UNICC Participates in ‘Gendering ICT’ Workshop at WomENcourage 2019

8 October, 2019

Photo: ITU/Farrell

Prado Nieto and Anna Ciampi join the discussion on how to close the gender gap in computer science

Computer science is one of the fields with a significant gender gap: in the US and Europe, only 1 of 5 people earning a bachelor-level Computer Science degree is a woman. As part of UNICC’s commitment to bringing more women into ICT, Prado Nieto and Anna Ciampi participated in the workshop “Gendering ICT”, at the WomENcourage 2019 conference, held in Rome, Italy, from the 16 to 18 September.

WomENcourage brings together women in the computing profession and related technical fields to exchange knowledge and experience, with a special focus on supporting women who are starting their careers.

Prado Nieto, Chief, Business Relationship Management and Anna Ciampi, Information Systems Officer, engaged in the workshop ‘Gendering ICT’ that tackled the under-representation of women in computing. They analyzed the role of stereotypes and their impact in the existing gender gap, and discussed approaches to stimulate the participation of women in ICT education and research.

Prado Nieto (right) presenting at WomENcourage 2019. Photo: UNICC/Reques

The participants emphasized the need of including the gender dimension in the contents of computer science and engineering. How can we formulate new scientific questions taking gender into account? Is data collected, processed and organized in a gender-neutral way? Are Artificial Intelligence and Robotics algorithms and tools incorporating the gender bias present in the society?

The all-women panel included Lorenza Perini and Silvana Badaloni, from the University of Padova, Francesca Alessandra Lisi, from the University of Bary and Gunay Kazimzade, from the Technical University of Berlin.

Intended goals and outcomes:

  • Analyzing the most common stereotypes and gender-clichéd images about women in ICT causing the existing gender gap
  • Comparing the different approaches to promote the presence of women, and particularly of young women, in ICT education and research and stimulating an effective networking among projects
  • Exploring new communication languages for the debate around the gender bias in CS/CE, and the subsequent ethical issues it poses
  • Developing gendered innovation in CS/CE, with new general questions to take into account a gender point of view
  • Facing the problem of designing algorithmic methodologies that do not subsume social bias about sex, gender and race.

This year, WomENcourage focused on applications of Computer Science that impact the grand challenges of our day, such as education, health, inclusive societies, civic engagement, climate change and humanitarian action. The event featured poster sessions, technical talks, panel discussions, interdisciplinary research tracks activities, tutorials and a hackathon, as well as workshops (more details at the Association for Computer Machinery website).