Less than 15% of the students in Computer Science at Carleton are women. Many of these students doubt themselves and their place in their chosen field of study. After all, most of their teachers, classmates, and originators and leaders in the field are not women.
One way that we can help our female students in Computer Science feel included and empowered in the Computer Science community is to embed them in environments where they are not the minority anymore. There are several conferences that focus on women in technology. Attending these conferences allows students to see more Women in Computer Science – more students, more teachers, more researchers, more industry leaders, more role models. The conferences tackle issues that focus on the specific challenges of being a woman in technology. The conferences allow our students to see that women make incredible contributions to Computer Science.
The Women in Computer Science (WiCS) group at Carleton is organized by the School of Computer Science. We are a dedicated community at the University whose mission is to establish a positive environment for women in computing at all academic levels. Our goals are to ensure that women are supported in their studies, to promote women in Computer Science and to build a strong network of women in the field.
The purpose of this fund is to support the costs of sending students to conferences and workshops to meet with other women in computer science. One main event is CAN-CWiC, the ACM Canadian Celebration of Women in Technology. It is the premiere Canadian computing conference for Women in Technology bringing together leaders in research, education and industry from across Canada. (The 2020 event was held virtually.)
Attending these events gives our students opportunities to be inspired by other Women in Computer Science, to form networks with other students, share their common struggles and achievements, and ultimately form a community with more Women in Computer Science. Students that attend these events come back energized and confident. They spread this newfound confidence and enthusiasm with the community here.