Welcome from the ACM-W Chair – June 2021

We’ve reached the end of another year of programming for ACM-W. And what a year it has been!  In spite of the challenges we’ve faced, ACM-W activity worldwide continued in the form of virtual Celebrations, Chapter activities, and our webinar series, Celebrating Technology Leaders. My heartfelt thanks to those who worked hard and used creativity to ensure that we could continue to support, celebrate and advocate for all women in computing.

As has become customary, the ACM-W leadership team will be taking a little time off in the coming weeks and then working in earnest to plan for the next year’s activities.  Consequently, there will not be a newsletter in July or August, but we’ll look forward to connecting again in September.

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

Jodi Tims, ACM-W Chair

ACM-W Scholarships Update

Attending conferences in person allows young and upcoming researchers to make meaningful human connections leading to strong collaborations, sometimes life-long ones, and to aspire to be more than they might otherwise do. The pandemic is still not over, and its impact and consequences have been felt across the world. We, the ACM-W scholarship committee, feel sorry especially for those female students who are at the beginning or in the middle of their PhD, when attending a conference in person can be a true life-changer. 

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. This program was started in 2013 by Valerie Barr.

The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated on 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.

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.

Scholarships Awarded – Congratulations to the Recent Winners!

This month we report the names of the five lucky winners who will be attending conferences in July 2021. In undergraduate; Majoring in Computer Science, Abigail Oppong from Ghana to attend Computing, Computational Modelling and Application in Ghana. Majoring in Mathematics, Hetvi Jethwani from India to attend The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2021. In Graduate School; The following students from Italy will also be attending GECCO 2021, Masters in Engineering, Giorgia Nadizar, Masters in Computer Science, Lara Dal Molin (studying in UK) and PhD in Engineering student, Erica Salvato.

 Apply for Next Scholarship

The deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place between Dec 1 – Jan 30, 2022. For more details and to apply visit:  https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

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

 Other Awards that May be of Interest

Grant: Helmut Veith Stipend for Female Master’s Students in Computer Science – Scholarship for women in mathematics/computer science at http://www.vcla.at/helmut-veith-stipend/

Annual Deadline: November 30

Announcements from the ACM-W Scholarship Committee

We welcome Dr. Catherine Inibhunu, the new ACM-W Scholarship Committee Member. Catherine is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ontario Tech University in Canada. https://businessandit.ontariotechu.ca/ai4hw/researchers/post-doc/index.php.

We look forward to when some normalcy may suffice as we continue to advance science and technology in virtual settings.

How does remote work affect early-career women in computing?

Jessica Hair, Jaelle Scheuerman, Gürkan Solmaz, Pam Wisniewski

A recent survey of early-career computing professionals found that although many people benefit from the flexibility of remote work, many groups, particularly women and minorities, face challenges while working remotely. A volunteer team from the ACM Future of Computing Academy (FCA) explored the impacts of the new era of remote work after COVID-19 on early-career computing professionals. They conducted a survey to understand how remote work affects many aspects of early-career computing professionals’ personal and work lives, including their productivity, mental health, and well-being. The survey also asked how working remotely is impacting the usability, accessibility, privacy, security, diversity, and inclusion of work environments. The survey was completed in July 2020 with 253 respondents, 39.3% of which identify as women. Some questions asked people to rank how positively, or negatively, they felt about various aspects of remote work. Other questions were open-ended, asking respondents to highlight the most significant impacts of remote work.

Survey responses indicated that remote work affects people in a variety of different ways. When asked to rank how positively remote work impacted diversity and inclusion efforts, 36% of women reported seeing a positive effect on diversity and inclusion compared to men, of whom only 12% reported positive effects on diversity and inclusion. Respondents mentioned benefits, such as how flexible work hours and reduced commutes have allowed them to spend more time with family. Others noted the benefits of virtual conferences and meetings for diversity and inclusion efforts. Participants also mentioned many drawbacks faced by women in remote work. Video calls and chat rooms made some women feel isolated and unheard. Mothers faced many challenges juggling child-care with work. For example, some noted that some decision-making meetings were scheduled during times they were unavailable due to child care. 

Overall, the survey highlighted that while many people benefited from remote work, many experienced drawbacks as well. As many organizations begin implementing long-term remote work, it is vital that they carefully design their remote work policies and environments to address the unique challenges faced by early-career professionals and women. 

A blog series describing the insights gathered from the survey, including the benefits and drawbacks of remote work and recommendations for coping with the major challenges, can be found on Medium at: https://medium.com/p/5d7ed50c923/.

ACM-W Europe blog

We are delighted to host guests on ACM-W Europe blog, and this quarter we had fantastic contributions.

Breath of Fresh Air: Diversity Heroes – Barbora Buhnova Our March 2021 guest was Barbara Buhnova, is a Co-Founder and Governing Board member of  Czechitas,  the community behind the scenes of the womENcourage 2021 conference. This Czech non-profit organisation emerged in 2014 to empower girls and women to engage in computing education or career transition. Bara is an Associate Professor and vice-dean at Masaryk University (MU), Faculty of Informatics in Brno. She leads multiple research teams at the Faculty of Informatics MU (software architecture), the Institute of Computer Science MU (big data analytics), and the Czech CyberCrime Centre of Excellence C4e (critical infrastructures). Bara is a leading member of multiple initiatives engaging more women in tech (e.g. Czechitas, Informatics Europe working group Women in Informatics Research and Education (WIRE), EU COST Action: European Network for Gender Balance in Informatics) reaching across the entire Europe. Read more from Barbora on our blog.

