PALO ALTO -- Intel (INTC) was honored Tuesday for its efforts to employ women in technical positions, and one of its managers was among three women cited for their technological contributions.

The awards were given to the Santa Clara chipmaker and Genevieve Bell, Intel Lab's director of interaction and experience research, by the Anita Borg Institute, a Palo Alto nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of women in computer science and engineering.

"It's so important to have women role models," said the institute's CEO, Telle Whitney, who added that about 60 women and nearly 20 companies were in the running for the awards. In technological fields, "there are just way too few well-known women."

The institute said it recognized Intel for working hard to retain women with technical expertise, noting that the company's "voluntary turnover rate" of 2 percent over the last three years is one of the lowest among corporations.

"Intel has had a commitment to foster diversity for many years, and has developed a portfolio of strong programs and best practices to attract, develop and promote technical women," the institute said in a press release. "These include the popular Command Presence Workshop that helps mid-level women increase their visibility and effectiveness and the Women Principal Engineers and Fellows Forum that brings together senior individual contributors each year."


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The institute also praised Intel for "constantly experimenting with new, innovative programs and practices aimed at leveraging the full benefits of a diverse technical workforce."

"We are incredibly excited about winning the award," said Kim Warren-Martin, Intel's global women's initiative manager, estimating that 28 percent or more of the company's roughly 100,000 workers are women. "Diversity brings creativity and more innovative solutions."

Bell, who was unavailable for comment, was recognized for her leadership. She is an anthropologist whose team of social scientists, human factors engineers, computer scientists and "interaction designers" study new consumer computing experiences.

"In this team and her prior roles, Bell has fundamentally altered the way Intel envisions and plans its products so that they are centered on people's needs rather than simply silicon capabilities," the institute said. It added that "Bell is a passionate advocate for the advancement of women in technology," and noted that her previous awards have included her 2012 induction into the Women In Technology International hall of fame.

Two other women were honored. Vicki Hanson, professor of inclusive technologies at the University of Dundee in Scotland and an IBM research staff member emeritus, was recognized for her "social impact." Maja Mataric -- a professor of computer science, neuroscience and pediatrics at the University of Southern California -- won for innovation.

The awards will be presented at Anita Borg's eighth annual Women of Vision Awards Banquet on May 9 in Santa Clara.

Contact Steve Johnson at sjohnson@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5043. Follow him at Twitter.com/steveatmercnews.