The 4th Summit on Gender Equality in Computing (GEC’22)
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!