Computability in Europe 2008
Logic and Theory of Algorithms
Women in Computer Science
The Steering Committee of the conference series CiE-CS is concerned with the representation of female researchers in the field of computability. It is a well known fact that computational subjects (like computer science or logic) do not have proper representation of women at all levels. There are a number of critical points in the career development of researchers that have been identified as highly problematic for gender balance: these are points of decision at which the percentage of female representation drops drastically: the percentage of women with a PhD in a computational subject is lower than that of women with a Master's degree (or Bachelor's degree), the percentage of women in postdoctoral positions is again lower, as is the percentage of women in tenured faculty positions.
This situation perpetuates itself: without female role models in positions of responsibility, it will remain difficult to motivate young female researchers for an academic career.
A conference series can take an important role in the improvement of the described situation: it can give young female researchers the opportunity to present their results, give senior female researchers the chance to become role models as plenary speakers or organizers of special sessions, and provide an atmosphere that shows to young female researchers that an academic career and family are compatible. The series CiE-CS has actively tried to increase female participation at all levels in the past three years with above average numbers of female PC members and invited speakers. In 2007, we organized a "Women in Computability" workshop, sponsored by CRA-W.
We are very happy to report that the conference series has now attracted an Elsevier Foundation grant to continue the Women in Computability workshops and install a new mentorship programme for junior female researchers and a childcare programme.
The idea of the mentorship programme is to allow junior female researchers to meet senior women in their field, discuss career issues with them and get their support. Junior female researchers who wish to participate in this programme will be assigned a mentor for the duration of the conference with whom they will meet several times, including for a funded dinner meeting with other junior researchers. We hope that the ties between mentor and mentee will be strong enough to allow continued discussions after the CiE conference.
The added difficulties of combining family planning and a research career are often considered an obstacle for the improvement of female representation in some fields. In order to deal with this, we want to make it easy for young participants to bring their young children to CiE conferences by providing free childcare for them.
We are at the moment exploring childcare opportunies. Please tell us if you are interested in this and we will come back to you at a later stage.