ACM-W Europe June 2020 Report

Message from ACM-W Europe Chair

On behalf of all of the ACM-W Europe, I would like to thank you for continuing to be you. Covid-19 has caused stress for many of us. We worry about our health, our jobs and our general state of mind. We may not always feel ok, and this is fine. Everyone finds it hard sometimes. Whatever the world holds for us, there will be an end to the difficulties.

Perhaps this is a time to take on something new or perhaps it is a time to simply value all that we have. Do whatever is best for you. Do not feel under pressure to work longer and harder. Be kind to yourself.  We do not need to compete against ourselves. We decide what our measure of success is.

We hope to see you sometime soon at one of our many conferences and celebrations. For now, let’s celebrate and be proud of who

Ruth Lennon
ACM-W Europe Chair

womENcourage 2020 will run as an online virtual event

The womENcourage team has been closely monitoring the development of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. It’s now been decided that womENcourage 2020 will run as an online virtual event to ensure the health and welfare of our attendees. At this time, the team is still looking forward to your contributions – still not too late to submit workshop/tutorial proposals.

womENcourage 2020 virtual information session held at ADA’s Legacy

As a precursor to womENcourage, ADA University ran an online event on the 23-24th of April. The event was moderated by Araz Yusubov (Dean, School of IT and Engineering, ADA University).  On the 23rd of April, Sevinj Jafarli, Ilaha Manafova, and Lala Shahbandayeva shared their experiences of participating at womENcourage and how it helped with their career. Zeynab Rzayeva talked about poster submissions, and hints and tips for successful submission. Bev Bachmayer of womENcourage Steering Committee related the history of womEncourage and the team behind the scenes. On the 24th of April, Ulviyya Jafarli and Nijat Mursali talked about Big Data and AI education, and Samir Mammadov, and Natavan Akhundova talked about their Big Data and AI projects, and their advice for those who want to enter the field? These topics are also the themes of the womENcourage main conference.

Blog ACM-W Europe Blog

We’ve been hosting guest bloggers on our ACM-W Europe blog. Here is a selection.

System of Equations – Sabina Mammadova

One of the best things about womENcourage is its unique networking opportunity with women at all levels of their career from Europe in one place. So, let’s start with meeting people online! In April, a junior bachelor student in information technologies at Ada University, Sabina Mammadova, wrote for us about her career in computing and her thoughts on academic excellence. Read more on our blog.

Blog Series: Reflections on womENcourage 2019

The theme for womENcourage 2020 is “The equation has two sides”, as this year’s event aims to increase the number of male participants to break the women-only event stereotype. Inclusivity and involving all parties are crucial for resolving the diversity issues. So, May’s guest blogger is very timely – Burak Karabulut, who participated in womENcourage 2019, wrote about his experience of the event. Burak studies Computer Technology and Information Systems at Bilkent University in Turkey and is a Candidate Engineer at HAVELSAN. Read more from Burak on our blog.

BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium by Adriana Wilde

A very timely blog article as womENcourage 2020 moves online. In May, we’ve had the privilege of Adriana Wilde writing her experience attending BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, which ran for the first time online due to the pandemic.  Adriana Wilde is part of the womENcourage steering and organizing committee and is pursuing a part-time PhD in Computer Science at the University of Southampton. We thank her for this marvellous account of the event, and the inspiration for participating in online events such as the upcoming womENcourage.  Read more here.

New Additions to Wikipedia!

In March, to celebrate International Women’s day, some members of our team started contributing to English Wikipedia with articles about women that are in computing, and from as many European countries as possible. We are delighted that three entries were accepted to be created. Click to read more on:

  1. Sihem Amer-Yahia (CNRS, University of Grenoble Alpes, France) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihem_Amer-Yahia
  2. Geraldine Fitzpatrick (TU-Wien, Austria) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldine_Fitzpatrick
  3. Dita Přikrylová (Czechitas, Czech Republic) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dita_P%C5%99ikrylov%C3%A1

Join the ACM-W Europe Communications and Outreach Team

We are always on the lookout for new talent to join our communications team. You will be part of a dynamic volunteer team passionately working to disseminate information of interest to our community. The team publishes monthly newsletters, regular blog posts, and promotes relevant gender issues in computing and celebrates community success in social media (Facebook, and Twitter).

You can work with us on any number of our initiatives:

  1. The newsletter: Interview community members, and write articles
  2. Social media: Help create social media campaigns;  expand our reach in Linkedin.
  3. Website: Help maintain a dynamic website with up-to-date community news
  4. Blog: Write blog articles, or work with community members on blog series. 
  5. Outreach campaigns: E.g., reach out to ACM-W chapters for regular communication series
  6. Wikipedia campaign: Help us create a database of women in computing in Europe and regularly draft articles for Wikipedia.

 If you are interested, please contact us at acm_w_europe_outreach@acm.org  with a brief cover letter explaining why you would like to work with us.

