The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) today announced the three winners of the Anita Borg Change Agent Awards for 2008. These awards, underwritten by Google, honor technical women living and working outside the United States who work in their community to attract and support women in technology. This year’s winners — Reyyan Ayfer from Turkey, Zahara Khan from Pakistan, and Dorcas Muthoni from Kenya — are being recognized for their technical leadership and advocacy work.
The winners will be honored and will speak at the 2008 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Keystone, Colorado, October 1-4, 2008.
Reyyan Ayfer is chair of the department of computer technology and programming of Bilkent University in Ankara Turkey. In addition, she is assistant chair of the department of computer and instructional technology for teacher education, general coordinator of the Bilkent Instruction Technology Support Team, and director of the Institutional Relations and History Unit. Through her role in the field of information technology education, Ayfer has dedicated her career to helping meet the demand for expertise in programming. She represents Turkey as an ambassador in the Association for Computing Machinery-Women and is leading students at Bilkent University who have formed the first international ACM-W Student Chapter.
A true believer in individual social responsibility and sustainable business models for development, Zahara Khan co-founded and became president of d.o.t.z Technologies. The software applications developed by d.o.t.z include e-stores, used to market the “one village, one product” products internationally; and e-Sehat, which provides basic health services to rural communities. In Pakistan, Khan has implemented many programs aimed at the inclusion of women in the ICT sector. She is currently CEO of Sehat First, a social venture targeted at delivering affordable quality basic health care across Pakistan through self-sustainable franchised telehealth centers.
Dorcas Muthoni is the CEO and founder of Openworld Ltd., an IT consultancy and professional development training firm which the Computer Society of Kenya honored as the Open Source Solution Provider of the Year in 2006. Openworld plays a key role in supporting bi-monthly technical community forum meetings. Muthoni has also worked to provide mentorship and guidance to women and girls in information and communications technologiesacross Africa. She is co-founder of LinuxChix Africa and has worked to encourage women and girls in Africa to develop careers in computing.
“These three women are real examples of how individuals can contribute to building a better world,” said Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. “We are delighted that all three are able to attend and will be speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration. They are truly role models for all our attendees.”
The world’s largest gathering of women in computing in industry, academia, and government, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is a four-day technical conference designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. Conference registration is open until September 27.
About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)
The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs to help industry, academia, and government recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high-tech fields, resulting in higher levels of technological innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to help them develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Google, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Intel, SAP, Juniper Networks, National Science Foundation, National Center for Women and Information Technology, IBM, Symantec, Computer Associates, NetApp, and Capgemini.