by Alexia Giouroukou
The 4th Summit on Gender Equality in Computing (GEC’22) took place in Thessaloniki on June 16th -17th, 2022. GEC’22 summit was opened with the welcome talks from Efstratios Stylianidis (Vice-Rector for Research and Lifelong Learning of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki) and Panagiota Fatourou (chair of the Greek ACM-W Chapter). The first keynote speaker, Dr Alexandros Triantafyllidis (Professor at the School of Biology AUTh), shared uplifting messages of solidarity and social responsibility to support at-risk researchers based on his involvement in Inspireurope, a Horizon Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action.
The summit continued with the very interesting workshop entitled “Act Together – The Role of H2020 Projects and EU Initiatives & Their Impact on Gender Equality in STEM”, organized and implemented by the EU H2020 programme, so-called “Sister Projects”, with the main subject the presentation of the impact of each EU project on the EU gender equality targets and the settings in which they are addressed. The project’s aim is to form a strong and sharing society by changing the stereotypes and giving equal opportunities.
During the first-day poster session, intriguing flash talks were given by undergraduate, graduate and PhD students, as well as young researchers and professionals of any gender, to disseminate their research work and discuss their ideas with the other GEC participants. The day concluded with a keynote talk and an inspiring discussion with Dr Marily Nika (AR Product Lead at Google and a Fellow at Harvard Business School), who provided a perspective on being a woman in tech and shared her lessons learnt on leveraging AI towards creating value.
The Dean of the Faculty of Sciences of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Prof. Hara Charalambous, opened the curtain of the second day with an inspiring welcome talk. The keynote talk by Prof. Evimaria Terzi (Professor of Computer Science at Boston University) covered and discussed various approaches to creating the “best” team and the open problems in this emerging area with a vibrant Q&A with the audience.
The industrial panel entitled “Career Pathways & Opportunities in Computing” revealed a more sensitive and personal aspect of the event, as it gave the opportunity to acclaimed employees from Pfizer, Accenture, Vodafone, Deloitte Greece and Netcompany-Intrasoft, to share their experiences in the marketplace, how they overcome the
obstacles and difficulties and give valuable advice to younger employees.
The young researchers continued to share their work and innovative ideas and findings during the second poster session. Following the poster session, Dr Antonia Gogoglou (Machine Learning Software Engineer for Meta/Facebook in the USA), gave a very personal keynote speech, where she shared her experiences in both academia and industry as a woman in tech, talked about her personal views on gender equality in the field of Computer Science and the emerging challenges the field faces.
Then it was time for creative and playful experiences! We had the honour to host Dr Hanne-Louise Johannesen (CEO and Co-founder of Diffus Design), who organized an exciting and interactive workshop. Altogether, a visual matrix representing core aspects of GEC’22 was created. The matrix contained combinatory understandings of different technological terms (e.g., AI, ML, HHI, HCI) and key topics (e.g., gender, ethics, community, equality), while the outcome was fascinating.
The workshop “Becoming Better Together – Learning Through Mentoring”, was organized by Prof. Geraldine Fitzpatrick (Professor of Technology Design and Assessment and header of the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Informatics Faculty at TU Wien Austria) and Prof. Panagiota Fatourou (Université Paris Cité, France & University of Crete and FORTH, Greece). The workshop aimed to inspire a culture of mutual support where Greek academic women, students and young researchers identify and promote each other’s talents and achievements, recognize their strengths and investigate the potential of contributing as mentors to younger peers.
Last but not least, Amalia-Michaela Sotiropoulou (Resourcing Consultant of Vodafone), was excited to present Vodafone’s journey from Telco to Techco and its youth opportunities for employment.
During the 2-day event, five of GEC’22 sponsors (Accenture, Deloitte Greece, Netcompany-Intrasoft, Pfizer and Vodafone) were present in the exhibition/posters area, willing to develop fruitful discussions about their companies’ opportunities with young, promising researchers, while at the same time networking with all the summit’s participants.
The entire event has been recorded and is made available on the Greek ACM-W Chapter’s YouTube channel.
GEC’22 would like to thank its supporters and sponsors, all who contributed to making this event so successful, and of course, its attendees for their participation and enthusiasm!
