ACM India Celebration of Women in Computing AICWiC 2020

 A Virtual Event – 5th September, 2020- Report

ACM India celebration of women in computing –a virtual event was organized by ACM-W India, ACM Nagpur Professional Chapter in association with ACM Nagpur Student Chapter  of Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur, Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur, Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur and Persistent Systems Ltd. on 5th September,2020 under the theme “Covid 19: Innovation in IT” . The inaugural ceremony started by Dr. Mukta Paliwal Technical Expert of Persistent Systems. Due to the current pandemic, the event was organized in virtual mode on the online platform zoom webinar.

She introduced the ACMW India, described recent events held and how the organization has played a vital role in motivating the women including professionals, researchers and students in technology. She mentioned how the tech industry has collectively demonstrated remarkable leadership in responding to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic while explaining about the theme of the event.

Main objective of AICWiC 2020 was to provide an explicit platform for women in technology to showcase their innovation and ideas and motivate others to take up the challenge and help the nation in becoming Independent technologically during these tough times.

She introduced Dr Heena Timani, ACM W India Council Chair, Data Scientist, Co-Founder, Director iAnanya Datalytix Pvt. Ltd. to deliver the welcome address and as a session chair for the keynote speech. As this event being the flagship event under ACM celebration women in computing Dr. Heena envisioned and heilighted the entire operational and key benefits of ACM-w membership and took the opportunity to brief about past events and upcoming events going to be held under the canopy of ACM India. She took initiative to provide the platform for women to showcase their talent and insisted on numerous opportunities for women scholars to grab several scholarships to the candidates under ACM-w India Chapter. She has always been a key inspiration to all young technocrats and actively involved in supporting and organizing computing events for women in India under ACM-Women Council.

Dr. Heena welcomed Prof. Reyyan Ayfer, Vice-Chair, ACM-W & Professor, Bikent University, Turkey for the keynote address. She contributed her expertise to international committees, most notably as a council member of ACM Europe and as the Founding Chair of ACM Women in Computing Europe Committee as well as leading a community of students who have formed the first international ACM-W Student Chapter. She is now serving for women in computing as the chair of Regional Activities of ACM-W. She received the Anita Borg Change Agent Award in 2008 after serving as the ACM-W Ambassador of Turkey for 8 years.

Dr. Reyyan delivered a keynote on “Changes, Challenges, Opportunities” and she began with saying that Our lives changed suddenly when the novel coronavirus spread throughout the world. We faced many challenges both in our personal and professional lives. Are there any opportunities in this especially for women in computing? She discussed some of the success tips and strategies for the budding innovators. Her address was mainly based on how COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives and meanwhile impacted the opportunities for the students.

Prof. Devishree Naidu, session chair of second keynote introduce Dr. Jaya Sreevalsan Nair from IIIT Bangalore. She leads the Graphics-Visualization-Computing Lab and is one of the core team members of the E-Health Research Centre at IIITB. Her research interests in data visualization, scientific computing, computer graphics, and computational geometry. She has projected many data modeling concepts for visualizations and identified appropriate visualizations for complex datasets in data science workflow. The most interesting research that includes semantic classification of LiDAR point clouds, spatial and statistical analysis of population surveys, automated data extraction from chart images, community detection in biological and brain networks, and virtual world reconstruction of traffic scenes from monocular images. She has been supported by grants from SERB, DST, GoK, Intel, IBM, to name a few. She is an ACM member and IEEE Senior member. Her keynote specifically brought attention to “Data Dissemination during COVID-19: The Rise of Visualizations” in which she discussed the significance of data dissemination techniques discovered during the present COVID-19 scenario and tools used by computer scientists to make a lay-man understand complex facts and figures. She elaborated about 5 V’s Velocity, Veracity, Volume, Variety and Value of data. She also made all aware about Florence Nightingale as a data science who was also a pioneer in data visualization with infographics effectively used for graphical presentations of statistical data. Dr.Jaya discussed some of the research that took place at Karnataka region for showing statistics of Covid-19 and explored about the tools with additional futuristic which opened an eye for key research in the field of data science.