Blog Series: Telling our Stories: Aayesha March 2021 postwas by Aayesha, who recently completed her MS in Computer Science from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Pakistan. Her research focuses on automating the detection of epileptic seizures using machine learning techniques.   “When I enrolled for MS in computing, I was confused about picking my research topic, and I could not find assistance from my teachers. After several days of searching on the web, I chose machine learning-based epilepsy detection as a research topic. I wrote a complete thesis on this topic as well as two research articles.”   Well done Aayesha for persevering and discovering your passion! Read more from Aayesha on our blog.

How to organise an ACM-Women Europe Celebration in 10 Steps In April 2021, we caught up with Laura Castro from the Spanish celebrations to share their insights and lessons learnt. Laura Castro is a professor at the University of A Coruña, where she has been teaching since 2005 on Software Architecture and Software Validation. Her research focuses on software testing (automated, model and property-based testing), applied to software in general, and distributed, concurrent, functional systems in particular (mainly working with Erlang/OTP and Elixir). She shared with us the top lessons she learnt for creating a new celebration. It starts with: A few friends that want to make a difference can come together and create a celebration! For the rest visit our blog!

5 Reasons to Join Us at womENcourage 2021

womENcourageTM 2021 that is going to be virtual (coordinated from Prague, Czech Republic), 22-24 September, 2021.The slogan of this year’s event is “Bridging Communities to Foster Innovation”. In an increasingly technology-driven world and a rapidly changing economic environment, the field of computing cannot reach its full innovation and creativity potential if formed of homogeneous expertise, represented unevenly only by a fraction of the population. To foster innovation, we shall stop compartmentalising scientific progress by disciplines and encourage innovation across boundaries.

Here are 5 reasons to join us at the womENcourage 2021 this year:

  1. For inspiration and connection: Continue building the future of opportunity. Get inspired by the leading figures in computing, many of which are women. Inspire others and make connections. Find your voice among a diverse community of early-career to mid-career or transition to new directions (retired / returning) colleagues. Pave the way for cooperation by meeting and connecting with like-minded individuals and top minds in your field.
  2. For challenge and validation: Challenges are important parts of life that shape us. Learn to understand the value of your ideas and push them from the drawing board into reality. Continue growing your self – esteem and appreciating the ideas you bring to the table.
  3. For encouragement and support: We all have faced struggles and obstacles and, at one point or another, have not always seen the best in ourselves. If you feel like you could use a bit of help from others in your area of expertise, this is a conference for you. After all, #womENcourage embeds the support in the title itself.
  4. For purpose: Research/poster sessions that represent the social impact on challenges facing our communities and the world. Join or start projects that might bring breakthrough progress to our society.
  5. For opportunity: Women in computing across sectors are making change real and possible across a changing business, policy, and cultural landscape. From employment to partnerships to investment, learn what’s happening around the world and how you can grow opportunities for yourself, your company, and your networks.

Get A  Scholarship

Thanks to the generous womENcourageTM supporters, local and international alike, you have a chance to receive a participation scholarship to join the event. Together with our supporters we are proud to announce scholarships to a number of students, who actively participate in the conference (with poster, workshop, tutorial, hackathon). A small number of scholarships will be offered to students who do not contribute to the program actively, but have shown exceptional interest in the relevant fields, and are preferably in the first year(s) of their studies

Important Dates

Registration openJune 1, 2021
Scholarship applications dueJune 10, 2021
Hackathon interest to participate dueAugust 10, 2021

To learn more, follow this link to the Call to Take Part.

Wish to organize the 2023 womENcourage? – Call for Proposals Open

The call for hosting womENcourage 2022 is now closed. The venue will be announced on 24 September 2021 during the closing session of womENcourage 2021. We are now looking for proposals to host womENcourage 2023.

The proposal process includes two phases (all the templates you will need are provided at the end):

  • Expressions of Interest (EoI) to be submitted no later than 17 June 2021 23:59 AoE, but earlier submissions are welcome and indeed highly recommended. Submitting an EoI does not constitute a firm commitment to hosting. It is a first step towards a conversation with ACM-W Europe which will help you navigate the process of applying to be a host venue, by thinking early about what you need to have in place to fulfill the requirements to host the event. Notification of a successful EoI proposal will be communicated via email by 2 July 2021.
  • Full Hosting Proposals to be submitted by 12 August 2021 23:59 AoE. Notification of the final decision on 10 February 2021.

Here are the links to the call documents:

Expression of Interest Due17 June 2021 23:59 AoE
Notification of a successful Expression of Interest proposalby 2 July 2021  
Full Proposal deadline12 August 2021 23:59 AoE
Notification of a successful Full Proposalby 1 October 2021