Diversity at the Hopper Conference

It may seem odd to write about diversity at a conference of 1,300 women and just a few men; however, in many dimensions the Hopper attendees were impressively varied. I particularly noticed this at the Systers lunch. I shared my table with women from Morocco, Mexico, Russia, India, China, and America. There were women who were older and women who were much younger. Many were just starting their career and others were over twenty years into it. Some were rich and others were students.

Conference dress ranged from faded jeans and a t-shirt to an elegant sari, from a western business suit to muslim hijab. Ijeoma Terese Ihenachor of Nigeria (a recipient of the Anita Borg Social Change Agent Scholarship underwritten by Dr. Fran Allen)
was remarkable for the complex elegance of her personal presentation: it was worth looking for her in any crowd.

Still, it was notable that almost everyone at Hopper was both female and working in or
studying science or technology. Stu Feldman (ACM President) opened his remarks
by saying that gender discrimination was alive and well: when he went to register for the Hopper conference, the woman at the desk asked if he didn’t mean to be at the Grocer’s convention, next door.

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