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Women, computing and womenCL


What are the facts? 5% of young women are considering an IT career ... CC4G is all about making technology fun. We leave all the boring stuff to the boys. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Women, computing and womenCL

Women, computing and women_at_CL
  • Mateja Jamnik
  • Computer Laboratory
  • University of Cambridge
  • Co-director of the women_at_CL project
  • Thanks to EPSRC, Univ. of Cambridge Computer
    Laboratory, Microsoft Research, Intel Cambridge
    Research, CMI, OII, Newnham College Cambridge

What are the facts?
  • 5 of young women are considering an IT career
  • 22 of the UKs 1 million IT workforce are women
  • Half of UK and Oxbridge undergraduates are women
  • 1 in 3 academic women but 1 in 5 academic men
    aspire to leadership positions

Facts Computer Science
  • Source HESA data 2001-2002
  • Cambridge last 3 years 14, up from 10 10 years
    ago (10 for home u/gs, 50 for overseas)

Facts Maths
  • Source HESA data 2003-2004
  • National 38.71 female

Why so bad in UK?
  • Poor image of computing
  • Schools accessible and gender neutral, but often
    boring and equated with office skills
  • Work negative images such as nerdy, aggressive,
  • Failure to communicate
  • What computer science is and why it is important
  • Computing can be exciting, rewarding,
    challenging can lead to social careers
    accommodates career breaks, flexible working
  • The variety of clearly differentiated computing
  • Failure to retain
  • students and staff due to unconscious bias, lack
    of positive and supportive culture

Does it matter?
  • To individuals
  • Loss of opportunity
  • To employers
  • Loss of talent
  • Despite tech slump/outsourcing, increase in
    demand for staff
  • To Universities
  • Major US corporation 2005 If we recruit to CS
    posts only from CS graduates we cant meet our
    diversity targets
  • Access, Equal Opportunities, RAE....
  • UK legal position
  • Positive discrimination is illegal
  • Positive action is legal and encouraged
  • Increasing provision for flexible working,
    parental leave etc
  • Codes of practice, union agreements ...

What can be done? Good practice!
  • Carnegie Mellon Project women up from 10 to 47
    over 5 years
  • Long-term outreach to schools and teachers on APT
  • New entry criteria seek Technology leaders of
    the future
  • Remove inadvertent barriers eg overvaluing
    systems skills
  • Parallel tracks through 1st year to aid
    confidence building
  • UC Berkeley project
  • Change climate through supportive atmosphere for
  • Fostering community, alumni relations and PhD
  • Women students best ambassadors in recruitment
  • LinuxChix and Debian Women
  • For women in open source community - combat
    aggressive stance
  • All people will be comfortable and feel able to
    ask questions or comment at any time. People will
    feel that the channel is a sociable and friendly

What else can be done?
  • DTI study women leave IT at 2 stages, after
    children and mid-career, hence
  • advocate flexible working, change in culture
  • whats good for women is good for everybody
  • SIGIS EU project recommends for UK
  • mentoring, support, opportunities for networking
  • women be supported and valued, but no special
  • positive action programmes can cause hostility
  • women often like applications and
    interdisciplinary work
  • changing image to attract different kind of
  • one size does not fit all

  • 2003 women_at_CL launched at Cambridge Uni. Computer
    Laboratory with support from Microsoft Research
    and Intel
  • 2004 national women_at_CL network,
  • funded by EPSRC co-directors
  • Prof. Ursula Martin and
  • Dr Mateja Jamnik
  • www.cl.cam.ac.uk/women
  • Cambridge ideal place with long history 1949
    Beatrice Worsley first woman PhD for
    computational work

women_at_CL Beatrice Worsley

  • women_at_CL provides local, national and
    international activities for women engaged in
    computing research and academic leadership
  • Goal support women and increase recruitment and
    retention, sustainable across a complex
  • Funding bodies, sponsors and supporters with
    thanks to
  • EPSRC, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Intel
    Cambridge Research, University of Cambridge
    Computer Laboratory, Newnham College Cambridge,
    Cambridge-MIT Institute, Oxford Internet
    Institute, British Computer Society
  • Prominent support of Univ. of Cambridges world
    leading department vital to send signal of


