ACM-W Europe: November 2014
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In this Newsletter:

womENcourage 2015 - Message from the chairs

The Data on Diversity-Beryl Nelson (Google), Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57, No. 11

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womENcourage 2015 - Message from the chairs

Call for participation open - womENcourage.acm.org

Andreina Francisco and Virginia Grande reflect on their experience in GHC (Grace Hopper Conference) 2014.

As women studying computer science, we know that women in computing need encouragement in all stages of their careers. Because of this, we committed ourselves to bringing you womENcourage 2015, giving us the opportunity to encourage women in computing across Europe. As co-chairs of the European celebration of women in computing, we have experienced this year the impact that such a celebration can have on a woman’s career.

Imagine our surprise and excitement when we found that we would be attending our first Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, AZ: we really could not imagine how it would influence us. The experience of being at the same place with over 7000 technical women is almost indescribable. The rooms were filled with inspiration. We met so many new friends, added to our networks and heard talks and discussions on technical topics and the latest career topics. Everything was organized so that we were able to meet people everywhere: from the long coffee queues to the shuttle to the hotel, the networking never stopped!

Now, we are working hard to bring to you a chance to learn to lead the wave of women encouraging women.


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The Data on Diversity-Beryl Nelson (Google), Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57, No. 11


"Teams and organizations whose members are heterogeneous in meaningful ways have a higher potential for innovation than teams whose members are homogeneous."

This month, Communications of the ACM published a thought-provoking article of Beryl Nelson, member of the ACM-W Europe Executive Committee.

Beryl argues that having a diverse organization is a "business imperative" as diverse teams excel in both financial results and results in innovation.  This argument is backed by existing studies in collective intelligence and creativity. In one, researchers assigned subjects aged 18 to 60 randomly to teams of 3–5 people to complete complex tasks that included brainstorming, decision making, and visual puzzles. The predictor of the team collective intelligence was found to be whether there were women on the team and the groups with little gender mix did not score as highly. The difference was attributed to social skills that enable contributions from all the team members.

There are, however, several factors that challenges the effectiveness of diverse teams, including unconscious bias, and stereotype threat.
However, we can make things better, Beryl says. To this end, we have to:
* Make data available.
* Create an atmosphere of trust.
* Pay attention to critical mass to remove bias from the hiring and promotion processes.
* Provide a credible narrative.
* Provide opportunities for everyone to see themselves as successful
* Adopt an expandable view of intelligence demonstrating you believe that skills can be learned
* Know your own biases.
* Embrace differences.


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