ACM-W Connections – March 2018

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair 

One of the rewarding things about serving as ACM-W Chair is the opportunity to meet so many people who have a real interest in supporting women in computing.  Thanks to the many SIGCSE attendees who came by our booth in Baltimore and told us about many happening in Student Chapter and ACM Celebrations literally worldwide – it was exciting to hear from you!  In just a few weeks, ACM-W, in partnership with CRA-W, will sponsor groups of faculty from Brazil, France, Greece, India and the United Kingdom to attend the 2018 Grad Cohort Workshop for Women in San Francisco, CA.  I look forward to meeting all of these women and to assisting them in realizing their goal of creating a similar program of support in their home countries.

The International Gender Gap Project Continues

As was announced in the November 2017 newsletter, ACM-W has been participating in the International Gender Gap Project with the International Council for Science and several other partner organizations.  In this newsletter, we bring a report from Larry Lubowa, who attended a Gender Gap workshop in Cape Town, South Africa and will be an active participant of the ongoing project efforts in Africa.  You may recall that Larry is also key in leading ACM-W’s outreach efforts through Stawa University to women in Uganda.

Other ACM-W News

This newsletter also includes the following from our project committees:

  • ACM-W Europe announces important deadlines for womENcourage 2018, which will be held in Belgrade, Serbia next fall. The report also includes an invitations to attend Informatics for All, the ACM Celebration in Spain and the ACM Celebration of Women in Computing in Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • Tech Intersections: Women of Color in Computing, an ACM Celebration is highlighted in the Celebrations report.
  • The Professional Chapters report shines a spotlight on the ACM-W Cyprus Chapter and the programs it is doing to support students and young professional women in computing.
  • A reminder of upcoming Student Chapter award opportunities appears in the Student Chapters report alongside a welcome to our two newest ACM-W Student Chapters.
  • The Scholarship Program announces the recipients of the latest round of awards that will enable students to attend the ACM CHI Conference in Montreal, Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN) in Portugal, and the 39th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco, CA.

Call for Volunteers

The ACM-W Council is very grateful for the hard work of the many volunteers who keep our projects successfully running.  But there is always room and need for “more hands on deck”.  We continue to need assistance in the area of social media.  So if Facebook and Twitter are among your favorite pastimes, please consider joining our social media team to help us keep these avenues of communication active and relevant for those who follow them.  If interested, contact me via email (jltims@bw.edu) and I’ll be happy to get you connected into this effort.

A Final Note

March through May are very busy times for our Celebrations project.  Please check the list of upcoming events (https://women.acm.org/celebrations-2017-18/) and attend one near you, if at all possible.  If there is not a Celebration in your general area, consider this an invitation to find some others near you who could explore the establishment of your regions’ ACM Celebration of Women in Computing.

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Narrowing the Gender Gap in Science in Africa by Laurence Lubowa

Recently ACM-W underwrote my trip to Cape Town, South Africa, to present for ACM in a Gender Gap in Mathematical and Natural Science.  The mission for each participant was to achieve a better knowledge of the gender gap in science around the world, and in our case, Africa: How to Measure It, How to Reduce it?

Accordingly, a 2018 Global Survey of Scientists, funded by the International Council for Science (ICSU), in partnership with ACM—for the first time, was launched in Africa and in other regions of the world.  This project is to collect data on the status of men and women who are scientist across the world, keeping in mind that there is a huge need to prop up women scientists in the world of science. As such, the survey will provide us with data about the status of scientists, particularly women, in comparison to men, globally.  This data will come in handy as we implement measures and interventions that will bring about increased participation in science for women.

While we push the above mentioned survey through our communities in Africa, here in East Africa we are already focusing on 1) how to develop more interest in science, particularly among girls and 2) how to increase access to resources needed to conduct science, to say little of the opportunity to contribute to scientific enterprise, just as the global survey of scientists, mention above, seeks to achieve.  