Starting this year, the Greek ACM-W Chapter, with the support of the ACM Europe Research Visibility working group (ACM Europe RAISE), organizes a series of annual winter schools, on timely computer science related topics. The main goal of the school is to offer the opportunity to young computer science professionals to learn, interact and make a difference.
The inaugural edition of the Greek ACM-W Chapter Winter School (GECSW22) took place online on February 24-25, 2022. Living the revolution of AI, with issues of biased treatments, exclusion, and unfairness being raised, the topic could not be anything else than “Fairness in AI”. Participation was free but limited to facilitate interactions. After the selection process, more than 60 participants from more than 20 countries had the opportunity to be part of the
Top scientists from around the world presented their exciting work on the topic in the two-day event. Participants learned, through scientific talks and tutorials, the fundamental theory behind algorithmic fairness, the state-of-the-art in ranking, recommendations, web search, online markets, computer vision & some software tools. Also, they understood the need for a broader, multidisciplinary treatment including police, education, legal, philosophical and societal views.
For a more engaging and interactive virtual school, participants were divided into working groups. Each working group (7 people) had to complete a small task (see image). At the end of the conference, the participants presented their work and voted for the best presentation.
The entire event was live-streamed with the help of people from Athena Research Center and has been recorded on the Greek ACM-W Chapter’s YouTube channel. (Respecting the personal data of the students, their presentations have not been recorded)
The full program of the event is still available on the official website of GECSW22.
GECSW22 would like to thank its supporters and sponsors, all who contributed to make this event so successful, and of course its attendees for their participation and enthusiasm! Until the next GECSW, see you at the 4th Summit on Gender Equality in Computing by the Greek ACM-W Chapter!
Ruth Lennon, current chair of ACM-W Europe, has been selected as the next Global Chair of ACM-W. Ruth is the director of Craobh Technology Consulting, an organization that provides personalized solutions to industry problems.
Ruth is also a Lecturer with 20 years of experience in the Department of Computing in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland. Ruth’s research interests focus on enterprise scale systems with a particular focus on DevOps and Cloud technologies. She has been a member of many technical panels and committees including chairing the NSAI/TC 2/SC 11 on cloud and distributed systems, and working on the IEEE 2675 DevOps standard. Ruth’s goal in DevOps is to ensure that security and performance are seen as core to development projects just as it is in configuration projects.
Ruth has been a member of the ACM for over 20 years and is the Chair of the ACM-W Europe. She has worked on projects to support and encourage women in computing and engineering career pathways for as long as she has been in the ACM. Highlighting the vital role that women can play in any technical team is core to her voluntary work.
When asked about her vision for ACM-W Ruth states, “I look forward to working with the team to define a strategic approach to build stronger international links in our global community of skilled, collaborative and enthusiastic researchers and practitioners. Over the next two years we will explore new ways to provide greater value to our members locally, regionally and globally.”
ACM Student Chapter Excellence Awards – Apply by March 24th
It is that time of year again! The ACM Student Chapter Excellence Awards recognize outstanding ACM and ACM-W student chapters. All student chapters in good standing are encouraged to apply for this award in one or more of the following five key areas:
- Chapter Activities
- Chapter Website
- Recruitment Program
- Community Service
- School Service
To be eligible, active chapters must have all required officers and at least 10 active chapter members listed on the Chapter Admin Interface. Each category has its own online application. To be considered for one or more of these awards, complete the applications found at: www.acm.org/chapters/student-chapter-excellence-awards by Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST.
Winning chapters in each of these categories will receive $500 and a “best of” icon to proudly display on their chapter’s website. Also, these chapters will be recognized on the ACM website and in ACM MemberNet.
Chapter Spotlight: Cyprus ACM-W Chapter
Cyprus ACM-W Chapter launched the FeSTEM community platform (festem.network) on International Day of Girls and Women in Science (February 11).
While there’s a growing representation of women in science, several structural, social, and institutional barriers still remain. FeSTEM network is an e-mentoring platform that aims to link Higher Education (HE) students in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with experienced mentors in the field. The platform was developed as part of the FeSTEM project (festemproject.eu) that is co-funded by the Erasmus+ program and supported by the Cyprus ACM-W Chapter (acmwomencyprus.wordpress.com).
