Women in Computer Science

Computer Science, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in general, traditionally suffer from a gender imbalance. In the Department of Computer Science and in the Faculty of Engineering we are happy to be redressing this.

A students sits with a robot.

Four of our female members of the department, Dr Heidi Christensen (research associate and now lecturer), Anannya Kumarvel (undergraduate student), Amy Nicholson (graduate) and Galatia Partheniou (undergraduate student) feature in the Faculty of Engineering's 'wall of women' initiative to highlight women's contribution to engineering. You can learn more about their experiences there.

Visit the Faculty of Engineering's 'Wall of Women'

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN charter recognises excellence in higher education employment in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) and specifically promotes gender equality. The University of Sheffield is a member of the charter, currently holding an Athena Swan Bronze award. In order to extend this commitment to an equitable working environment, 21 departments across STEM at the university are going for individual awards.

The Department of Computer Science has been awarded the Athena SWAN Silver award.  The award recognises the action the Department has taken to promote a truly innovative working environment that allows both men and women to thrive. 

For more information, see www.athenaswan.org.uk

View our Athena SWAN silver submission


BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium

The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium is an annual one day conference for women students of Computing and related subjects. The event started in 2008, and moves around the country.

The aims of this event are:

  • To provide a forum for undergraduate women and masters students to share their ideas and network
  • To provide a stimulating series of talks from women in computing, both from academia and industry
  • To provide both formal (talks) and informal (networking) advice to undergraduate women about careers in computing from a female perspective

Each year they have a great series of talks, and an opportunity for students to discuss their own work in the form of a poster contest, with cash prizes provided by industry sponsors. Google have sponsored all events to date, enabling BCSWomen to cover the travel costs (and overnight accommodation if necessary) for all students in the poster contest, and other industrial and academic bodies have provided additional sponsorship covering prizes and lunch.

You can see details of previous events including lists of prizewinners here: Previous Conferences

Every year we invite our students to represent us at the event. You can find out more about the event and register for updates on their website.

In 2019 Kate Bobyn and Katie Walker represented our department at the event.

Kate won first prize in her category for her poster: Challenges Associated with Humanitarian Applications of Neural Machine Translation for Low-Resource Languages.

Kate Bobyn at the BSCWomen Lovelace Colloquium

The conference was really well organised and a genuine pleasure to attend. One of the highlights for me was Helen Leigh's talk on alternative career paths in technology.

I enjoyed making and presenting my poster, as I got to discuss one of the research areas that has interested me for a long time - machine translation for low-resource languages, with a focus on humanitarian efforts such as disaster relief and crisis management.

I got to exchange ideas with students from all over the UK, some of whom I'm planning to meet up with in the future at hackathons and CS talks. I will certainly attend again next year.

Kate Bobyn

BEng Software Engineering


Katie Walker at the BSCWomen Lovelace Colloquium

There are few events for women in computer science and I really recommend attending if you can. The conference was interesting, inspiring and had some fantastic companies sponsoring. There were a series of talks from women working as self-employed, software developers and researchers, which was great for finding out about different routes you can take in the industry. It was also a great opportunity to meet other women from all over the country.

Kate Walker

BSc Computer Science and Mathematics

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