Alyanna with Internet for All poster

BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium 2024

About the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium

This year two Edinburgh Napier students got their poster accepted to speak at the Lovelace Colloquium. This conference was created in 2008 and is specifically for women and gender minorities in computing and related degree courses. Every year a university in the UK hosts this one-day event full of incredible people in tech. The day consists of speakers, poster-presenting sessions and a social afterwards. The idea is to create a place for women and gender minorities in computing to come together, not with gender as the focus, but to present and discuss computing in an open space. We all know the issue of the gender gap in computing (around 20% of students in tech are women). We face imposter syndrome, misogyny, and a multitude of things to battle to be able to thrive in our careers. This conference also strives to allow speakers to attend without barriers, so travel and hotels, if needed, are paid for by the conference or by the university. This year there were over 250 women and other gender minorities there. Clara and Alyanna describe their conference below.

Lovelace Participant Experience: Clara O’Callaghan

I went to the conference after having my poster about digital forensics in private browsing accepted. It was my first academic poster and I was quite nervous to meet everyone and scared that I wouldn’t be able to answer the questions people asked. However, when I got there, the atmosphere was so lovely and I felt comfortable around all these amazing people. The posters I got to see were absolutely incredible and I kept getting into long discussions on a poster and talking for half the time slot. I probably only saw about a quarter of the posters in depth. I was on crutches during the event and the organising team were lovely and kept checking in that I was doing okay. The speakers were really interesting and I learned about robotics and AI bias as well as what Ocado does and how they operate their warehouses. Very futuristic! While it was predominantly women, there were a fair few non-binary people and as a non-binary person I never felt uneasy about it. Overall, I had the most amazing time and will definitely be going back next year – especially as it’s just in Glasgow!

Lovelace Participant Experience: Alyanna Posadas

For my poster, I decided to focus on optimising web accessibility in real-time using generative AI. This was my first time presenting a research poster at an event like this, and I absolutely loved it! I came away from the event learning a lot of interesting things from both speakers and students, connecting with my top choice employer, and making new friends in industry. The best part of the day was listening to the research done by other participants. The subject matter varied wildly, and a lot of it concerned things I was completely unfamiliar with. It made me realise how much of a bubble I was in when it came to computer science! Overall, I loved taking part in the event and am grateful to be a part of it.

Why should you apply?

I strongly recommend to any women or gender minorities in university to take advantage of this opportunity as well! The colloquium increased my confidence in myself and my own skills, and got me more excited about the future of computing as a whole. It exposed me to many different research areas and the great innovations happening within them. I talked to a lot of amazing people and was able to build real connections that day.

The events of the day were incredibly valuable as well. There were employers from big and small companies, companies that assist with job applications, and universities promoting their postgraduate programmes. The speakers discussed various subjects, but I found it all very valuable. The topics ranged from current trends facing the industry, working at a specific company, or advice about how to land your dream job. There was also a panel where we got to ask questions. And it was great to hear career advice from people who could speak on their experiences being a woman or gender minority, or the struggles of breaking into tech.

It was also the first time I got to research a subject matter I had a lot of passion and interest for in such great detail. It gave me an excuse to reach out to professors and professionals online to ask about generative AI, data processing, web accessibility so I could learn more. This helped me build connections and made me feel less intimidated by my field. Many university students, especially Masters or Honours Project students, are already completing an in-depth research dissertation. It’d be very easy to apply your own project to this conference and take advantage of the networking opportunities present (e.g., employers) and connect with other women and gender minorities in the field! I’ll definitely be taking part in it next year, especially as it’s in Glasgow nearby!

More pictures and reports from the Colloquium

Supporting International Women's Day

International Women’s Day Celebration

For this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), Napier STEM asked their members to share what makes them proud to be a gender minority within STEM.

Over the lead up to IWD on 8th March, we will be sharing their answers with you on our LinkedIn and Instagram pages.

What is International Women’s Day about?

Since March 1911, the day has celebrated women; raised awareness about discrimination and harassment; and promoted equality for all genders. The day is a powerful, annual reminder of the progress that has been made, but also of what still needs to change.

There has been progress since the first IWD, but there is still a long way to go – both until the numbers show equality, but more importantly women and gender minorities feel they are treated equally. Recent research by Equate Scotland found that almost a third of women and gender minorities, within STEM, have had an experience which makes them feel excluded in the workplace. Over two thirds reported that they have experienced some form of harassment or discrimination.

There is still a pay gap; there is an imbalance in the same numbers of women present in many fields of work; women tend to have more caring responsibilities and less access to health and education; plus continued vulnerability to male violence.

The theme of IWD 2024 is Inspire Inclusion, as “when we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world.” This theme highlights the vital role that inclusion plays in order to achieve gender equality and encourages the recognition of the unique perspectives and contributions of women, from all different backgrounds, including those from minority communities. The theme also emphasises the importance of diversity and empowerment across society as a whole.

