acm - an acm publication
2008 - December
  • Long Live the .250 Hitter
    The dearth of women in computing is very much on everyone's mind. Elena Strange offers a new perspective on this. She observes that the solid, utility hitters (and players) are the backbone of every baseball team. In playing on her computing teams she has no aspirations for MVP awards and strives for personal excellence in the things she does. She asks her male colleagues to value her as a .250 hitter without holding her to the standard of a .314 hitter. This simple change could open the gates to a flood of women in computing. Elena holds Grace Hopper as the equivalent of the legendary .314 hitter in computing. Hopper told her friends that she was never aspiring to be a legendary leader, but only to do the best possible job with the tasks that were before her. Be personally excellent and interact with people from your heart, said Hopper, and all the rest will take care of itself. You can see in Elena's story the seeds that Grace Hopper planted.