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 committed to redressing this.
A number of our female colleagues and alumna feature in the Faculty of Engineering's 'Wall of Women' initiative to highlight women's contribution to engineering:
The Athena SWAN charter is a framework to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing gender equality within higher education. Our department has proactively engaged with Athena SWAN for over a decade, having gained our Bronze award in 2012, followed by our first Silver award in 2016.
This Silver renewal award recognises our significant efforts and successes in our ongoing mission to improve gender representation and diversity. Amongst the many achievements since our last submission, we have significantly grown our Sheffield Women In Computing Students society, and have also built up a thriving Women+@DCS seminar series to promote gender diversity amongst PhD students and staff. We have also broadened the remit of our equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) committee to encompass factors such as race, neurodiversity, disability, and wellbeing. Find out more.
SWiCS aims to empower and connect women who are passionate about computer science. Founded in 2019, the aim was to bring people together in a supportive and inclusive community.
“When I was studying for my GCSE and A-Level in Computer Science, there were very few women in the classes, which made it quite difficult to make friends. So, when I arrived in Sheffield, I was really impressed with the number of women studying Computer Science and saw the society as an opportunity to meet others who’ve had similar experiences.
Hayley Young, SWiCS Chair, 2023
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
Each year we invite our students to represent us at the event and we were delighted to host the 2023 conference at the University of Sheffield. The event was a fantastic success - read more:
You can also 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.
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.
BEng Software Engineering
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.
BSc Computer Science and Mathematics
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