Find out more about Napier STEM

Members of Napier STEM

Members of Napier STEM

Napier STEM are an Edinburgh Napier society who promote and celebrate those in STEM who are women or part of a gender minority.

The society aims to:

  • Promote equality in the sector;
  • Encourage others to do the same;
  • Educate people as to why it is vital to humanity as a whole;
  • Influence the field for a better future.

To find out more and to join, please visit on LinkedIn, Instagram, Discord or the society page.

Equate Scotland

The society works in partnership with Equate Scotland, who aim to make a positive difference for women in STEM – whether they are new to the field, studying or supporting others to remain in the industry.

Equate delivers events, training and support to women at each stage of their STEM career in order to develop their skills and confidence.  They also work closely with employers to help create inclusive workplaces and address the gender imbalance.

Cat Wright, Napier STEM student champion

Know Your Worth, Equate Student Conference, 21 February, 10am -4pm, Heriot-Watt University

Know Your Worth: We’re done waiting to equate

A call to action for STEM students to redefine diversity in tech careers

If you’re reading this post, it’s not by chance. There’s a desire for something new on your inside, a voice urging you to break norms, a little fire yearning for fuel, perhaps a dream of a tech career, held back by fear of unattainability. Even upon entry, there’s the concern of being undervalued and not considered worthy of senior roles. Guess what? You’re not alone.

The current situation

Despite the progress made in recent years, women and non-binary individuals are still a minority in most STEM fields. This underrepresentation not only limits diversity of thought and innovation but also perpetuates stereotypes about who belongs in these domains.

Why the hold up?

It is crucial to understand the challenges faced in breaking barriers to creating a more inclusive future. From societal expectations to subtle biases, the external forces, in combination with the internal hinderances (imposter syndrome, lack of confidence, fear of not being enough, etc), slow down the progress. By addressing these challenges, we can break the norm and redefine diversity in tech careers.

Empowerment through supportive communities

Building communities that celebrate diversity and inclusion, such as EQUATE SCOTLAND and Napier STEM, is essential. Encouraging networking opportunities, hosting events that highlight the achievements of women and non-binary individuals in STEM, and fostering a change within and around academic and professional circles can break down barriers and inspire collective action.

Know your worth: Equate Student Conference 2024

You must have encountered the familiar mantra from motivational speakers “It starts with you”. However, the veracity of this statement is undeniable. The truth is, your decision to contribute to global change, challenge norms and assert your creativity is the true starting point for making an impact.

QR code to register for Equate Student Conference

Register for conference

The theme of Equate’s 2024 Student conference is “Know Your Worth”. This theme has been chosen by our Equate Student Network. By bringing together students, organisations, and professionals, we hope to inspire the next generation of STEM workers to recognise and celebrate the value they bring to the STEM ecosystem. The conference will consist of a number of workshops and panel sessions on female leadership, women in construction, and knowing your rights for diversity in the work place. This is a great opportunity for transformation and self-empowerment, open to STEM students of all genders studying at Scottish Universities.

Register for free to be a part of this collective action.

It will be held on the 21st of February at Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh, from 10am until 4pm.

Deborah AbassahNAPIER STEM Student ChampionNapier STEM society logo

Info and planning meeting

If you’re a student in Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment, you’re invited to an info and planning meeting online on Wednesday 31st January, 2-2:30 pm. Contact Ella Taylor-Smith for an invite to the meeting.

Phallideth in front of the WES banner at the conference

Women’s Engineering Society Student Conference 2023

Phallideth Phen attended the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) Student Conference in Leeds on December 1, 2023:

As a first-time attendee, I was genuinely impressed by the overall organization and the invaluable insights gained throughout the event.

The conference’s agenda, featuring a diverse range of workshops, team-building activities, speaker events, Q&A sessions, and catering, provided a comprehensive look into the world of Women in STEM. The WES created a comfortable space for women professionals and students alike, fostering an environment conducive to learning and networking.

One of the highlights for me was attending two insightful workshops, namely “Continuous Professional Development” and “Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses in Presentation.” These sessions not only helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses but also guided how to develop and leverage them for personal and professional growth.

Participating in the team-building activity “Build the Bridge” was a fun and educational experience. This challenge required strategic planning, resource management, and effective collaboration with team members. The key takeaways included improved problem-solving skills, active listening, creative thinking, and a deeper understanding of cooperation and teamwork dynamics.

The speaker events were equally captivating, with presentations on “How to Get a Graduate Job in 6 Months” and “How to Build Confidence and Stop Apologizing.” The speakers’ engaging and humorous approach left me motivated and energized, offering valuable insights on job preparation and future planning.

