Tag Archives: women

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

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.