Barriers to Equality in Academia:
Women in Computer Science at MIT

Prepared by female graduate students and research staff in the Laboratory for Computer Science and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT

February 1983

In my view, this is the most useful report ever written in terms of its potential to improve the environment for members of under-represented groups in academia. Rather than focusing on egregious examples of harrassment (the staple of "let's avoid lawsuits" presentations), this report focuses on the million and one small ways in which even the best intentioned of us inadvertently create environments that are not conducive to the career development of women, and, by extension, members of other under-represented groups.

N.B. It should go without saying that the computer science area at MIT deserves enormous credit for confronting -- nearly 20 years ago -- a problem that all of us share. If this report signals something about the computer science area at MIT, it is that the environment there is better than elsewhere, not worse. We all still have a lot of work to do.

  • 1. Introduction and Summary
  • 2. What Happened to Us
  • 3. Recommendations
  • 4. A Positive Note
  • Bibliography
  • I. Appendix - Authors
  • II. Appendix - Background
  • III. Appendix - Contributions by Other Members of the Community