarships

two $10,000 scholarships for female students in the computer sciences

     
3:56 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Heads up!
Google is pleased to announce two $10,000 scholarships for female students in the computer sciences during the 2004-2005 academic year. One will be awarded to an undergraduate student and one to a graduate (master’s level) degree candidate..

[google.com...]

4:52 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Anita Borg received a Ph.D. in computer science from New York University and in 1987, she started an email list called Systers that today has 3,000 members from all over the world.

Pity that she didn't learn to spell.

Kaled.

4:57 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If anyone are in doubt, 'Systers' is a combination of 'system' and 'sisters'...
6:32 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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IMO the Borg Scholarship would be more appropriately sponsored by Microsoft.
6:33 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Too obvious?
6:48 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...or Xybernaut.
10:56 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Female only?
Where's the equality in that?
DerekH
11:01 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Come to think of it, the phrases
"female"
and
"First year master’s level"
don't sit comfortably together.

(Though a first year mistress's level doesn't either...)

What a big hole they are digging for themselves in trying to be correct!

Would there be as much support if the award was "men only"?

Just asking...

DerekH
PS - Why can't we just reward excellence - no strings attached...?

11:09 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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In 1994, Anita co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference and 3 years later, founded the Institute for Women and Technology, which launched programs and partnerships including the Virtual Development Center and the Senior Women's Summit.

It's a scholarship in memory of her. She was all about women in computer science and this was her passion. Since this scholarship is in memory of her it only makes sense to offer it to women.

11:10 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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right on, roscoepico.

Anita Borg sought to revolutionize the way we think about technology and devoted much of her adult life to dismantling barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields.
11:44 pm on Nov 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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DerekH,
I was going to post the same thing myself. I hate sexism of this kind. Discrimination does not breed equality. However, this is now turning into politics and my political posts always get deleted.

I am a little unsure of why Google have done this. I hope that it is simply to help along some students, but the sceptic in me wants to suggest that this is simply a PR stunt.

4:46 am on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>It's a scholarship in memory of her. She was all about women in computer science and this was her passion. Since this scholarship is in memory of her it only makes sense to offer it to women.

Offer a second, separate scholarship just to me to make things equal.

12:37 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am a little unsure of why Google have done this. I hope that it is simply to help along some students, but the sceptic in me wants to suggest that this is simply a PR stunt.

If it's a PR stunt it's a very poor one. If Anita Borg believed in sexual equality rather than female supremacy a far more fitting tribute would have been to offer an equal number of scholarships for men and women.

Kaled.

12:48 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't get it how a thing like this scholarships turns a discussion into such a weird direction and reveals so much bad manners.

Pure sexism - shame on you guys!

2:36 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am not a sexist. One of my sisters used to be a programmer and made some serious money - more than I've ever managed to. She did it without a scholarship, indeed without a degree. Positive discrimination is just that - discrimination.

There are very few barriers to women in general, and in computer science I am not aware of any. Granted I live in the UK, not in the US, so the picture may be different, but I very much doubt that women are so discriminated against that they need scholarships to succeed any more than men do.

Of course, companies and individuals can spend their money any way they choose. However, if I were to set up a similar scholarship for my old university dept but with a restriction that it could only be awarded to men, I'm pretty sure they would turn me down - I would in their position. Sadly, I'm not sure that they would if I insisted that it be awarded only to women.

Whilst there may be a case for allocating scholarships in a balanced way between different groups, allocating wholly to one group (black/white, male/female, disabled, whatever) is divisive. There are no circumstances in which I would find this acceptable.

Finally, I am entitled to hold this view without fear of being labelled a sexist, racist or any other -ist.

Kaled.

2:45 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't think that any of you guys are sexist at all, I just think that some of you don't notice sexism when it does happen simply because you've never tried it - you're not women!

One of the most common types of sexism is to avoid employing women because either they have children and that will be their priority or they will probably become pregnant and need maternity leave. Men are simply a better investment for employers.

To a certain extent I understand this priority but at the same time it makes me feel 'disabled' because of biology.

2:58 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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By the same thinking, men just can't seem to get those secretarial jobs because we don't look as good in short skirts.

Seriously though, you are right about women and maternity leave being a hindrance to employment, but I don't know what can be done about that. It is more of a practical issue than one of sexism. I imagine that the discrimination actually applies to younger women only - older women will tend to be past the mothering age.

I imagine that older people in general are discriminated against because there is a perception that they don't have as much energy, or their career times will be shorter, or their training times will be longer. These are just unfortunate practical considerations for employers.

And ginger-haired people will always be discriminated against.