A panel discussion was organized during AICWiC2020 on theme ”Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic”.A panel was moderated by Dr. Lipika Dey, Principal Scientist at the TCS Research and Innovation Labs. , faculty at the Department of Mathematics at IIT Delhi. (till 2007).The panelist were Dr. Maya Ingle, Director,DDU-Kaushal Kendra at DAVV Indore, Mrs. Rachna Patrikar,Senior Manager-Enterprise application and emerging technologies, Mahindra and Mahindra),Dr.Manik Gupta, Assistant Professor at BITS Pilani Mrs. Vandana Gupta, Director at  Multivirt India Pvt Ltd & FNN Media Pvt Ltd ,28 years of experience in IT industry.

The Panel discussion started with a poll as a quick activity. The poll was conducted to know the experiences of the participants about Innovations during Covid-19 pandemic. After the poll chairperson of the panel Dr Nita Thakare welcomed all and briefed about the objective of panel discussion. She welcomed and introduced moderator of the panel Dr Lipika Dey. Dr Lipika Dey introduced the panel members and panel discussion was divided in to three phases. In the first phase all panel members have shared their experiences about the current scenario of innovations and their thought on the opportunities for IT innovations during covid pandemic. They discussed the Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic in brief.

Moderator of panel Dr Lipika introduced panelist and coordinating with panel members. Dr Maya Ingle talked about the role of IT in education sector. She also discussed about the reasons for change in education methodologies and the opportunities for the educationalist and researchers during COVID 19 pandemic. Also she shared some examples on how practices changed from Offline classes to Online Classes. Mrs Rachana Patrikar ,discussed about current situation of Covid 19 pandemic and its effect on lifestyle of people also she talked on increase in usage of online market and online transaction. Dr Manik Gupta talked about latest technologies being used in innovations. She also discussed,how online platforms are helpful in pandemic and how blessed it is to share our knowledge with the community through virtual conference. Dr Vandana Gupta presented various products developed by her company to cater the pandemic situation.

She also discussed about innovations opportunities during Pandemic and motivated the participants to implement innovative ideas. During question – answer session, the Moderator Dr Lipika asked questions on behalf of the participants to panel members. The participants benefited by the answers of experts. The session ended with the concluding remark by Dr. Deveshree Naidu.

Poster Presentation Competition was part of Virtual Event for celebration of Women in Computing by ACM India. The competition was specially organized for UG/PG girl students of CS/CE and IT branches to boost innovative ideas. There were total three round in poser presentation competition. Education , Health care, Environment / Ecosystem / Waste  Management , Age of Sustainable Development (Sustainable Cities and Communities) themes were decided for poster presentation competition. We received maximum posters in Health Care domain. We got good response  from various reputed institutes of India, total 105 teams registered for poster presentation competition.

These groups were divided into 6 Teams of judges for evaluation and selection purpose. From this 24 teams were selected for second Skype interview round. Total 6 posters were selected for presentation in the final round during event.

Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar, Head, Department of Computer Technology, Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur hosted the finale round of poster presentation competition on 5th September 2020 .Dr. Heena Timani, Chairperson, ACM-W, India, Dr. Rituparna Chaki, Professor, A K Choudhury School of IT, University of Calcutta, Dr. Tejaswini Apte,ACM-W Pune Professional Chapter Chair and ACM-W India council member, Mr. Darshan Kansara, Senior Consultant with Anblicks, Ahmedabad, were the judges for the finale. 

During finale round, each finalists’ posters and videos explaining the detailed concept was presented to all audience. This round was followed by question/answer session to the poster presenters by judges. Out of 105 groups registered for this competition, 6 groups were shortlisted for finale round. Cash prizes were sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.1st Prize: Rs.16,000, 2nd Prize: Rs.12, 000,3rd Prize: Rs. 8,000

A result of the virtual poster presentation was declared by Dr.Heena Timani. Below is the list of poster presentation winners

RankName of StudentProject TitleInstitute Name
1Soundarya KrishnanNetwork Community Analysis based enhancement of Online Discussion forumsBITS Pilani, Goa Campus
2Sona STechnovid 2020Thiagarajar College of Engineering,Madurai
3Shradha SehgalSab Jeevika: Enabling job search for the deprived sectorInternational Institute of Information Technology. Hyderabad

