ACM-W Connections–February 2020

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

After a three-year effort of eleven scientific organizations, the preliminary report  A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing and Natural Sciences is available.  A major part of this project was a global survey of scientists.  Analysis of survey responses produced several significant findings emphasizing that a gender gap continues to exist across all disciplines.  These results include:

  • Women were more likely to report receiving lower salaries compared to their colleagues, even after results were adjusted for explanatory factors such as age, discipline, geographic region, employment sectors, and level of human development in their region.
  • Women were 1.6 times more likely than men to report interruptions in their graduate studies, a major factor impacting doctoral completion rates. 
  • Women were less likely to report positive relationships with their doctoral advisors and a lower doctoral program quality.
  • Across all global regions, all disciplines, and all level of economic development, women were significantly more likely than men to report discrimination based on gender.
  • Over 25% of women respondents across all the sciences reported personally having experienced sexual harassment at school or work.  Women were also statistically more likely than men to say they had personally witnessed sexual harassment.

The news was not all bad, however, as an analysis of publication patterns in Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy revealed that the proportion of scientific publications by women has increased steadily since 1995 and now sits at 85%-95% of all publications.  Future related work hopes to include other disciplines in this analysis.

It is clear that the work that we do in ACM-W is still necessary and valuable in supporting women in computing globally.  Celebrations and grad cohort events are shown to provide much needed inspiration for those who attend, while establishing student and professional chapters ensures a level of consistent, ongoing support for chapter members. I encourage those in regions where ACM-W activity is absent to reach out to me and I will connect you to those project leaders that can help you begin one of these activities.

For anyone planning to attend SIGCSE 2020, March 12th-14th in Portland, OR, you can find ACM-W at booth 619 in the exhibit hall.  Stop by and one of our volunteers will be happy to talk with you about how you can be more involved in supporting, celebrating and advocating for women in computing through ACM-W.

Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Other ACM-W News

  • The Scholarships Committee announces the first awardees of 2020.
  • Reflections on womENcourage 2019 are a part of the ACM-W Europe report.
  • ACM-W North America welcomes its newest student chapter- California State University at Chico.

Report from ACM-W North America

ACM-W North America welcomes the newest ACM-W Student chapter, California State University at Chico! Shout out to Bryan Dixon (faculty sponsor), Tanya Bellen Bonilla (Chair), Paige Marie Jones (Vice Chair) and Maena Haroldson (Treasurer) and the 16 chapter members for your efforts to support, celebrate, and advocate for women in computing.

We look forward to two upcoming Celebrations, Carolina Women in Computing (Feb 21 -22) and the Tri-State Women in Computing Conference for the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana (Feb 14-15).

We’ve joined social media! Be sure to follow ACM-W North America for the latest news and updates as we begin to move forward with our new regional committee! Find us on Facebook (@ACMWNorthAmerica), LinkedIn (ACM-W-North-America), and Twitter (@acmwnorthameric).

News from ACM-W Scholarships

The ACM Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complimentary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG. ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, GECCO, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners.

We are happy to announce the first awards of 2020! We have four students going to the conferences they requested funds for. Undergraduate students Mansi Agrawal and Maitree Leekha are going to the flagship Artificial Intelligence conference, the 2020 AAAI Conference, this year in New York. Laxmi Pandey, a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced, is going to the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval in Vancouver, Canada.  Aurora Macias Ojeda, a doctoral student from Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Informática, Alicete, Spain is going to the International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA), in Salvador, Brazil.

Our congratulations to all! We hope they will enjoy their meetings very much!

The next application deadline is February 15 for conferences taking place in Apr 1 – May 31, 2020.   For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ trip reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

Guest Blog from ACM-W Europe

Starting from November, we are featuring a series of guest blogs from womENcourage 2019 participants. They share with us their career journeys, highlighting the challenges, the aspects of what they love the most, and the ways womENcourage inspires them.

This month’s guest blogger is Elif Akeli, a PhD student at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Turkey. 

“I started my professional journey six years ago. During this time I have worked as both a software developer and a member of the academic staff at the university. I have been fortunate to have a taste of both career paths: industry and academic.

…From the research perspective, I feel engaged and fully absorbed when reading a new publication or testing a new algorithm. Doing research fulfills me. On the other hand, from the teaching assistant perspective, I enjoy working with students who come up with creative ideas and different points of view, for instance, about a specific algorithm. I also like to see how my contribution helps them grow and broaden their knowledge.

…I do not want to say that there is no problem at all with gender imbalance in computing, but I think that self-confidence is a key factor. We should stop comparing ourselves with our male counterparts and keep following our goals.

…Next year, ACM womENcourage will be organized in Baku, Azerbaijan, so get ready to submit your posters! And don’t do like me: I’ve not heard about womENcourage until the last day of the application…”

Read more from Elif on our blog.