women_at_CL Cambridge
  • Consultation with women staff and students
  • isolated, valued support but not to be seen as
  • Review undergraduate recruitment
  • course already stresses interdisciplinarity,
    applications and entrepreneurship, but is very
    poorly presented and marketed, with confusion
    over entry requirements
  • Formal connection with existing bodies with
    similar goals
  • Equality and Diversity Unit recruitment
    officers, Springboard
  • Raised awareness of legislation and good practice
  • Set up web pages, FAQs, mailing lists, data
  • women_at_CL lunches provide women role models

women_at_CL Cambridge - Lunches
  • Provide early-career women role models in
    academic research, industry or start-ups
  • Speakers from Univ. of Cambridge, Intel, MSR,
    Google, IBM, biotech entrepreneurs, Goldman
    Sachs, Oman, Canada, USA,…
  • Women in Gaming event
  • explore issues surrounding women in games
    industry, as both producers and consumers of
    games and game-related media
  • play videogames on variety of consoles
  • Careers workshops
  • applying for jobs in academia and industry
  • Free lunch, chocolate cake, open to all, high
    attendance, 50-50 women-men

women_at_CL - UK
  • Career development workshops at major
  • IJCAI 2005, W3C 2006, HCI 2006
  • Regional Hoppers meetings for women in computing
  • London, Manchester, Scotland
  • Senior Womens Leadership Summit in 2005 and
  • Newnham College Cambridge
  • Childcare Initiative
  • Evaluation, media training, ensuring visibility
    of women
  • Visions of the future initiative with BCS, OII

women_at_CL UK - Career Workshops
  • Mission Statement To be of relevance to women in
    computing research, providing a forum for the
    interchange of ideas for successful academic
    careers, to address the particular needs of
    professional women and to provide an opportunity
    for peer networking.
  • Talks by women at various stages in their career
  • how to apply for grants
  • how to apply for fellowships
  • work-life balance
  • funding opportunities
  • mentoring and email lists support
  • their work and how they got there
  • the opportunities encountered
  • how to choose an independent research area and
    build a team
  • how to apply for a PhD
  • how to apply for an industrial job
  • Discussion periods
  • Networking opportunities

women_at_CL UK Hoppers Workshops
  • Regional meetings for women in computing research
    from Masters level up.
  • Technical talks
  • Career planning
  • What makes a good research leader?
  • It can be hard, but worth it to make a difference
  • Identify some challenges for computing research
    in 2015?
  • Sustainability, ageing population, maintaining
  • What would help you to become a research leader?
  • Mentoring, support, opportunities like this.
  • Networking (and lunch).

women_at_CL UK Childcare Scheme
  • Many academics are prevented from attending
    conferences due to extra costs for childcare.
  • women_at_CL supplementary grant of 150 towards
    extra childcare costs while at CS related
  • Open to everyone, staff or student, female or
    male at UK University doing computer science

Lessons Learnt
  • What is making this initiative a success?
  • Support from the top in Cambridge Univ. and
  • Dedicated senior staff time and admin support
  • Enthusiastic staff and student team
  • Whats good for women is good for everyone
  • What do we need next?
  • Major campaign to change the image of computer
  • Improve presentation and understanding in schools
  • Grand challenges exercise to create visions of
    future research
  • Find exciting worthwhile ways to develop
    leadership skills
  • BCS to take the lead and coordinate all this

Other Initiatives Awards
  • Athena award for IT in support of women in
  • BCS awards for companies working for women in IT
  • Astar awards best girl in ICT A level and GCSE
  • BCS Roger Needham award
  • BCS CPHC Distinguished Dissertation award
  • BCS Young IT practitioner award

Other Initiatives CC4G
  • Around 100 clubs for 10-14 year old girls,
    rolling out nationally, linked to national
  • CC4G is all about making technology fun.
  • We leave all the boring stuff to the boys.
  • www.cc4g.net
  • Link CC4G schools near Cambridge with women_at_CL
  • EPSRC PPA Sodarace for schools, pilot with CC4G
  • www.sodarace.net

Other Initiatives BCS
  • Establish Forum
  • to coordinate women/diversity initiatives
  • to think about image of the profession
  • teaching of computing in schools
  • New future initiative in collaboration with BCS
    and OII, to ensure the sustainability and
    continuity of women_at_CL.

Thank you!
  • www.cl.cam.ac.uk/women

My Experience
  • UWC Italy Math and Computer Studies, Canada
    Master Cambridge PhD in Artificial Intelligence
  • EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, Cambridge Uni
  • Lectureship (Associate Prof), Cambridge Uni
  • Research formalizing on machines informal
    human problem solving techniques (eg, using
  • Work/Life married, 2 children, working part-time

Computer Science
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