Accordingly, two exciting projects designed to uplift women in science in East Africa are taking place:

  • In East Africa, in a working partnership between Stawa University and ACM-W, we have an ongoing outreach in primary and secondary schools aimed at identifying young female scientists and figuring out how to ensure that their interest in science is nurtured and safeguarded against elements that stifle pursuits of careers in science.  As such, we conduct talks, workshops, work with science teachers, and even involve parents of female science students, in addition to potential science employers, in order to jointly achieve these objectives.
  • On the need for access to resources, we are working with ACM-W and Stawa University to make computers perpetually available to the most indigent women in our communities.  Accordingly, we have opened a 24/7 computer lab and internet café for women in Kampala, Uganda. ACM-W has been working with us here in taking computer education to rural women for a while and to great success.  Therefore, graduates of our rural computer literacy efforts are encourage to come to this city computer center and pursue further computer knowledge, while indigent girls and women in the city are encouraged to make use of the internet café, at no cost to them, to pursue computer literacy, businesses, and communications that enable them to live a decent life in the city, especially in the light of the dominance of the internet on the world economy, particularly the opportunities the internet provides for those who are on it or can use it.

Women have a critical role to play in Africa’s development; yet, as many young women pursuing careers in science can attest, deeply ingrained gender inequalities limit them from pursuing, much less achieving, their dreams.  These concerns were central to the deliberations and strategic plans tabled in the gender gap workshop in Cape Town, South Africa, for which I thank ACM-W for the honor to represent ACM and for the opportunity it provided for me to learn and to play a part in this crucial liberation of mankind.

News from ACM-W Celebrations

Mills College hosted Tech Intersections: Women of Color in Computing, an ACM Celebration, on Saturday, January 27. We believe the conference to be the first of its magnitude exclusively for women and nonbinary people of color from ethnicities underrepresented in tech, including African-Americans, Latinx, Filipinas, Vietnamese, Arabs, and Native Americans. Demand was intense. We received over 100 speaker applications, and over 250 people registered to attend, with more on the waiting list.

The first session opened with a musical performance by Honey Gold Jasmine and included a well-received keynote address “Lies of Silicon Valley” by Erica Baker, Senior Engineering Manager at Patreon and renowned advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech. At the end of her talk, Erica was presented with a cape that read “BADASS” and included the conference logo, the letters WOC [women of color] combined with a power icon, designed by Mills CS undergrad Deana Bui.

Attendees then divided among 7 different locations for presentations, panels, and workshops on different tracks: Breaking Into Tech, Business Skills, Community, Data Analysis, Developer Skills, Impact of Technology, Self-Care, and User Experience. The most common complaint from attendees was that they couldn’t attend all of the sessions that interested them. Some of the most popular sessions were:

  • Negotiation
  • Decolonizing Self-Care: Tools for Empowerment and Healing for WOC in Tech
  • Management and Leadership: Tactics and Strategies for Climbing the Ladder
  • Recognizing Cultural Bias in AI

The hashtag #TechIntersections trended for the city of Oakland, with attendees sharing speakers’ words and photos and expressing their excitement at being around so many amazing women of color. As Founder Gym tweeted: “Wow! This is history: 5 Black and Latinx women venture capitalists on one panel sharing ‘The Unspoken Rules of VC.'”

The conference closed with a keynote by Leah McGowen-Hare, a Director at Salesforce, who described the source of her power as the 4 Cs: Connection, Collaboration, Conviction, and Celebration. Her advice included: “They may be of your color but they may not be of your kind. They may be of your kind but they may not be your color. Build up allies of all kinds.” She received her cape to a standing ovation.

In addition to the main conference, we held an allies workshop, which sold out at 40 tickets. It featured a 2-hour interactive ally skills training led by Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of Ready Set, a diversity solutions firm based in Oakland, CA, and co-founder and advisor to Project Include. It was followed by a presentation on fighting hate speech in the workspace, given by Valerie Aurora, a kernel developer turned diversity consultant.

The generous early support from ACM-W, Microsoft, and Mills College enabled us to host Tech Intersections at an affordable price (free to speakers, $15-$150 for everyone else), with free childcare and closed captioning, which made the conference accessible to our community. We will be able to continue to conference in future years, thanks to the sponsorship from Pandora, Kapor Center for Social Impact, MailChimp, AnitaB.org, GitHub, Social Interest Solutions, Google, Mesosphere, Stripe, Pinterest, Slack, Yelp, Travis CI, Salesforce Developers, Shopify, and IBM. Tech Intersections was organized by Maira Benjamin, Director of Engineering at Pandora; Idalin Bobe’, founder of TechActivist.Org; Tiffany Price, Community Engagement Manager at the Kapor Center for Social Impact, and Ellen Spertus, Professor of Computer Science at Mills College (of which Maira and Idalin are alumnae).