Welcome to Our Newest Chapters
- AITR ACM-W Student Chapter – Indore, India (Student)
- GEU ACM-W Student Chapter – Dehradun, India (Student)
- ITU ACM-W Student Chapter – Istanbul, Turkey (Student)
- MUJ ACM-W Student Chapter – Jaipur, India (Student)
- PSU-H ACM-W Student Chapter – Middletown, PA (Student)
- Sathyabama Institute ACM-W Student Chapter – Chennai, India (Student)
- Western Colorado University ACM-W Student Chapter – Gunnison, CO (Student)
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
|Registration open||June 1, 2021|
|Scholarship applications due||June 10, 2021|
|Hackathon interest to participate due||August 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 Due||17 June 2021 23:59 AoE|
|Notification of a successful Expression of Interest proposal||by 2 July 2021|
|Full Proposal deadline||12 August 2021 23:59 AoE|
|Notification of a successful Full Proposal||by 1 October 2021|
It has been a whole year since the pandemic suddenly changed our lives. Uncertainty has been the major obstacle hindering us from making plans. We never lost our hopes for a brighter future and the additional responsibilities that came with the pandemic kept us busier than ever. Vaccinations starting around the globe are helping to keep our hopes at the same level. All activities requiring mobility either turned out to be organized online or postponed to an unknown date. It looks like the war against COVID19 is going to continue. Until everybody feels safe, online events will continue. For those who have not lost their hopes but would like to stay on the safe side we want to share our suggestions for virtual celebrations.
Although it is not like in-person events there are advantages of virtual events like capacity, cost, and flexibility. ACM-W may schedule Zoom Meeting and Webinar platforms as the schedule permits.
If you are in one of the ACM-W regions, notice that each region has specific instructions besides the one included in this document. Make sure to check that information in your region’s website, which includes contact persons. As of March 2021 ACM-W Regional Committees are Asia Pacific, Europe, India and North America. For celebrations organized from these regions applications will be made as explained on the website. Applications from other regions will be evaluated by ACM-W Regional Activities team.
If you are planning to organize a virtual ACM Celebration of Women in Computing please check with your regional ACM-W celebrations committee and get prepared to answer the questions in their application form. For each celebration a page will be reserved on the related ACM-W website. The celebration organizers choose the official language(s) of the celebration to reach out to more participants.
For applications to ACM-W Regional Activities Team use the Virtual Celebration Application Form and submit at least 3 months before the proposed celebration date. In order to complete this form you will need to have to indicate total expected expenses in US Dollars and explain the major expense items. You can find a template for preparing a budget for your virtual celebration here.
Approval process and sharing the results will take no longer than two weeks. Please contact ACM-W Regional Activities Chair in case you do not hear at the end of two weeks.
Minimum requirements for an event to be funded (please note that if you do not comply with these requirements, funding will not be granted):
- The event must be at least one day in length (preferably two half days)
- The event must be branded as an “ACM Celebration of Women in Computing” event in the event’s title or as a subtitle.
- Registrants must be drawn from several chapters, institutions, regions. The number of registrants is an important information for evaluating the application.
- Events should loosely follow the Celebration model; keynotes, panel sessions, speakers, student presentations, poster sessions, hackathon, career fair etc.
- A summary of the event suitable for inclusion in ACM-W media channels must be provided at the end of the event to ACM-W Communications Chair, who can be found on ACM-W Contact Information page.
womENcourage 2021: Preparing for Prague
womENcourage 2021 is to be held in Prague, Czech Republic. The slogan of the event this year 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.
The community behind the scenes of womENcourage 2021 conference, is Czechitas. This Czech non-profit organisation emerged in 2014 to empower and encourage girls and women to engage in computing education or career transition. Czechitas strives to demonstrate that tech is an exciting career direction that is not necessarily difficult nor, more importantly, limited to one gender. Initially established to provide female students in the Czech Republic with an opportunity to put their hands on programming, it now aims at achieving a significant social change. Find out more about Czechitas.
