The First ACM-W Professional Chapter in Turkey: ACM-W Ankara

ACM-W Ankara is set up to carry out the ACM-W mission to “support, celebrate and advocate for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field” and to become a model for the future Turkish ACM-W Professional Chapters. As the first professional ACM-W chapter established in Turkey, ACM-W Ankara will organize events and also act as an umbrella organization for the existing ACM and ACM-W student chapters in the country. The initial target group of the chapter is female students at the graduate level in computer science and related fields. The initial programs will aim to provide platforms for networking, motivating and encouraging women in computing. The chapter plans to extend its target as the students at the undergraduate level and K12 in the future.

The work to establish ACM-W Ankara Professional Chapter started just after two professors of Computer Engineering, namely Pelin Angın from Middle East Technical University, Ankara and Öznur Özkasap from Koç University, İstanbul attended the CRA-W Grad Cohort for Women Workshop in April 2019, Chicago and returned home with great inspiration to organize a similar event in Turkey.

The first meeting to start working for ACM-W Ankara was held in July 2019 to which Reyyan Ayfer from Bilkent University, also attended. Having a mission, specific and well defined goals and planned activities helped to bring together many women to kick-off the chapter.

The same reasons attracted the attention of organizations to support the activities. After a meeting held in İstanbul, the first step was taken for partnership for Grad Cohort Women Turkey with inzva, which is a hacker community established in 2017, focused on Algorithm and Artificial Intelligence, aiming to cultivate the talents of Turkish students through a series of events ranging from year-long study groups to camps. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and work for organizing the first Grad Cohort for Women in Turkey started.

Grad Cohort events will be targeting women in computing pursuing their graduate studies at masters or doctorate level. The aim is to bring them together to encourage, inspire and network. Two events will be organized annually, one in English to have international role models as speakers and second in the local language Turkish.

The first Grad Cohort is planned to be held in April 2020 at inzva, which is located inside a historical factory building at Beykoz, İstanbul.

The initial activities of ACM-W Ankara Professional Chapter will be to:

  • Organize Grad Cohort events twice a year one in English and one in Turkish
  • Organize Turkish ACM and ACM-W Student Chapters Meeting once a year
  • Participate in research conferences in Turkey to raise awareness about the issues
  • Reach out to women in computing by blog posts, news and events via social media