Systers, founded by Anita Borg, is an international electronic mailing list for technical women in computing. The Syster community strives to increase the number of women in computer science and improve work environments for women. The mailing list has operated since 1987, making it the oldest of its kind for women in computer science. It is likely the largest email community of women in computing. The name 'Systers' originated from the combination of the words systems and sisters.
As of 2012, more than 3000 members were subscribing to the Systers' mailing list. Previously, the mailing list was maintained by Her Syster's Keeper, Robin Jeffries, from 2000 to 2012. In October 2012, Jeffries passed on the baton of Syster's Keeper to Rosario Robinson.
Topics generally relate to women in computing. 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.
The Systers list runs on GNU Mailman. Systers members and Google Summer of Code participants customized the code to meet Systers' needs.
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.
Systers was founded in 1987 by Anita Borg and several other women who attended a Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP) conference.Anita Borg
Anita K. Jones
Sherri Menees Nichols
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.
In 2012, Systers celebrated its 25th anniversary with Global Meet Ups and a celebration at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
The Pass-It-On Awards program provides monetary support for women entering fields in technology through donations by women established in technological fields. 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.