In concluding remarks Dr.Heena Timnai thanked organizing team Dr. Devishree Rohit Naidu, Asst. Prof. ,Shri Ramdeobaba College of     Engineering and Management,Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar , HoD, Yeshwantrao Chavhan, College of Engineering, Nagpur,Dr. Mukta Paliwal ,Technical Expert -Data Science, Persistent Systems Nagpur,Dr. Nita Thakare, Associate Prof. and Head, DCT, Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur,Dr. Swati Hira, Asst. Prof., Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur,Mr. Vinit Kapoor ,Chief Architect, Persistent Systems Nagpur and Dr. Rutvi Shah Assistant Porf at Chimanbhai  Patel Institute  of Computer Applictions.           She also thanked the poster prizes sponsors Tata Consultancy Services and Platinum partners of ACM Google, Persistent, Icertis.Mr. Chandrashekhar Sahasrabudhe,COO, ACM India congratulated team for their successful smooth completion of virtual event using Zoom Webinar.

Dr. Mukta Paliwal thanked to  Keynote speakers, Panelists, ACM India, ACM W India  and ACM International office bearers Various sponsors, Partner Industries, Partnering institutes, Participating institutes, Committee members, Evaluators/Judges, Students who took part in poster competition, Finalists, the Organizing team & all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the organization of this event. Everyone agree with the promise of staying connected to each other through these events, as a supportive and strong women community in the field of computer science education, research, and industry.

ACM W India Grad Cohort Workshop 2020 Report- A Virtual Event

ACM-W India emphasizes on women empowerment in computer-related fields and domains. It focuses on providing a platform for sharing resources, information, ideas, and experiences with its diverse range of activities so that women can effectively tackle the challenges in their computing careers. It aims to promote computer literacy and provide strong networking opportunities, enabling women towards being independent, confident, self-reliant, and successful.

The Computing Research Association-Widening Participation (CRA-WP) is an international computing body that started conducting the Grad Cohort workshops from 2004 in the different educational institutions of the USA. Over the last 15 years, these sessions have guided many women through their academic and professional years. Drawing inspiration from it, ACM-W India decided to adopt this workshop model to the Indian setting. As a result, the first edition was organized at IIT Bombay in July 2018 and the second one was held at IIT Delhi in 2019.

ACM India Grad Cohort 2020, the third installment of this pan-India workshop series, was virtually co-organized by the CSE Discipline at IIT Gandhinagar and ACM-W from 24th – 26th July 2020. It kick started with a warm welcome address by Dr. Neeldhara Misra (faculty, IITGN and member, ACM-W), followed by the opening remarks from Dr. Heena Timani (chairperson, ACM-W India)Cofounder and Director, iAnanya Datalytix Pvt.Ltd, Dr. Nutan Limaye (faculty, IIT Bombay and vice-chairperson, ACM-W) and Dr. Meenakshi D’Souza (faculty, IIIT Bangalore). They highlighted that the long term objective is to positively shape the future of our societies by celebrating and advocating women in computing.

On Day 1, the first keynote lecture was delivered by Dr. Sunita Sarawagi (professor at IIT Bombay and the Infosys Prize 2019 winner), during which she talked about the journey of machine learning models, starting from their birth and going all the way to how they are serving the real world in the current times. Although they have an amazing number of applications, a lot more still needs to be done and this is the reason ML continues to be a fascinating area for further research in computing. The next talk was given by Dr. Manik Gupta (faculty, BITS Pilani-Hyderabad), where she provided her perspectives on how women can plan and progress in their computing careers. The key is to embrace womanhood, be focused, work hard, carve our own career paths, and define our own success. In another session, Dr. Bhavana Kanukurthi (faculty, IISc Bangalore) spoke on choosing a research advisor, topic, and group. According to her, the process should be well-planned, align with our skills, and exhibit practical relevance. Dr. Aparna Taneja (software engineer, Google research) described the practical aspects of this topic by sharing experiences and insights from her own thesis and present job responsibility.

