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-W March Wikipedia Campaign

To celebrate International Women’s day, we will start a Wikipedia campaign that will aim to add as many Wikipedia articles about women that are in computing, and from as many European countries as possible. If you would like to join us in this effort,  please nominate women or directly write articles on Wikipedia about them and share it on social media with hashtags #CSWiki.

Do not miss us on social media to learn about the campaign and also nominate women you would like featured. Like our ACM-WE Facebook page, follow us on Twitter (@acmweurope) or Instagram (@acmweurope) to get the updates.

Call for Hosting Proposals for womENcourage 2021

Wish to organize womENcourage 2021?  Submit your Expression of Interest by 30 April 2020.

With womENcourage 2020 organization well underway, we are now looking for proposals to host womENcourage 2021. The proposal processincludes two phases:

  1. Expressions of Interest to be submitted by 30 April 2020.
    • Notification of successful Expression of Interest proposal by 15 May 2020
  2. Full Hosting Proposals by 19 June 2020
    • Notification of the final decision on 10 July 2020

Each Expression of Interest will be reviewed by the womENcourage Steering Committee and followed up by a conference call to discuss the proposal. The teams that are shortlisted for the second phase will be provided with a budget template and advice on submitting the full proposal. The full proposals are due on 19 June, including the detailed proposed budget.

The template for Expression of Interest can be found here.

Completed Expression of Interest needs to be submitted in the PDF format through the Google form.  

We look forward to receiving your proposal. Should you have any questions or require further information, please send email to the womENcourage Steering Committee: ACMWE_SC@LISTSERV.ACM.ORG.

Blog Series: Reflections on womENcourage 2019

If you are wondering about how it feels to join the womENcourage events, we have been inviting participants to reflect on their experiences from womENcourage 2019, in Rome on our ACM-Women Europe blog series. This month, we are hosting Gunay Abdullayeva, who got her master’s degree at the University of Tartu and specialized in Data Mining, Machine Learning, Neural Networks. Read about Gunay’s journey in computing so far and the amazing experience she had at womENcourage 2019 Hackathon in Rome on our blog.

The hackathon in womENcourage 2019 was a full-day activity attended by 100 participants. The majority of them were master’s degree students (42%), but there was also a significant representation of undergraduates (22%) and doctoral students (22%). The remaining 16% were high school students and early-career professionals. 64% of them considered programming as their area of expertise, 27% were experts in design and 17% — in business. 69% of them have never attended a hackathon before. Gunay and her team competed in the Circular Economy Award challenge sponsored by Eni.

Gunay writes: “The feedback from the jury was quite positive and we were delighted to hear that we were the winning team! As a reward, we got the three-days free entry for the conference SingularityU Italy Summit 2020. All costs (accommodation, and flight) were covered by the company Eni.” “I would encourage you to believe in yourself, and apply to attend WomENcourage. Never give up, and create your story!”

womENcourage 2020 preparations in Baku, Azerbaijan are going full speed!

ACM womENcourage Celebration of Women in Computing is an exciting event, organized annually by ACM Women Europe, each year in a different European country to provide opportunities for women from diverse technical disciplines to come together and exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences. womENcourage attendees take part in hackathon projects, workshops, tutorials, keynotes, technical talks, panels, and poster presentations and expand their professional network through socializing. The Celebration is supported by a number of companies and professional organizations who generously donate funds and take part in the Career Fair, presenting exciting employment opportunities.

womENcourage 2020 will be held at 24-24th of September 2020 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a European country located at a major international crossroads of trade and culture between Europe and Asia. Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, the metropolitan area has about 4 million inhabitants. It is also the largest city on the Caspian  Sea with traces of human settlements leading back to the stone age. The average temperature in September is 26C with very little rain.  There are many wonderful attractions including ancient sites from UNESCO World Heritage List such as the old city with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower as well as modern architectural marvels such as the Heydar Aliyev Center that was designed by the world-renowned architect, late Zaha Hadid.

The venue this year is ADA University, and the event organisation is led by an experienced team headed by Araz Yusubov (Dean, School of IT and Engineering, ADA University). The team has been hosting the Ada’s Legacy ACM Celebration in Baku the last four years.

The theme for this year’s event is “The equation has two sides”. womENcourage this year 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.

Participants will be encouraged to contribute to the event program through posters, workshops, panel discussions as well as inspiring keynote talks. Posters provide womENcourage participants with an opportunity to present their work, receive feedback, exchange knowledge and establish collaborations with others who share the same interests. We welcome poster submissions that present original ideas and research, and authors may submit ongoing, new work or versions of their previously published work.

The womENcourage steering and organising committees are working tirelessly to bring you an exciting program! Check the important dates below not to miss the deadlines for your contributions. Remember, scholarships are open to both men and women!

The event will have a very exciting social program, so, make sure to keep an eye on the womENcourage website in the coming months.

Important Dates

Poster Abstracts are due Poster notifications 1 May 2020 5  June 2020
Scholarships applications are due Scholarship notifications 15 June 2020 15 July 2020
Workshops proposals are due Workshop notifications 15th June 2020 15 July 2020
Registration opens Last day for early registration 1 July 2020 1 August 2020

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.

ACM-Europe Blog: Reflections on womENcourage 2019

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 fulfils 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…”

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.