ACM recognizes two European Women as Fellow and Distinguished Member
In January 2021, ACM recognised Prof. Olga Sorkine-Hornung (ETH Zurich) as Fellow for contributions to digital geometry processing, computer animation, computer graphics and visual computing. On the last days of December 2020, Prof. Maribel Fernandez (King’s College London) as a Distinguished Member for Outstanding Contributions to Computing. We congratulate them for their brilliant work and being outstanding role models to all women working in Computing.
We caught up with Prof. Maribel Fernandez in January. Her research interests include programming languages, models of computation and security. She develops tools for the specification, analysis and verification of complex systems (e.g., biochemical systems, financial systems, programming languages, software applications).
“I find it fascinating that there are so many different ways of understanding computation. In addition to the classical models of computation which gave rise to the current computer architectures, there are new models of computation inspired by biochemical processes, by agent interactions, by quantum mechanics.”
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 – Toni Collis As a community, we embrace our diversity; diversity makes us better, stronger. We cannot do enough to applaud all of our heroes in their diversity. They are people who are ACM members, volunteers or experts in their field. Starting from June 2020, we have reached out to several heroes about their tech career journey, about their perspective on intersectionality and reflect on initiatives for equality. Our December guest was Dr Toni Collis, the CEO of Collis-Holmes Innovations, a Strategic Innovation Leader, Trainer, Consultant and Leadership Coach for women in tech Toni’s career has focused on facilitating the use of technology, with a particular emphasis on parallel computing and supercomputers, for the advancement of research and innovation in both academia and industry. Early on in her career, Toni realised that knowledge was not the only barrier to the uptake of parallel computing in research, but culture limited the participation of women and minorities. As Founder of Women in High-Performance Computing (WHPC), Toni developed and led innovations to diversify the HPC workforce, providing HPC tutorials for women academics and students worldwide, training and consultancy on building inclusive workforces, and research into how to improve the representation of women. Read more from Toni on our blog.
Blog Series: Telling our Stories Each year we meet wonderful women at womENcourage. This year was no different, and in the rest of the year, we will have womENcourage participants telling their stories in blog posts.
Viviana Bastidas December 2020 postwas by Viviana Bastidas, a PhD Student at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland, and a Lero member—the Irish Software Research Centre, Limerick, Ireland. Viviana wrote about her experience attending the “Social Networks Analysis: Theory and Practice” workshop, given by Dr Deniza Alieva and Gulnoza Usmonova. “ I would like to invite other students to participate in the next versions of ACM womENcourage. We must support each other and continue to encourage other women to develop their careers in computing. We have many opportunities to change small or big things in society, and computing helps us to find solutions to do so.”
Marjana Prifti Skenduli January 2021 post was written with passion for STEM is by Marjana Prifti Skenduli, a full-time lecturer of Computer Science and a Computer Science PhD candidate at the University of New York Tirana (UNYT). “I define myself as an enthusiastic Computer Science educator and a passionate Information Technology professional, who takes great pride in being a mother to two wonderful daughters. Perhaps I am a lucky person, for being able to combine my daily job with my passion and translate it into a bold mission: that of getting people of all ages and backgrounds excited about the immense possibilities of STEM education.” Read more from Marjana on our blog.
In September, we all gathered virtually at ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan for the ACM womENcourage 2020, more than 200 registered participants from some 40 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas and Australia. Dr Araz Yusubov, Dean of the School of IT and Engineering, ADA University, led this year’s organization, and he thanks all the participants for their active participation and meaningful contribution to the first-ever virtual womENcourage celebration.
The ACM-W Europe Chair, Ruth Lennon wrote:
“Moving from in-person to virtual conferences is hard. How do you engage people with the program? Have a dedicated team constantly texting in chat windows? have a live ‘networking session’ that runs 12 hours a day? I think the most important thing is to have an engaging program and amicable people willing to meet. Keynotes, company representatives, organisers and all attendees willing to contribute to the discussion. These past 4 days were a great success. It is not often that I get to say how much fun I had working with an organising committee. The photo really is a good image to represent a year well spent. I have to thank Araz Yusubov, Bev Bachmayer, Rukiye Altin, Adriana Wilde and Nuria Castell. ACM-W Europe Thank you ADA University for hosting womENcourage 2020. I look forward to The ACM Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2021!”
