Women in government IT: Profiles in persistence

“The women in this book are part of a tradition that goes against the grain of Western culture.”

So wrote Maureen Bunyan, longtime local TV news anchor in Washington, in her prologue to “No One Path,” a collection of affectionate, but no less affecting, profiles of technology professionals who happen to be women.

Profiles in persistence

Janice Cuny, National Science Foundation's Broadening Participation in Computing Program

Karyn Hayes-Ryan, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Engineering Enterprise

Susan Keen, Navy's Enterprise Resource Planning Program

Deborah Loudon, Defense Department's National Reconnaissance Office

The 48 women profiled in the book, to be published next week by the Washington-area networking association Women in Technology, reflect the many ways women have demonstrated leadership in science and technology — fields that, more than most, have long been the domain of men. Those profiled are past winners of WIT’s Leadership Awards.

The excerpts of the four profiles at right focus on women with backgrounds in government technology. Each has a story about grabbing opportunities and overcoming challenges, not least of which were the cultural perceptions that still dominate the industry.

In the 15 years since its founding, the 1,000-member association has become a test bed of leadership skills and the still-untapped potential of up-and-coming generations. “Today,” Bunyan wrote, “women still struggle against prejudice that keeps them from getting the best education in science and technology.”

“Our hope is that this book will inspire women and girls to pursue their goals in science, technology, engineering and math,” the book’s editors wrote.

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Reader comments

Tue, Feb 1, 2011 Wayne Tarken Philadelphia, USA

I think that the signs are there that more women are reaching the top in IT. Although we've found http://www.CEOWomensClub.com more needs to be done. It's starts with better education and role models for young girls in middle school before it becomes "uncool" to be into technology

Tue, Nov 3, 2009

I'm a woman and I have to agree with Reston, that "women are over-represented in management ranks in the federal government". I been in active duty military and I noticed that undeserving women get promoted faster than their male counterparts just because of their gender. Women get treated better (i.e. do not typically do night duties or heavy lifting or cleaning) just because they are females. I work as a civil servant now and I still notice a few women in management position that have absolutely no idea what they are doing (technically speaking) but are put in position because of their gender.

Tue, Oct 20, 2009

Why don't you all READ the book. There are success stories in there of Women who went from Secretary to CEO of a company!! So it DOES cover women who have been "in the trenches" and how they achieved success!

Mon, Oct 19, 2009

Let's see a poll of how many women managers are managing the "soft" side of IT (helpdesk, customer service) and how many are managing technical side of life (infrastructure, network, security). I, too, am an IT professional in the fed gov't and it's appalling how uneven our latest re-org is. Good 'ol boys network indeed.

Fri, Oct 16, 2009 M Reston

This issue is a joke. Woman are over-represented in management ranks in the federal government in my view. Just look at the numbers! They have tremendous advantages in promotion.Because of the imposed advantages, many of the wrong women get promoted.

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