ACM Celebrations in North America

Over the last two months, three Celebrations were held in three countries of North America reaching over 1,000 students! Celebrations were held by the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing (in Puerto Rico), Canadian Celebration (in Ontario, Canada), and a four-state Celebration in the U.S. (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas). Special shout-out to Nayda Santiago, Carol Spradling, and Wendy Powley and their volunteer teams for their time and efforts in supporting and encouraging future tech leaders. Next up are Celebrations in the U.S., including Carolina Women in Computing (North and South Carolina), Tri-state Women in Computing Conference (Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana), and Capital Area Women in Computing (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey).

If you want to learn more about Celebrations in North America or are interested in volunteering, you can reach us at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

You can now follow us on Facebook! @ACMWNorthAmerica

Elena Ferrari and Wendy Mackay awarded ACM Fellowship

In December 2019, Prof. Elena Ferrari (University of Insubria) and Prof. Wendy Mackay (Inria -Saclay) were awarded ACM Fellowships, the two women from Europe to be recognised as ACM fellows.

Prof Elena Ferrari was recognised for her contributions to security and privacy of data and social network systems, and Prof. Wendy Mackay was recognised for her contributions to human-computer interaction, mixed reality and participatory design, and leadership in ACM SIGCHI.  Meet these wonderful women who are trailblazers in their respective fields.

Elena Ferrari, inspiring the next generation of women into cybersecurity

Photo by Gerald Bruneau, courtesy of  ©Fondazione Bracco, exhibition: Life as a Scientist

Elena Ferrari is a full professor of Computer Science at the University of Insubria, Italy where she leads the STRICT SociaLab.  She received her PhD and M.Sc. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Milano (Italy).

Prof.  Ferrari is a world-renowned researcher and leader with high impact research and technology contributions to data security and privacy. She leads research projects that create technologies to enable efficient and effective data sharing without sacrificing privacy or security. Prof. Ferrari’s research, ranging from social network privacy and IoT to online privacy, critical infrastructure protection, has received funding from several institutions and enterprises, including EU Commission, Google, IBM, and the Italian Ministry for University and Research. She has published several books and more than 240 papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

Prof. Ferrari is the recipient of several awards, including the ACM CODASPY Research Award for lasting and innovative research contributions to the cybersecurity and privacy fields (2019) and the ACM SACMAT 10 Year Test of Time Award (2019). She became an IEEE Fellow in 2012 for her research contribution to security and privacy for data and applications. In 2018, Prof. Ferrari was named one of the 50 most influential Italian women in tech.

Prof. Ferrari promotes cybersecurity and privacy to women extensively and has supervised numerous female PhD students. As part of the CONCORDIA EU  research project on cybersecurity, she actively participates in promoting women in cyber and has co-organized a workshop at our flagship event,  ACM WomenEncourage: Women in Cybersecurity: A manifesto for TODAY.  To date, women represent only 24% of the workforce in the cybersecurity domain. While the figure increased over the years, it is still far from the ideal of a balanced representation of both genders. Through the workshop at womENcourage, Prof. Ferrari and her co-organisers provided a much-needed forum for engaging with stakeholders from different areas of cybersecurity to agree on common objectives to bridge this gender gap.

Wendy Mackay, exploring the limits of technology interaction

Wendy Mackay is a Research Director at INRIA, Paris-Saclay and the Université Paris-Saclay (formerly Université Paris-Sud), the first and only woman promoted to Inria’s highest research rank. She received her PhD from MIT in Management of Technological Innovation, and an MA from Northeastern University in Experimental Psychology. In 2017, she was awarded Doctorem Scientarum Honoris Causa in the Faculty of Science by Aarhus University, Denmark for her whole career, particularly for her work on interactive video, participatory design and mixed reality.

She is responsible for many computing firsts: At Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), she wrote the original authoring software for IVIS, the world’s first commercial interactive video system (1983, pre-Macintosh). At MIT, she conducted the first major study of email and cognitive overload (the 1980s). At Xerox PARC, she helped establish a new community for computer augmented environments.

Prof. Mackay is currently leading the Ex)situ research group in Human-Computer Interaction at Inria. Her current research on human-computer partnerships fundamentally reenvisions interaction and shifts the perspective on the role of AI in interactive systems. Her Ex)situ research group explores the limits of interaction — how extreme users interact with technology in extreme situations. Her work particularly focuses on creative professionals, artists and designers who rewrite the rules as they create new works, and scientists who seek to understand complex phenomena through creative exploration of large quantities of data.

Prof. Mackay is a recognized leader in the international Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community, holding numerous leadership roles in ACM and SIGCHI, and has been instrumental in developing a strong HCI community in France. She received the ACM/SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award for Service this year. She is also a recipient of a European Research Council Advanced Grant.

We congratulate both professors wholeheartedly for their amazing careers, and for serving as great role models for all of us.