ACM womENcourage 2021 will go to Prague, the Czech Republic next year. We are already excited! The event will be chaired by Dita Přikrylová, founder of Czechitas, is due to be held in September. Plans for both in-person and virtual formats are being organised so that we are ready for whatever happens. In 2021 womENcourage we hope to encourage bridging communities. Computing impacts the lives of so many people more so now than ever before and the conference will explore the many aspects of computing and how it touches our lives.
ACM-W Europe 2020 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 – Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein Catherine D’Ignazio (MIT) and Lauren F. Klein(Emory) wrote for us “How to Teach Data Science like an Intersectional Feminist”, was adapted from their book, Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020). “Women faculty comprise less than a third of computer science and statistics faculty. More than 80% of artificial intelligence professors are men. This gender imbalance, and the narrowness of vision that results, is compounded by the fact that data science is often framed as an abstract and technical pursuit. Steps like cleaning and wrangling data are presented as solely technical conundrums; there is less discussion of the social context, ethics, values, or politics of data.” Read more on our blog.
Kharkiv ACM-W Chapter – Science and Technology Empower Women Oleksandra Yeremenko, a professor of V.V. Popovskyy Department of Infocommunication Engineering at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Ukraine, shares with us their story of starting the Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter. “The ACM-W community allows us to break down the boundaries and destroy the myths and stereotypes that exist in society about women in science and technology.”
Blog Series: Telling our Stories – Rahma Mukta Each year we meet wonderful women at womENcourage. This year was no different, and in the rest of the year, we will have womENcourage participants telling their stories in blog posts. We start with Rahma Mukta, from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, Australia. She is a second-year PhD student in Computer Science and Engineering. She works on blockchain security and anonymous credential systems. “My second-year [in the PhD program] started with the challenge of quarantined life due to COVID-19. In this new normal, for the very first time, I got the chance to introduce myself to the ACM womENcourage conference 2020. The conference was my first ever experience to join an online event to present my work.”
ACM-W Professional Chapters give you a local voice for change with the backing of an international organization. Professional chapters work with student chapters and industry leaders to advocate for equity and diversity in the tech industry. Our chapters around the world organize conferences, hack-a-thons, fundraisers, lecture series, community service, and networking events that gather together local students and IT professionals. Learn about these activities through two interviews with ACM-W Chapters who have offered to share their experiences.
Interview with Bojana Milasinovic, Belgrade ACM-W Professional Chapter
Why did you decide to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter?
Thanks to Reyyan Ayfer we found out about ACM and the opportunities for local communities. Because we were already dealing with the topic of women in tech on local level, forming ACM-W chapter opened a new door to us. Through chapter we could connect more people from local community to ACM activities.
When did you get your chapter charter?
It was in 2016. after the conference Women in Tech held in Brussels.
What projects are you working on?
Enter: ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing is a two-day conference held in Belgrade. We have held this student-centered conference twice with about 500 attendees per event. We are planning to continue with similar events, focusing more on practical work than on classic lectures. A hands-on approach seems to be more popular and useful to participants, so we would love to continue our work in that direction.
What connections do you have with students?
We are in contact with several different student groups. Most of our programs are designed for them so we are trying to meet their needs by helping them on their way through professional challenges.
What benefits do the members of your chapter gain?
We try to connect members with other IT people (especially successful women from local IT community) so they can build a strong social network. Additionally, members can learn from women in the local IT community through different workshops about soft skills and technical skills. We also keep members informed about all ACM-W benefits. Most importantly, we listen to the problems they are facing in the professional world and note the skills they need and create programs to help them to adjust.
Where do you see your chapter in five years from now?
We hope that at some point we can pass the chapter activities to some young and motivated people who will be willing to carry on with the activities and fresh new ideas.
What suggestions or feedback for any groups looking to start their own chapter?
Go for it! 🙂 It can be very useful experience, leading you to the great people and great output of all successfully done activities.
Interview with Panagiota Fatourou, Greek ACM-W Professional Chapter
Why did you decide to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter?
Our motivation to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter in Greece stems from the need to enhance and advocate gender balance in computer-related scientific fields and professional sectors in Greece.