Women attending the conference listening to a speaker
Women at the conference

Networking at the conference allowed me to connect with inspiring women from various STEM fields, facilitating the exchange of ideas on study subjects and future career plans. This networking experience has been powerful in motivating me to be more active and productive in my pursuits.

Additionally, the conference provided an opportunity to explore the city of Leeds, offering a glimpse into another part of the UK. However, my journey back to Edinburgh turned an otherwise fantastic day into a rather challenging experience, as train disruption meant I didn’t arrive home till 3:30 AM.

Attending the WES Student Conference was an incredible opportunity, fully funded by SCEBE, and I recommend that other students look out for similar opportunities. Such as the:

Contact Ella Taylor-Smith re funding etc.

Napier STEM Society

Napier STEM is our society for women and gender minorities in SCEBE. To get involved in a wide range of events, follow our socials and/or join our network:

Ada Scotland Festival 2023

Ada Scotland Festival 2023: ENU events

Four events from SCEBE and Equate Scotland:

ENUSEC presents: Capture the Flag Competition


Test your cyberskills in ENUSEC’s annual Ada Scotland CTF. The competition is open to school students (S3-S6), college and uni students and runs throughout the Festival (2-13th October, 2023).

Equate Scotland presents: Journeys into Data Science

Equate Scotland Journeys into Data Science

Equate Scotland Journeys into Data Science

Thursday 5th October 2023, 12:30 to 13:30.

Join Equate Scotland online to explore opportunities for women and non-binary to come into a career in data science later in life.

Edinburgh Napier University presents: S2 Girls into STEM

4th year Civil Engineering Student

4th year Civil Engineering Student

Merchiston Campus,
Tuesday 10th October 2023, 11:00 to 15:00.
On Ada Lovelace Day, we’re welcoming S2 girls and non-binary students into our the School of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment (SCEBE) at Merchiston, for STEM inspiration, challenges and fun.
To register a group please email

Napier STEM presents: Women and gender minorities in STEM careers event

Napier STEM Ada Scotland Careers Event

Napier STEM Ada Scotland Careers Event

G04, Merchiston Campus, Wednesday 11th October 2023, 14:00 to 16:00.
Career-themed get together at Merchiston.
Women and gender minority students in Computing and Engineering (especially SCEBE students) are invited to come and listen to short career talks from professionals, ask questions, and meet other people, especially our Napier STEM society, and eat ice cream.

Lots more Ada Scotland Festival events

Lots more events on the Ada.Scot website and more being added daily.

If you want to chat about any of these events or get involved, please contact Ella Taylor-Smith.

Napier STEM Society

Napier STEM Society – a society for women and gender minorities in STEM

Have you ever felt like the odd one out in lectures? Want to meet others who share this experience? With women making up 26% of STEM (Science, Technology, Maths and Engineering) university graduates, it is quite likely you are not alone.

Napier STEM is a brand new society at Napier which aims to overcome this by supporting and encouraging women and other gender minorities in STEM throughout their university experience. Hopefully, by reading about our society and what we have been doing will encourage you to become a member and join in with our next event.

Follow this ENSA link to become a member.

Idea for the society

Our society was created, while a group of us were discussing opportunities to strengthen the community of women and other gender minorities in STEM at Napier with the amazing support of Equate Scotland and SCEBE (The school of computing, engineering and built engineering).

Societies for women in STEM are common at other universities, but Napier was lacking one. We decided this was a great opportunity to put one in place, and we have found it very important to remain inclusive for other gender minorities who may also feel isolated in STEM.

As a society, we aim to provide support when students may be struggling and encourage STEM students to continue their studies. There are often gaps with support due to the discomfort and isolation often felt by these students. We strive to build a network for gender minorities in STEM with other students, and also beyond university with opportunities to be introduced to people in industry too.

Napier STEM society logo

What we have done so far

Our society has been holding weekly study sessions throughout the year at Merchiston Campus, with information about them being shared on our Instagram and discord. This has been a great chance for people to come along, meet others in the society and get a change of scenery for their studies and uni work.

This past year, we’ve managed to put together many fun events. Our first being our winter crafts event. This was a small event trying to kick off the promotion of the society while giving people a break from studying. We provided crafts supplies and a selection of movies to gain the festive feel before the semester ended.

We managed to host a very successful pub quiz last semester. Held at Three Sisters, we provided lots of our freebies from Equate, along with gift voucher prizes and sweets to our winning teams. There was an amazing turnout with all our tables full and a great atmosphere amongst everyone attending.

Our society members at the pub quiz

Our society members at the pub quiz

In partnership with Equate Scotland and SCEBE, we hosted Launching into STEM, which was a panel event open to women and gender minorities. We invited along four inspiring women at different stages of their STEM career to speak about their journey and experiences, with the chance to ask question and network. This had a very successful turnout and a lot of positive feedback, both from guest speakers and attendees.

