ACM-W supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field, providing a wide range of programs and services to ACM members and working in the larger community to advance the contributions of technical women.
Our Corporate Supporters
We are very grateful for the support of several corporate sponsors. At present, ACM-W has funding from Oracle (through Oracle Academy), Microsoft Research, and Google for our scholarships, from Google for the Athena Lecturer Award, and continuing support from Microsoft Research for the Celebrations and for community college related activities. Thanks to their generosity in helping us to support, celebrate and advocate for women in computing.
Letter from ACM-W chair
Welcome to the September issue of ACM-W Connections.
This month I’m writing this while in Linz, Austria. For the first time I am attending the ACM-W Europe Council meeting in person, rather than by Skype. It’s great to be part of all the discussions rather than just joining for 30 minutes. Tomorrow we will welcome over 100 participants to the third ACM-W Europe womENcourage conference.
After our August break, we have lots of news for you this month. Of course, we have our usual reports from ACM-W India, our Chapters committee, and the Scholarships committee. The Celebrations committee has sent a report from our first events in Spain and Chile. Also noteworthy:
- The Women in Computer Graphics group has sent a report on their activities at SIGGRAPH 2016. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with them as they continue to increase their activities around women in computer graphics.
- The ACM-W chapter at Stawa University, Uganda, has sent a report about their ongoing efforts to bring computer lessons to women in rural villages.
- We also have a report on the 10th Women in Computability program, held during the Computability in Europe conference and sponsored by ACM-W.
I hope you enjoy all this news. Please let us know about activities in your area so that we can include that in a future issue of ACM-W Connections. And expect a full report next month on womENcourage 2016!
I also have a wonderful story from Martha Kosa who has been handling all of our ACM-W swag (tech tattoos, brochures, table drapes). Martha traveled to Romania and Hungary this summer. Of course, she took some of our great Ada Lovelace tech tattoos with her. Martha reported
When I was in Romania, I was talking to the waitress at a restaurant where I was eating lunch, and I learned that she was studying computer science at Petru Maior University in Targu Mures, where I was staying. I had brought some stickers to give to the Skool group (Hungary's Girls Who Code). I gave some of the stickers to the young waitress to give to her friends in computer science, and I gave the rest to Skool's founder on Monday. Skool's office is part of Impact Hub Budapest. Skool's founder, Zso'fi (Sophia) Major, greatly appreciated the stickers and planned to give them to Skool workshop attendees.
Please let us know if you want some ACM-W tech tattoos so that you can spread the word and help us gain more visibility.
Thanks, as always, for your work on behalf of women in computing!
~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair
Summer Report from ACM-W Uganda
This summer was a great period for ACM-W, Uganda Chapter, as we saw more Ugandan women join the chapter and more villages open up their doors to the chapter for activities in computer lessons. The summer also saw more streamlining of activities and prioritizing of objectives, both for rural and city outreaches, thereby making progress on our quest to meet the needs of women at different levels in Uganda.
During the summer months, ACM-W was able to work out a computer literacy program that addresses the needs of women living in impoverished urban areas, such as certain slums and very low income communities, thanks in part to Stawa University’s willingness to avail facilities and equipment for this vital mission establishing ACM-W Technology Center. As such, through this center, ACM-W is now addressing the need of women in urban areas who are computer illiterate. Slum dwelling women stand a great, daily chance of using computer skills to advance their livelihoods, for most of these are engaged in small business venture and or low level employments where computer skills come in handy, thereby securing jobs and or making their businesses more competitive, to say little of making themselves more desirable to, or sought after by, employers.
ACM-W Uganda Chapter views the proliferation of smart phones, the pocket computer, as a great call to leverage urban women’s skills so that they can take advantage of the social media in advancing their businesses and other needful activities in order to better their livelihood. In light of this reality, ACM-W is planning a series of workshops and short courses designed to highlight to the women the potential benefits of just not the computer, but also of the smart phone in light of the social media. In sum, ACM-W in Uganda is taking women from merely taking photos of themselves and posting them on Facebook to taking photos of their businesses and posting them on the internet for a worldwide clientele.
In one of the weekly reports filed with the ACM-W office this summer, Doris Nalubega, a student at Stawa University and a teacher in a local primary schools, in discussing a weekly rural outreach, said, “We carried on from the previous home work assignment, where the students were supposed to do the letters of the alphabet both in upper case and lower case. The assignment was marked and the feedback was provided.” In her lesson to the rural women, Doris said “No one can write what they can’t read and no one can read what they can’t write.” During the lesson she explained that “The alphabet is made up consonants and vowels, and that the importance of learning the alphabets is to be able to read.” During the lesson she had taught each letter ‘s name, its sound, and showed the printed form.
In a different weekly report filed with the ACM-W office, in regards to teaching computer skills to rural women, Harriet Onyinge, another student at Stawa University and ACM-W member, taught a computer package for the day. The report goes on to state:
“She skillfully guided the women through the significant steps when using a computer. She taught the students how to start a computer, and each student had a try at it. She showed them how to move the cursor, to open an application, to begin typing, how to minimize and to maximize, to save, and how to close or shut down the computer.”
Students at Stawa University do a weekly fundraising in order to purchase some household items which they freely donate to these often impoverished, rural women during each ACM-W outing to the villages. Among the items they donate, one choice item is soap. In one of the reports filed to ACM-W office during the past two months, students stated, “At the end of the lesson, each participant took home a piece of soap. What a nice way to crown the day!”
Why You Should Join ACM-W
If you think it is important to recruit and retain as many women as possible in the computing field, you should join ACM-W! Together, we will help celebrate, inform and support women in computing:
- Celebrate: One of the most popular ways to celebrate women in computing is by starting and/or attending an ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing; the accomplishments of women in computing are at the heart of ACM-W's e-Newsletter. And ACM-W encourages its members to celebrate the work of prominent women by nominating them for Awards -- such as the Athena Award & Lecture -- as well as ACM Advanced Grade Membership.
- Inform: Via ACM-W's student scholarship program, young women are informed about the research going on, and become acquainted with the researchers, in their field. Members of ACM-W Student Chapters are informed about the educational and career opportunities available to them.
- Support: Lend your enthusiasm, inspiration, and support to ACM-W, and help make a difference in the global computing community!
When you join ACM, or renew your membership, check the box for ACM-W. You will be added to our email list and receive our ACM-W Connection newsletter.