Based on 2014 Eurostat data, women are strongly under-represented in computer-related studies in most European countries, including Greece. Specifically, 80% or more of the students enrolled in computer-related study programs are men. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be persistent as these statistics have not been observed to improve the last several years. In parallel, Greece (and Europe) under-utilize women scientists in research and innovation, as well as in leadership positions, while women’s participation in the digital labour market decreases with age (the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon).
Action is necessary to discover, understand, and defeat the glass ceilings with the goal of addressing any form of gender imbalance in scientific leadership and decision-making processes, and ensuring a fair development of outstanding career paths with no barriers and misconceptions for both men and women in the digital sector. The Greek ACM-W Chapter aims at contributing in this direction by promoting gender-equal access to computer-related scientific frontiers, encouraging and educating women and men in an equal way to achieve their professional goals and utilize their potential in digital professions, and celebrating and disseminating the achievements of computer professionals, women and men, in a fair and gender-equal way.
When did you get your chapter charter?
The Greek ACM-W was chartered on July 2, 2018.
What strengths does your chapter have?
The main strength of the Greek ACM-W Chapter is its member base. Our founding members number more than 40 women covering diverse domains of computer science and engineering. Our members work primarily in academia and research institutions from all over Greece and abroad; however, Chapter membership working in the computing industry is also increasing. The Chapter’s overall member base has exceeded 190 individuals of all genders, in less than two years since its establishment (including most women professors working at Computer Science (CS) related Departments in all Greek Universities).
Can you tell me a little more about what projects you have been working on?
In the almost two years of its operation, the Greek ACM-W has succeeded in mobilizing a considerable number of women and men to become members of the chapter; establishing its online web and social media presence; and organizing events.
The Greek ACM-W chapter’s website (https://acmw-gr.acm.org) was launched in the first few months after the establishment of the chapter. The website aims to maintain a dynamic nature; it is being systematically updated with news regarding our activities and our members as well as resources, especially relevant reports and papers (https://acmw-gr.acm.org/index.php/en/resources/reports-papers). We have also created a YouTube (https://tinyurl.com/y2hresdk) and Flickr (https://tinyurl.com/ybrl3mfq) channels for storing more audiovisual resources. Most notably, our YouTube channel includes video documentation of all of the talks and sessions of our major event. In parallel, we update our Twitter https://twitter.com/GreekAcm and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8721327/) spaces with the help of student volunteer members of our chapter.
Our first major event was the 1st Summit on Gender Equality in Computing, on June 7, 2019 in Athens, Greece. The GEC 2019 brought together students, researchers and professionals in the field of Computer Science. It was attended by 121 participants, of whom almost half were students. The program featured a) four keynote talks, b) a poster track including a flash talks session, c) several industry talks, d) a career development track, and e) a panel of women with distinctions and women in senior technical positions. Participants were inspired by the talks and activities that took place during the Summit, and enjoyed the offered opportunities for networking and sharing experiences. See https://tinyurl.com/y7w54urk and https://gec19.athenarc.gr/.
We are also in the process of establishing the following working groups, and collecting our members expressions of interest, indicating in which groups they would like to participate and contribute to:
- Celebrations and Events
- Networking and Connecting
- Raising Awareness and Dissemination
- Sponsoring Programme
- Computer Science and Education prior to the University
- Support during the University Studies
- Mentoring and Role Models Program
- Assessment and Evaluation
Following the big success of GEC 2019, we are currently organizing the 2nd Summit on Gender Equality in Computing, which will take place on June 12, 2020, as an online event (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
We also plan to carry out a variety of mentoring initiatives and Summer Schools, as well as a seminar series focusing on gender equality issues in education, research and innovation.
Finally, we hope to formalize our chapter’s procedures, e.g. management structures for the different working groups, and chapter events so that these can be streamlined and sustainable across the different leadership boards that will assume responsibilities in the future.
What connections do you have with university students? What activities do you do?
A large number of our members are academics and, through this network, the Chapter has a strong connection with university students. In the planning of our first event, the GEC 2019, we ensured that students would be active participants and thus held a poster session especially for students and young researchers. Through a peer-reviewed process, 35 abstracts were selected and presented via flash talks and a dedicated poster session.