Jaya Sreevalsan Nair (faculty, IIIT Bangalore) gave examples of some eminent minds in various fields and discussed the latest topics of online presence and personal branding. She stated that the trick is to maintain a proper combination of one’s online and offline persona. This was followed by a captivating panel discussion that shed light on some aspects of remote working and maintaining a proper work-life balance. The panelists of this session were Dr. Tulika Mitra (Provost’s Chair Professor of Computer Science, National University of Singapore), Dr. Joycee Mekie (faculty, IITGN), Dr. Hemangee Kapoor (faculty, IIT Guwahati), Dr. Rekha Singhal (senior research scientist, TCS) and Dr. Akanksha Agrawal (postdoctoral researcher, Ben-Gurion University, Israel).

Talking about their personal and professional experiences, they motivated the participants and advised them on how to carve their own niche in computer science.

Day 2 opened with the second keynote lecture of this event that was delivered by Dr. Meena Mahajan (professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences). An eminent contributor in Discrete Algorithms, Complexity Theory, Matching Theory, Combinatorics, and Proof Complexity, she recounted some interesting experiences from her life and expressed that she grew increasingly fond of theoretical computing with time and proceeded to pursue her Ph.D. in this domain. She described some fascinating facets of this field. In her words, every unknown in complexity theory is like a creative puzzle yet to be solved and there is a place for everyone to work in this exciting area of education and research. The next session was given by Dr. Prajakta Nimbhorkar (faculty, Chennai Mathematical Institute), where she discussed the background preparation (breadth and depth) for Ph.D.

Dr. Ranjita Bhagwan (senior principal researcher, Microsoft) talked about confidence and encouragement by narrating some instances from her life and emphasized that failures are our path to success since they teach us how to firmly believe in ourselves and live positively. Akanksha Agrawal gave a session on quantity versus quality in publishing from the viewpoint of research in theoretical computing, and Tulika Mitra highlighted this topic with respect to the early career researcher level, giving examples from systems research. A thought-provoking panel discussion moderated by Dr. Lipika Dey (principal scientist, TCS) included Meena Mahajan, Dr. Uttama Lahiri (faculty, IITGN), and Dr. Arpita Korwar (faculty, IIT Goa) as panelists. They shared their life-journeys and provided quality guidance to the participants on how to cope up positively and effectively with uncertainty and other related challenges. After this, all the participants enjoyed the online screening of an inspirational documentary movie that is based on the life works of Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman and the first Iranian to win the greatest prize in mathematics, the Fields Medal.

The third and final day of this workshop was initiated with an interactive session by Dr. Sushmita Gupta (faculty, National Institute of Science Education and Research). She discussed whether going for a post-doctorate is really a hit or a miss based on her experiences in theoretical computing. Next in line was a process-oriented talk given by Arpita Korwar, during which she explained the process of managing a job hunt and stated that it is all about constantly and actively being in the game. Richa Singh (faculty, IIT Jodhpur) and Anasua Bhowmik (Fellow Design Engineer, AMD Bangalore) provided valuable guidance on post-Ph.D. career options in the industry and academia respectively.

The ACM India Grad Cohort 2020 offered a perfect place for women in computing to connect with one another via several virtual platforms such as zoom, gather.town, WhatsApp, and social media.

Moreover, it also housed three major contests for women participants, with a chance to win exciting prizes. The last date for entry-submissions was 31st July 2020 and the goodies were sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services. The results were announced on 10th August 2020 over email, on the event website, and on different social media platforms.

With an attendance of more than 195 registered participants (students, researchers, and leading experts from industry and academia), the workshop was a huge success and concluded on an optimistic note. It proved to be an excellent platform for women in computing and its allied areas to build discussion forums with some of the most eminent minds in this field. Several participants voiced their views on how enriching it was to meet their women role-models. We received very good response of the participants on virtual format of Grad Cohort workshop. Opinion was taken using menti.com.

