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Systers is an international electronic mailing list for technical women in computing.[1] It has operated since 1987. It is the oldest mailing list for women in computer science,[2] and probably the largest email community of women in computing.[3] According to founder Anita Borg, the Syster community strives to increase the number of women in computer science and improve work environments for women.[3] The name is a combination of systems and sisters. As of 2012, more than 3000 members subscribe to the Systers' mailing list. The mailing list was maintained by Her Syster's Keeper, Robin Jeffries, from 2000 to 2012.[3] In October 2012, Jeffries passed on the baton of Syster's Keeper to Rosario Robinson.

Topics generally relate to women in computing.[4] A notable exception was a 1992 discussion of a Barbie doll, whose recorded phrases included "Math class is tough!". Systers was credited as influential in persuading Mattel to remove the phrase.[5]

The Systers list runs on GNU Mailman. Systers members and Google Summer of Code participants customized the code to meet Systers' needs.[6]

Systers list members also sponsor the Systers' Pass-it-on grant, which awards money to established women in technology fields who help support upcoming women in technology.[7]

Founding members[edit]

Systers was founded in 1987 by Anita Borg and several other women who attended a Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP) conference.[8][9]

Systers Blog[edit]

The Systers blog on the Anita Borg website summarizes especially interesting topics from the email list. Topics are varied, including gender stereotyping, creative ways to deal with prejudice, rants, and fun facts.

Systers 25th Anniversary[edit]

In 2012, Systers celebrated its 25th anniversary with Global Meet Ups[10][11] and a celebration at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.[12]

Anita Borg Systers Pass-It-On Awards Program[edit]

The Pass-It-On Awards program provides monetary support for women entering fields in technology through donations by women established in technological fields.[13] The award honor's Anita Borg's vision of a network of women that support each other. Awards from $500.00 to $1000.00 USD are funded by online donations from the Systers community.


  1. ^ Kadaba, Linda (26 June 1995). "'Systers' carve out Internet niche". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Anita Borg Interview
  3. ^ a b c Systers
  4. ^ Systers FAQ
  5. ^ Anita Borg, 54, Trailblazer For Women in Computer Field
  6. ^ GF Classifieds: Google Summer of Code 2012 edition
  7. ^ Barbara Ericson Wins Anita Borg 'Systers Pass-It-On' Grant for Hispanic Outreach Initiative
  8. ^ 25 years of Systers
  9. ^ Founding Systers
  10. ^ Systers 25th anniversary
  11. ^ Anita Borg: Systers Meetups
  12. ^ Anita Borg: RockIT Science and Systers 25th Anniversary Celebration
  13. ^ Anita Borg: Pass-It-On Awards

External links[edit]