The Chapter has established a working group especially for supporting University students and will continue in this direction. Another working group is devoted on providing mentoring and coming up with a pool of role models.
What connections do you have with K-12 students? What activities do you do?
The Chapter has so far participated in the 1st Summer School in Computer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEM ’19), organized for high-school students in Heraklion, Crete, and with a presentation in “Youthtopia”, a non-formal youth group’s event for the International Day for Women in Science.
The Chapter has established a working group for K-12 and activities will pick up its action in the near future as we plan for summer schools and other activities for the K-12 target group.
What involvement do you have with local ACM events, chapters and initiatives?
As a Chapter, we collaborate with other local chapters, such as the ACM-W Student Chapter AUTH, with which we co-organised an event in Thessaloniki and the Greek ACM SIGCHI Professional chapter, as well as other ACM initiatives (e.g. with presentations at the ACM Summer Schools on Data Science 2018, 2019).
At a broader, regional and international scale, members of our Chapter are actively engaged with womENcourage and participate in Committees of ACM-Women Europe. Most notably, a members’ team poster was among the ten best posters (out of more than 70) selected at womENcourage 2019.
What professional, social, support benefits are gained for the members of your chapter?
The Greek ACM-W Chapter aims to create a community in Greece and has succeeded so far in providing networking opportunities to its members.
Our members can gain awareness about the CS-related issues through our newsletters, our website news, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We have been very active in informing our members about initiatives and events in Greece and abroad. We provide access to scientific papers, studies and other resources on our website, all talks given at the GEC 2019 are available on our YouTube channel.
Furthermore, our members’ achievements are promoted through our website and social media channels.
Where do you see your chapter in five years from now?
We aspire to continue expanding our member base, so that five years from now, the Greek ACM-W Chapter will have established a critical mass or active and engaged members, and a presence that can truly make an impact. We hope that the various working groups will have gained ground to organize their own activities, and contribute to a decentralization of the Chapter’s activities in order to spread impact across different parts of Greece.
What suggestions do you have for groups looking to start their own chapter?
Our 22 months of experience since establishing the ACM-W Chapter have highlighted the importance of motivation and transparency. Our suggestions, in a nutshell, include:
- to be clear about your vision and goals from the outset,
- to convene a small but active team that will work together as a core team to realize the vision and goals,
- to become familiar with all the resources that are out there and are available through ACM, and to leverage these resources,
- to be prepared for a lot of hard but very rewarding work!
Supporting, Celebrating, and Advocating for Women in Computing
We recognize the work of our ACM-W professional chapters and are grateful for the work they do to ensure women thrive in the tech industry:
- ACM-W UK Chapter
- Ankara ACM-W Chapter
- Azerbaijan ACM-W Chapter
- Belgrade ACM-W Chapter
- Cyprus ACM-W Chapter
- Delhi ACM-W Chapter
- Greek ACM-W Chapter
- Northwest Ohio ACM-W Chapter
- Inhambane ACM-W Chapter
- Jamshoro ACM-W Chapter
- OCWiC ACM-W Chapter
- Pune ACM-W Chapter
- Tallinn ACM-W Chapter
- Windhoek ACM-W Chapter
We also welcome our newest chapters and are excited to see what they will do:
- Chennai ACM-W Chapter
- Hibernia ACM-W Chapter
- Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter
- Trondheim ACM-W Chapter
Won’t you consider starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter near you? See the ACM-W website for more information: https://women.acm.org/acm-w-professional-chapters/
Not ready to start a chapter but want to get involved? ACM-W is looking for people to help support the professional chapters. If you have a few hours a month to donate to a worthy cause, please contact Rachelle Kristof Hippler (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out how you can help.
Message from the ACM-W Europe chair
Why is diversity seemingly an NP-Hard Problem? Why can we not simplify the issue and just fix it? There are many issues involved, some of which we either have not identified yet or do not realize we are failing at. Sometimes we are afraid to try as we may fail and cause more damage. Making a change requires bravery. When solving a mathematical equation, we teach our children to do the easy bit first and then try to work out the rest. Starting is always the hardest bit. So let’s make a start, what easy thing can we do to make a positive change? Let’s begin by highlighting members in their diversity. #BlackLivesMatter is an incredible movement, and we want to do more to make a change rather than simply to speak the words. Help us move forward by nominating yourself or others for any of the following outlining the reasons why you/they should be considered:
- Volunteering with our Working Groups. Let’s make a change to ensure that we have greater diversity in our leadership roles
- Blogs/Diversity Heroes. Is there someone you would like to see featured? Suggest someone for one of our series.