The next edition of this Grad Cohort will be conducted at IIT Jodhpur, with Dr. Richa Singh being its organizer. Dr. Heena Timani also shared the list of some upcoming interesting ACM India events. In their concluding remarks, Dr. Neeldhara Misra, Dr. Nutan Limaye, and Dr. Meenakshi D’Souza thanked IIT Gandhinagar, ACM-W, Google, TCS, the team of volunteers and all the Participants for massively supporting this event and making it a smashing success. Everyone bid adieu with the promise of staying connected to each other through these events, as a supportive and strong women community in the field of computer science education, research, and industry.


ACM-W India Regional Celebrations Report

The Regional Celebrations 2020 of the Association for Computing Machinery – Women’s Council (ACM-W India) was held at Padre Conceicao College of Engineering, Verna, on 13th March 2020. The Annual mega-event was jointly organised by ACM, ACM-W, Padre Conceicao College of Engineering (PCCE), Indian Institute of Technology-Goa (IIT-Goa) and Goa University.

Ms. Revati Majumdhar, the Executive Director of Goa Electronics Limited, was the ChiefGuest for the Inaugural function. Rev. Fr. Anthony Castelo, Director of Agnel Technical Education Complex welcomed the delegates to the Campus. Ms. Maria D’Souza Chaudhary, Treasurer of ACM India, spoke about the purpose and initiatives of ACM. Also present on the dais were Dr. Mahesh Parappagoudar, Principal of PCCE, Dr. Sudhakshina Dutta, representing IIT-Goa, Assoc. Prof. Ramrao Wagh, representing Goa University and Ms. Razia de Loyola Furtado e Sardinha, Convenor of the event. Program Chairs Mr. Siddesh Sawant spoke aboutthe day’s eventsand Ms. Cassandra Fernandes proposed the vote ofthanks.

Chief Guest Ms. Revati Majumdhar, with other dignitaries and organizing team members, after the Inaugural Ceremony.
Keynote Address by Mr. Riyaz Walikar

The theme chosen for the celebration was “Security Technology”. Mr. Riyaz Waliker, Head of Security Research Team at Appsecco, Bengaluru, was the Keynote Speaker. Also hosted were the ACM-India National-level Prototype Presentation Competition and ACM-India National-level Poster Presentation Competition. Over 30 teams from colleges across India submitted their proposals on “Technology for Women Safety”. The Prototype Presentations were judged by Mr. Ryan Pinto, Director of Innovantix Systems Private Limited, Goa, Ms. Akshata Raikar, Team Lead at PSL Goa and Mr. Riyaz Walikar. The Poster Presentationswere judged by Mr. Madhav Rangannekar, COO of S J Innovations and Ms. Maria D’Souza Chaudhary of Oracle Systems.

Prototype Presentation Competition in progress

The highlight of the event was an entertaining and insightful panel discussion by eminent women technocrats Dr. Veena Thenkanidiyoor, Dean at NIT-Goa, Prof. Anusha Pai, Head of Computer Engineering, PCCE, Dr. Kavita Asnani, Asst. Professor at GEC, Ms. Maria Chaudhary, MTS at Oracle Systems, Dr. Sudakshina Dutta and Dr. Poonulakshmi V. K.,Asst. Professors at IIT-Goa, Ms. Lourdes Soares, Founder of SabrCare, Goa and Ms. Nadisha Kamat, Product Owner at Odessa-Bengaluru. The animated panel discussion on the topic“Does Gender Impact Technology” was moderated by Ms. Razia de Loyola Furtado e Sardinha, Asst. Professor, PCCE.

Beaming Competition Winners
Panel Discussion in Progress
Distinguished Panelists with organizing team members

ACM-W India Workshop on “Women in Computer Science and Research” Report

Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W) celebrates and advocates the involvement of girls and women in all aspects of computing education and research. It works to raise awareness about the opportunities available for females in the growing field of computer science through a diverse range of programs and services. Expanding globally, ACM-W has reached India, where it seeks to further novel ways for the next generation of females to face today’s problems and challenges.

