Women in technology all over the world are facing similar challenges, says Shruti, one of the coordinators of the conference. Women are stereotyped throughout the career that they are not good enough to pursue a career in computing, which seriously decreases their self confidence. There is a scarcity of women role-models and mentors which women can emulate, mostly leaving them to carve a niche on their own. Women, being so little in number, are alienated at workplace and college by their peers, which significantly demoralize them. Women also lack access to influential social networks which limit their career growth. Shruti adds that, in India, the gender roles defined for women are more exacting than in other parts of the world, leaving them with a poor work-life balance.
The GraceHopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference will be held on December 13 and 14, 2012 at the Lalit Ashok Hotel, Bangalore. It is presented by Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology and ACM India. The conference aims at increasing the participation of women in careers and research in computing. This year, the theme of the conference is ‘Beyond Boundaries’ –helping women to tackle challenges and explore new avenues in computing.
Grace Hopper operating the UNIVAC. By Unknown (Smithsonian Institution) (Flickr: Grace Hopper and UNIVAC) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)
The GHC will look into the causes of lack of women participation, highlight the contributions of women in computing, give personal and professional support to starting a career in computing and provide a platform for like-minded women to interact with each other and take up joint initiatives. The two-day conference will have posters, presentations, workshops and panel discussions. The presenters are chosen from a variety of backgrounds, including industrial, academic and governmental communities.
The Grace Hopper Conference is an annual event held in India and the US in memory of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, who was a computer scientist and navy officer. People of all nationalities are welcome to attend the conference. However, the conference will deal mainly with issues relating to women and computing in India. “To this end, each conference has a track that is specific to the needs and challenges of students and new grads. These sessions offer a mix of advice, personal stories, experiences and knowledge to give students a headstart in planning their career paths, building networks and gaining life skills”, claims Shruti, who is also a leading blogger.
The conference is expected to create a huge impact among women in Bangalore and the rest of the country. The call for participation is now open, the details can be found here.