Mission Statement

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 both Oracle (through Oracle Academy) and Google for our scholarship program, and continuing support from Microsoft Research for the Celebrations. Thanks to their generosity in helping us to support, celebrate and advocate for women in computing.

Letter from ACM-W chair

Welcome to the October issue of ACM-W Connections. And what an exciting month it has been since our September issue! This issue includes a write-up about the ACM-W Celebration event in Goa, India. We have a very interesting article about the “applauds project” at Lawrence Livermore Lab, a project that should be replicable elsewhere. We also have a report from a group of very committed high school students in Mason, Ohio, who put together a summer camp for middle school girls.

I’ve just come home from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Amazingly, I have now attended 13 of the 14 GHCs that have taken place, including the very first one in 1994. As some of you reading this already know, the conference was huge this year! There were 8000 attendees, over 2800 students from 441 schools, and attendees from 67 countries. The exhibition hall was a beehive of activity and we had a lot of traffic in the joint ACM/ACM-W/ACM CCECC/CSTA booth, making lots of great contacts amongst our various constituencies.

We have some very exciting news that I announced first at the Hopper conference. ACM-W is working with Mentornet with a goal of getting at least half of all undergraduate women CS students in the U.S. mentored via the Mentornet platform. Microsoft Research is supporting this effort by providing funding to Mentornet and encouraging their staff to sign up to be mentors (though we fully expect that mentors from many many companies will eventually be needed). We will be sending our ACM-W student chapters information on how to join and sign up for a mentor. If you know of an ACM-W chapter that has lapsed, encourage them to sign back up so that they don’t miss out on this opportunity.

In a last note about the Hopper Conference, I would be remiss if I did not address the uproar about the remarks made by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. In case you missed it, in response to a question asked by Maria Klawe (president of Harvey Mudd College and member of Microsoft’s Board of directors), Nadella said that women should not ask for pay raises (in truth, he said nobody should ask for raises, but Maria’s question was specifically about women). He said he trusted in the review system, and that if someone’s work is good it would eventually be rewarded. As you can imagine, the conference and the web lit up, followed soon thereafter by all other forms of media as well.

Here are my thoughts on this matter:

  1. As a result of the ruckus, the Grace Hopper Celebration and the situation for women in computing got more press and more visibility than ever before. That’s a very good outcome.

  2. The situation provided a great opportunity for people to talk about the fact that meritocracy does not work when there is implicit bias. Nadella may think that the Microsoft review process is fair and unbiased, but given that women in tech in the U.S. earn only $0.86 for every $1.00 earned by men, he should seriously research what the actual numbers are for Microsoft, and then adjust salaries accordingly.

  3. This incident provided a very valuable lesson for the students at the conference. The companies recruiting at Hopper are trying very hard to improve their diversity statistics. The conference gives them access to a lot of women job candidates, and they treat the students very well (fancy swag, food, private events, interview booths, raffles, etc.). It would be easy for the students to be deluded into thinking that everything is great now in the tech world and women are always well treated. Nadella’s comments serve as a reminder that women entering the field still have to be prepared to advocate for themselves when they negotiate starting salaries and subsequent raises.

  4. I don’t doubt for a minute that Nadella, along with many other tech CEOs right now, considers himself a strong advocate for women in computing. He is noteworthy for being the first tech CEO of that level to come to Hopper, and he spent a lot of time there. He still has some things to learn, as do many people in this field. As we know, there are many hearts and minds that need to be changed, and more to be learned by even some of our best allies.

Thanks, as always, for supporting ACM-W and women in computing. We still have a ways to go in our efforts.

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair


Check out our growing international reach, more information on our International page:

  • India - ACM-W India

  • Europe - ACM-W Europe
    • Don't miss the article in the July issue of Communications of the ACM about European Women in Computing.

  • Arab region - ArabWIC
  • Australasian Celebration of Women in Computing - AWIC
  • First Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing - CCWIC

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 Blog. 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.

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