3:02 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How many women do you see on this page?
Announcing the 2002 Google Scholarship Winners [google.com]

It's their money, they can do what they want to do with it. I'm sure you are right, most uni's would turn down an offer like this, but in this case it is google offering the scholarship, so I feel that they can give it to whoever the choose.

3:12 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>few barriers

That's quite a common viewpoint of those who haven't experienced the glass ceiling or closed doors, but apparently it's enough of an issue that laws have had to be passed and women, among others, are a protected class by the EEOC.

But rather than having to pull out the hard figures and statistics, how about let's not turn this into a gender issue debate.

[edited by: Marcia at 3:13 pm (utc) on Nov. 6, 2003]

3:13 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree that a scolarship, job etc should be given to the best suited, but unfortunately other factors than qualifications, relevant experience etc contribute to the choices made.

Because we live in an advanced society capable of the most amazing stuff, I simply don't understand that sexism, racism
and other -isms can even exist.

Since it does exist, some people work to change that and makes the minorities (I realize women are not a minority but don't know what else to call it) very visible and sometimes risks favorism of these, which is a great shame and doesn't always
produce the wanted result.

3:17 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I realize women are not a minority but don't know what else to call it

Ivana, just call it being part of a protected class of individuals under U.S. law as a result of bias and barriers that have stood in the way.

Here's a sampling:

EEOC SETTLES RACE AND SEX BIAS SUIT FOR $1 MILLION AGAINST OPTICAL CABLE CORP. [eeoc.gov]

Microsoft and Intel have both most commendably been pioneers in educating and promoting equality and opportunity for all and helping to erase prejudicial barriers.

That said, let's now get off politics and back on the topic of the Google Scholarship.

3:26 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nice work Google!
3:48 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yeah it's great that Google offer women a chance to get a Ph.D in computer science. It's a lot of money they are giving away. Wish my sistet could've had it!
3:48 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yeah it's great that Google offer women a chance to get a Ph.D in computer science. It's a lot of money they are giving away. Wish my sistet could've had it!
4:18 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There are many intellectual problems to granting restricted scholarships. Perhaps GoogleGuy could answer this question. How do Google intend to measure the relevant aspects of society so that when women are no longer 'discriminated against' (their view, apparently, not mine) they will either withdraw the scholarship or share it between men and women?

In practical terms, that is a question that can never be answered satisfactorily which is one very good reason for not discriminating in the first place.

Kaled.

4:41 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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A few word about the term "Systers".

I wonder if ms. Borg were of Swedish origin. And the Swedish word "syster" (pluralis "systrar") means "sister". And AFAIK "y" and "i" are interchangeable in some English words so the term "systers" could be a bilingual play with words.

Apart from that it's Google's own money. They can give these two specific scholarships to whom they want. And they do not owe any explanations to anybody.

Next time they may want to give scholarships to people who speak a specific language. And that will be quite OK too, thou I do not doubt that there will be people who will regard it as discrimination.

5:05 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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You can learn a language, but it is much harder to learn how to be a woman.
6:37 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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There was a film comedy many years ago called Soul Man. It was about a guy who pretended to be black to get a scholarship. Perhaps the concept could be recycled in a film called Funny Girl. However, I'm not sure how Barbara Streisand would feel about this.

Kaled.

7:52 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Oh, and I forgot to mention the obvious:

This is a *gift*.

No-one has earned a right to be considered, when Google decide who shall receive this gift. Gifts are given, they are not earned.

And no-one outside Google has earned a right to have their opinion considered, when Google decide who shall have the gift.

If I were to give a gift to somebody and pay it with my own money, I wouldn't give a gnat's derrière if someone were to dislike my choice. (But then I may be quite a bit more arrogant than Mssrs. Brin & Page. Perhaps those viking chiefs among my forefathers?)

--------

Am I the only one to be reminded about those discussions about, where Google should send their traffic?

8:28 pm on Nov 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

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And no-one outside Google has earned a right to have their opinion considered

Google, I remind you, owes its existence to the opinions of other people. I think we should be totally unashamed to weigh in on matters like this.

Me, I think this scholarship is a fine idea, but two gifts of $10,000? That's kinda weak. Why not give out, like, 10, or 100 of them? Maybe I'm cynical, but at the $20,000 level it seems more helpful to Google in terms of PR and recruiting than it is helpful to the world in terms of helping female computer science students. But I guess it's a nice gesture, and better than nothing at all.

What about computer science students who don't happen to emphasize programming in their projects? It doesn't sound like a theoretical or hardware-focused CS student would fare all that well.

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