Diversity Technology

Women hackers

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

According to Techcrunch, the winning team of hackers at Yahoo’s HackDay was an all woman team. The project was a mobile computing device that one carries in one’s handbag or pack, which is a camera integrated with a pedometer that takes pictures every few steps, which it then posts it to Flickr using the Flickr API (a Yahoo! API).

The winning team consisted of Diana Eng, Audrey Roy, and Emily Albinksi. From lookups on their names, Diana and Emily have appeared in Make magazine for their techno-clothing (and Diana for her work with the popular TV show, “Project Runway”), and Aubrey looks to be an MIT engineer who has done some very interesting stuff with architecture, and who works with Sharpcast.

Some of the responses have been congratulatory, but I’ve seen a lot of “beaten out by a girl” crap, and it’s too bad that when women do participate, and participate very well, their effort is dismissed primarily because they are women. As such, I hate to join these others in making a point the winning team’s sex, because I imagine the three would like to think of themselves as complete hackers first, who happen to be women.

But I’m so damn proud!


Beyond Caffeine wishes the project had been something non-gender related. True, the device was installed into a purse, but could be connected with a GPS device instead of a pedometer and installed into a backpack and allow people to follow along on a hike through the Alaskan outback, as much as a jaunt through the hills of San Francisco. Travel magazines would be of interest, and organizations such as the US Geological Service. Think of it: hands free static imaging, immediately posted to a group of interested folk.

If we keep putting caveats on how women must act and what we must do in order to establish our ‘cred’ with the tech community, we’ll never achieve any level of success because the bar continues to be moved. We seek to join the profession, but when we do we’re told we must be more visible; when we are, we’re told we must only do that work that satisfies a predominately male view of what’s “useful” and what’s not.

This is women being hackers, good hackers–plain and simple.

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