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Some participants of the ACM-W workshop 2020 with Dr. Cherri Pancake (President, ACM) in the middle (first row)
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Dr. Heena Timani (Chairperson, ACM-W India)

An ACM-W workshop on the theme “women in computer science and research” was organized on 14th February,2020 during the ACM Annual Event 2020 by the CSE Discipline at IIT Gandhinagar. The event kick-started with a welcome address by Dr. Heena Timani (Chairperson, ACM-W India), during which she highlighted the critical functions of ACM-W. She also explained several programs of this Council in detail, such as the India chapters, Hackathon, the Summer and Winter Schools for girls, Grad Cohort, and scholarships, in the long list of many others.

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Dr. Cherri M Pancake (Professor Emeritus-Oregon State University, Director-NASCE, President-ACM)

The first keynote talk was by Dr. Cherri M Pancake (President, ACM), during which she described how ACM-W encourages females to revolutionize the field of CSE research. Sharing her life story, she said that ACM-W is all about being proactive, progressive, patient, strategic, flexible, ready to push oneself to perform the best, able to face challenges head-on, and active change agents, and helps women explore the latest developments in computing. 

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Dr. Arati M. Dixit (Senior Scientist, ARA; Research Associate Professor, NC State University, Raleigh, USA)

Next in line was the engaging session by Dr. Arati M. Dixit (Senior Scientist, ARA; Research Associate Professor, NC State University, Raleigh, USA), which shed light on the growing ACM-W leadership team. Now encompassing several regional groups viz., ACM-W North America, ACM-W Europe, and ACM-W South-Pacific Regions, it is in the process of expanding to Africa as well. Dr. Dixit proceeded to explain more about the various scholarships available for girls and women. She also discussed the future possibilities of efficient connections among different student chapters in a particular region.

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Dr. Lipika Dey (Principal Scientist, TCS Innovation Lab)

The invited talk by Dr. Lipika Dey (Principal Scientist, TCS Innovation Lab) on Data Analytics, started with the changing buzz words synonymous with this field. Later followed the discussions on the main challenges of this domain, viz., consistency, explainability, security, reproducibility, and integrity. The session concluded with the message that proper utilization of data analytics can help convert data to information to knowledge. Dr. Dey also advised the females to give their best, utilize all possible opportunities to lead from the front, and adopt a positive outlook on all situations.

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(L to R) Dr. Chitra Babu (Professor and HOD, SSN College of Engineering), Dr. Meenakshi D’Souza (Associate Professor, IIIT Bangalore), Dr. Arati M. Dixit and Dr. Nutan Limaye (Associate Professor, IIT Bombay)

One of the most thought-provoking sessions of this workshop was a panel discussion consisting of Dr. Meenakshi D’Souza (Associate Professor, IIIT Bangalore), Dr. Chitra Babu (Professor and HOD, SSN College of Engineering), and Dr. Arati M. Dixit, Dr. Nutan Limaye (Associate Professor, IIT Bombay). They all shared stories of their journeys in computing and the challenges they faced as women (personally and professionally). Talking about the issue of gender ratio in the educational institutes of the country, the panelists advised the female participants on how to carve a niche for themselves and become leaders in computer science.

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Dr. Kalika Bali (Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Lab, India)

Dr. Kalika Bali (Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research Lab, India) delivered an enlightening talk on computing technologies that could help in promoting the low resource languages of the country and the globe. She explained the importance of data, techniques, and applications in extending these languages and, hence, enabling efficient networking among communities. Another interesting session by Dr. Joycee Mekie (Assistant Professor, IIT Gandhinagar) provided insights into the world of approximations in computing: what should and shouldn’t undergo approximation in an application, and how so – what sort of algorithms should go into it? How to tune it (accuracy) and where to apply it?

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Dr. Joycee Mekie (Assistant Professor, IIT Gandhinagar)

The event came to an end with a valedictory function and a networking session. With an attendance of more than 100 participants – students, researchers, and leading experts, this workshop was a huge success. It proved an excellent platform for women in computer science and allied areas to build discussion forums with some of the most eminent minds in the field of computing education and research. Workshop was successfully completed under great enthusiasm and the encouraging support of  Dr. Neeldhara Misra (Assistant Professor IITGN ,  Dr. Rutvi Shah (Assistant Professor CPICA) and Ms. Apeksha Srivastava (Senior Project Associate, IITGN)