- Wikipedia. We need to highlight more women in computing. Let’s work together to highlight another role model! Who would you choose?
- Nominate more women to ACM Distinguished Speaker Program.
These things are simply our starting point. We know that we want to do more for our members. We want to hear from you and work with you to make a positive change, so please do consider the above points. We can make progress as a community of professionals, and we can be passionate about the need for change as a family of like-minded people. Stay strong and stay hopeful for a brighter future for everyone.
Ruth G. Lennon, Chair of the ACM-W Europe
Breath of Fresh Air: Diversity Heroes
Starting from June 2020, we talk with several heroes about their tech career journey, about their perspective on intersectionality and reflect on initiatives for equality. Here is how they answered: “If you were to change something in the way we run tech communities and networks, what would you change?” Read more on our blog: https://acmweurope.acm.org/europeblog/
June 2020 – Bolanle Ojokoh: There should be more recognition and rewards for excellence. One important thing is outreach work, especially North-South collaboration and reaching out to the under-represented in developing settings, who are talented and would have been better contributors to developing the world if there had been more enlightenment. Improved industry-academic linkage, especially in the developing settings, should be more encouraged too.
July 2020 – Masshuda Glencross: I would grow diversity among people in senior decision-making roles to help build a much stronger commitment to supporting the whole community rather than just a certain section of the tech community. We still have too few women in senior academic positions, too few on boards of tech firms and even fewer people of colour in these roles. Decision-makers need to mirror the rich diversity of our community. We all bring strengths, through different perspectives, and these perspectives are too often overlooked.
August 2020 – Amani Boughalmi: I would suggest that tech companies and other tech initiatives facilitate international internship opportunities. These would allow women to sharpen their skills in a real work environment, working with experienced professionals and using specialised software and hardware. Finally, many talented people in the world are born in developing countries and are sometimes under-represented. They should be reached out to contribute to world development, and so, to ensure geographic diversity and equity.
womENcourage 2020, virtually hosted by ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan
24-27 September 2020
womENcourage team is working tirelessly to bring you an exciting program. The registration opened on the 20th of July. Register to hear from an impressive line-up of keynote speakers!
The participants will be welcomed by Vafa Kazdal, Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs at ADA University; Gabriela Kotsis, ACM President, and Ruth Lennon, ACM-W Europe chair. Nuria Oliver, Chief Scientist at Data-Pop Alliance will present the Data Science to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic: the Valencia Case. Prof. Cecilia Mascolo, Cambridge University will describe the progress in Health Diagnostics through Audio Signals Collection and Analysis. Georgia Koutrika, Research Director at Athena Research Center, will discuss Democratizing Data Access through Intelligent Data Exploration Tools. Claudia Pohlink, Head of AI at T-Labs, will question Who Makes Wiser Decisions? Men, Women or Machines? Silvana Badaloni, University of Padova, will talk on Gender Fairness of Machine Learning Techniques. They will be joined by Prof Sarit Kraus, Bar-Ilan University, who is an expert on the development of intelligent agents that can interact proficiently with people and with robots. Check the details of the program here: https://womencourage.acm.org/2020/program/
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
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:
- Sihem Amer-Yahia (CNRS, University of Grenoble Alpes, France) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sihem_Amer-Yahia
- Geraldine Fitzpatrick (TU-Wien, Austria) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldine_Fitzpatrick
- 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:
- The newsletter: Interview community members, and write articles
- Social media: Help create social media campaigns; expand our reach in Linkedin.
- Website: Help maintain a dynamic website with up-to-date community news
- Blog: Write blog articles, or work with community members on blog series.
- Outreach campaigns: E.g., reach out to ACM-W chapters for regular communication series
- 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 email@example.com with a brief cover letter explaining why you would like to work with us.