Panel members and chairs at Launching into STEM event

Panel members and chairs at Launching into STEM event

One of our most recent activities, was a little movie and pizza night. After a poll of different movies around women/gender minorities in STEM on our Instagram, we selected The Imitation Game. The event was relaxed and low-key on the run-up to the end of semester and is something we will definitely be hosting again.

Ideas for the future

Our main goal is to grow the society and encourage more women/gender minorities to join to help provide a better uni experience for them when they may feel overwhelmed or isolated. As the society is new, we have been growing steadily, but currently we are still small, though we have a lot to offer students at Napier.

Next year, we plan to continue our regular study sessions and socials throughout the year. Particularly, we plan to provide networking opportunities by getting together groups to attend conferences, along with providing fun activities to allow people to get to know each other and a ceilidh for people to attend. We also plan to organise a lead walk in Edinburgh and movie nights to provide more fun and relaxed events for people to come along too. Continuing our partnership with SCEBE we will aim to have reduced costs, making them more accessible to people who wish to attend.

Make sure to look out for our freshers event at the start of next year and come along and join the society to meet others.

Equate Scotland and SCEBE

Equate is an organisation which strives to support and training women in STEM throughout their careers and companies with developing and maintaining diversity in the workplace. In connection to Equate, we STEM student champions are ambassadors tasked with organising events to encourage community for women in STEM within our university.

Our connections with Equate and SCEBE have played a massive role in our success. They provide funding allowing us to keep our membership prices low and our events cheap, gaining more from our partnership. We often work in partnership with them for events, helping promote workshops Equate are running and studies happening within SCEBE at Edinburgh Napier University.

Feel free to dm or email us if you have any questions or want to learn more about us


Sally Smith at Computershare event

Tech sector needs more women in leadership roles

Women are under-represented in leadership roles…especially in the tech sector

We know that women are underrepresented in computing courses at schools, colleges and universities, so it’s no surprise they are underrepresented in tech sector leadership roles.

In fact, Tech Nation revealed that 77% of tech director roles are filled by men.

For those women that do decide on a well-paid career in tech, 50% leave before they are 35, so many don’t progress to leadership roles. Of course, this is a problem: diversity in decision-making is better and engineered products are more inclusive, plus women can miss out on high pay and status.

Why the drop out? Researchers found sexism to be the principal reason for leaving the sector. They say women encountered a hostile and unwelcoming climate. Research has also found that women either move away from technical work or adapt by becoming one of the boys to fit in with  a masculine (bro) culture.

Our own research, however, found women in IT leadership positions had found work that chimed with their personal values. For example, they found satisfaction in helping end users. These are great jobs, great careers. So how do we prevent women leaving the sector?

Things that work

  • inclusive and friendly job adverts,
  • family friendly policies at work,
  • inclusive work environments,
  • mentors and role models.

If you are getting started in tech, don’t be deterred by job adverts, look for mentoring programmes, start social/ informal events at work (it doesn’t all have to be about beer and pizza).

If you are already a leader in tech, think about what you might be able to influence – and offer to mentor.

17 women in tech

Case studies of women working in tech

We asked women working in tech and digital, including apprentices, about their journeys into tech, what they do, and what they like about it. Here are our first 17 profiles.

The profiles were collected in 2021 and 2022 – we know that many of these women have moved forwards in their career since then, with graduations and promotions. Congratulations.

Ada Scot Festival 2022

Ada Scotland Festival: our pick of the events for you 12 to 28th  October 2022

The third Ada Scotland Festival kicks off next week and runs till 28th  October 2022, celebrating women in tech.

The festival includes events for women and girls at all stages of their career. We’ve picked out the best events for students and women starting or developing their tech career and those interested in building new tech knowledge and skills.

What to expect:

  • practical advice on building your online profile
  • insights from women who have successfully navigated the tech industry
  • tech talks
  • opportunities to connect with communities who can support you through your next steps in your career

Please sign up, share with colleagues and friends. Everything is free to take part. For a full events and activities listing please visit

Follow us for updates on twitter @adascot 

Events for students and career starters

Continue reading

Participant-Centred Planning

Running Effective Gender Balance Activities

We’re running a free, short workshop, within the Ada Scotland Festival, to share our Participant-Centred Planning Framework for running effective inclusion activities.

Wednesday 19th October, 3-4pm, online.

The workshop is sponsored by SICSA Scotland. The framework research was funded by Skills Development Scotland.


We’ve been working on gender balance projects and also investigating ways to improve their efficacy and we’d like to share this with you and provide an opportunity for you to share what you’ve been doing. Participants with no experience are also welcome.

In this online workshop, we’ll introduce you to our Participant-Centred Planning Framework, through the projects we’ve used it in and through breakout sessions in which you start to apply to your own (future or present) projects. It’s easy. You’ll like it. Continue reading