If you are interested in organizing a Celebration in your region, please contact the Chair of the Celebrations Committee, Wendy Powley for more information. International Celebrations are encouraged and welcomed!

News from ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences Program

The ACM-W 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 six occasions each year, in order to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually between 3 to 6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM-W 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 complementary 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, ICDIPC, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, GECCO, and ICSE amongst others.

This time around we have the pleasure of congratulating six scholars in March! We offer our congratulations to Irene Kaklopoulou, Pubali Datta, Kunchay Sahiti, Maria Santos, Andrea Bravo, and Christina Bremer!  The ACM CHI conference is always a big attractor and this time four of our awardees are going to Montreal for it. Two undergraduates, Irene and Kunchay are going from Greece and India.  Two graduates, working towards their Master degrees are also going to CHI, Andrea Bravo and Christina Bremer, from Spain and Sweden, respectively. Another student working towards her Master’s degree, Maria Santos is going to Portugal for “Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN)”. The only PhD student contemplated this time around, Pubali Datta, is going to the 39th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners. We never cease to find truly inspiring stories!

The next application deadline is April 15 for conferences taking place in June and July 2018.

For more information and to apply visit: women.acm.org/scholarships.  If you have any questions, please contact  the scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni, Adriana.Compagnoni@stevens.edu.

ACM-W Professional Chapters: Spotlight on Cyprus

The ACM-W Cyprus professional chapter was initially founded by professional women in computing from two universities: UCLan Cyprus (School of Sciences) and Cyprus University of Technology (Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts). The chapter now has about 20 professional members from several universities and companies across the island of Cyprus.  Many students from these universities are also members of the professional chapter.

According to Chair, Dr. Josephina Antoniou, the aim of ACM-W Cyprus is to encourage participation in Computing and Technology in terms of studies and careers, and encourage female participation in the field. The events focus on promoting significant skills that would help young students and professionals learn more and acquire skills that would help them become more attractive in the national and international job market.

The chapter has organized many successful events including:

  • WomenPower Fair (2015 & 2016): aimed to inspire, empower and link women mentors and mentees
  • Cyprus Pen-Test Competition (2015 & 2016 & 2017): annual ethical hacking competition
  • ACM ICPC National Programming Competition (2017): the first time Cyprus hosted a competition

For more information check out their website: https://acmwomen.cyprusinteractionlab.com/Start an ACM Profession Chapter

Start an ACM Chapter: https://www.acm.org/chapters/professionals/how-to-start-a-professional-acm-w-chapter

News from ACM-W Student Chapters

Welcome to new chapters at Vellore Institute of Technology, Nazarbayev University, and the University of West Georgia. Please join our Facebook page and keep us up to date on chapter activities!

We urge you to consider applying for ACM Student Chapter Awards. More details can be found here: https://www.acm.org/chapters/student-chapter-excellence-awards.

In addition to these general ACM awards, the ACM-W has annual awards for the Best Officer and Best Activity. The Best Officer award, which opens soon, provides up to $2,000 for the winner to attend Grace Hopper 2018. Watch for mail in the coming days about how to nominate an officer from your chapter. Announcements will also be posted to our Facebook page and web page.

News from ACM-W Europe

womENcourage 2018: “Creating the Future Together”

Join us for the 5th ACM Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2018 in the beautiful city of Belgrade, Serbia on October 3-5 2018. Poster Abstracts are due May 1. Be sure to follow ACM-W Europe and womENcourage on social media so that you stay informed.

ACM Celebration in Spain: April 19-20 2018

For the third time, Informatics For All (Informática Para Tod@s, IPT) is happening! Join us this April in Madrid to celebrate Spanish-speaking women in computing. All genders invited, from or living anywhere. We will listen to role models in the field and mingle. Very inspiring speakers of all ages will not only share their work and advice but also their drive and their enthusiasm.

Registration is free and open now!  Travel grants are available. It is possible to get a certificate of attendance after the event. Info at ipt.acm.org. Grab your ticket here and drop us a line for any questions to info@ipt.acm.org. Check our Facebook and Twitter!

Ada’s Legacy to be celebrated in Azerbaijan: April 14, 2018

Azerbaijan ACM/ACM-W Chapter partners with ADA University to host the ACM Celebration of Women in Computing in Baku. This year’s celebration aims to increase participation and poster applications from female researchers.