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Women Heroes:Anita Borg

Meet Anita Borg Naffz, a prominent American computer scientist who dedicated her career to advocating for women's advancement in technology.

Early life and education

Born on January 17, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Palatine, Illinois; Kaneohe, Hawaii; and Mukilteo, Washington.[she attended the University of Washington in Seattle for two years, and later studied at New York University where she received a doctorate in 1981 for her work on synchronization efficiency in operating systems.


After graduation, Borg worked for several computer companies before joining Digital Equipment Corporation in 1986, where she worked until 1997. During the late 1980s, she became increasingly concerned about the lack of women in the field of technology and undertook several initiatives to increase women's participation. In 1987, she founded Systers, an electronic community for women in computing, which grew to more than several thousand members in some 50 countries.

n 1994, Borg co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a technical conference named after Grace Hopper, a pioneer in early computer technology, to highlight the work of women and advocate for policies intended to bring more women into science and technology. In 1997, Borg became a researcher at Xerox PARC and later that year, she created the Institute for Women and Technology, which was renamed the Anita Borg Institute in 2003.

Borg passed away on April 6, 2003, in Sonoma, California, after battling brain cancer. Her legacy continues to inspire and influence women in technology around the world.

Achievements, Recognition and Legacy

  • Augusta Ada Lovelace Award

  • In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology.

  • 8th Annual Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment.

  • Borg received an Honorary Doctor of Science and Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University

  • EFF Pioneer Award

  • Recognized by the Girl Scouts of the USA, as well as listed on Open Computing Magazine's Top 100 Women in Computing

  • Member of the board of directors of the Computing Research Association and served as a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Women in Science and Engineering.

  • In 2003, the Institute for Women and Technology was renamed to the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, in honor of Borg

  • Google established the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship in 2004 to honor the work of Borg

  • The UNSW School of Computer Science and Engineering offers the Anita Borg Prize, named in her honor.



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