Membership | DOI: 10.1145/2240236.2240244
Karen A. Frenkel
ACM’s Committee for Women in Computing (ACM-W) is widening
its reach to involve women in industry as well as academia, including
community college faculty and students.
AcM-w, whIch haS has tra- ditionally been dedicated to supporting ACM’s wom- en members, now has new leadership and a broader
mission, with Valerie Barr, chair of
the computer science department
at Union College, succeeding Elaine
Weyuker, an AT&T Fellow at Bell Labs.
The pair previously served as co-chairs
for six months.
“ACM-W has focused on supporting women in computing, and has had
particular focus on and responsibility to women members of ACM,” says
Barr. “While it is important to make
sure that women of achievement are
recognized within the women in computing community, we want to be sure
that women are supported, celebrated,
and advocated for within the general
computing community. But now we are
ready to also take on responsibilities to
ensure all ACM members are aware of
the role of women in computing, and to
help ACM achieve organizational goals
for growth and international reach
through our work with and for women.”
ACM-W needs to reach the 12% of
ACM’s 104,000 members who are female and make sure they know about
ACM programs, like professional development, and non-ACM programs,
like the Computer Research Associa-tion-Women’s mentoring workshops,
and special programs for women at
conferences like the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
To attract women who are not ACM
members, ACM-W will reach out to faculty and students at community colleges. Women in computing at community colleges are a large and untapped
market for ACM, says Barr, who notes
that community colleges are a less expensive way for women to return to the
ACM-W is also reaching out to students and faculty by awarding scholarships so they can attend conferences.
“We want to
be sure that women
within the general
says Valerie Barr.
In addition, ACM-W aims to create
new programs that promote informal
interaction between women at confer-
ences so experienced computer scien-
tists can meet and advise newcomers.
Unfortunately, few opportunities exist
for women at conferences to talk infor-
mally, says Barr. Moreover, young fac-
ulty do not make attending non-tech-
nical, non-peer reviewed conferences
a priority because they do not count
toward tenure. Therefore, ACM-W will
consider how to support networking
opportunities for women who attend
technical and professional confer-
ences, possibly by arranging birds-of-a-
based in manhattan, Karen A. Frenkel is a freelance
writer and editor specializing in science and technology.