News from the ACM-W Scholarships Committee

The pandemic has caused many small and not so small changes in everyone’s life. We know that women are being disproportionately affected by it. From Nature (Women are most affected by pandemics — lessons from past outbreaks https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02006-z) to the BBC (Why this recession disproportionately affects women https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201021-why-this-recession-disproportionately-affects-women) and the New York Times (Pandemic Will ‘Take Our Women 10 Years Back’ in the Workplace https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/world/covid-women-childcare-equality.html) it is clear to scientists and social media commentators alike that women are not faring well in this “shecession”, as some are calling this mostly female recession.

Particularly in Academia things are not going very well for women.

As Nature again reported in  April 2020 (The pandemic and the female academic https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01135-9) someone researcher tweeted “The next person who tweets about how productive Isaac Newton was while working from home gets my three-year-old posted to them!”. But trying to laugh about it has its limitations.

We would like to point out to our readers that most of the important conferences in Computing are going ahead online and that many charge fees. Some of  these fees have been reduced for online meetings, but they are not negligible. We had hoped that reduced fees would allow us in the Scholarship Committee to spread further our funds and pay for many more students to attend conferences. But given the situations described above, the women are not applying for these funds. Thus this is a heads-up and a reminder: Please apply to go to conferences! 

You do not have to have a paper to present at the conference you want to attend. Attending high-quality conferences online might not be as great as visiting the places and talking face-to-face with the important researchers in the field, but it’s actually still extremely helpful, both in terms of knowing where the field is going and of making yourself known to the research comunity you’d like to be part of. Try your best to submit papers too, because writing is like exercising: the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Lastly and most importantly, please don’t post the 3-year old!

The ACM-W 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 six times each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences. The ACM Scholarships are made possible nowadays by the generous support of Google and Oracle. The program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker and has been run without any funding interruptions since then.

The next application deadline is February 15 for conferences taking place April 1 – May 31, 2021.   For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, bono@di.unito.it

Hoping that you’re all safe and sound in these complicated times of covid-19 and wishing us all a happier New Year!