A goal of the IEEE Computer Society is to foster an environment in which all individuals are entitled to participate in any IEEE Computer Society activity free of discrimination. To support this effort, the Computer Society formed the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force in 2020, which was later confirmed as the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The need for such a committee reflects on the realities of today, that diversity, equity, and inclusion are challenges across all sectors of society, including computing.
In celebration of Black History Month, this week’s featured article from the CS Digital Library archive is “Speaking Truth to Power: Exploring the Intersectional Experiences of Black Women in Computing,” originally published in the proceedings for the 2018 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology (RESPECT).
This paper examines the narratives of 11 Black women in Computer Science (CS) to explore and understand their intersectional experiences (academic, professional, familial, etc.) in the field of Computing. We video-recorded the participants as they engaged in semi-structured interviews to explore and understand their experiences as Black women in Computing. Four coders engaged in content analysis on the video-recordings as well as transcripts of the video data in two rounds. Overall, our analysis revealed that the women in our study experienced discrimination, expectations from others that are too high or too low, isolation, sexism, and racism; yet they still choose to stay in the discipline. Remaining true to their personal and professional goals, having effective mentors, and inspiration from their fathers all contributed to their successful pathways and strategies of resistance.
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Read more about how IEEE Computer Society is celebrating Black History Month 2021.
Interested in getting involved or contributing? Check out some of the resources we’ve compiled of organizations and initiatives working towards helping the African American community.