crowdBy Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director.

I’ve attended a lot of events during my time in academia, but I can think of only one where women outnumbered men (one of the BSA’s Science Communication Conferences). This is not a revelation, of course. It's well known that women are poorly represented at events: as keynote speakers, on expert panels, or just as attendees in general. When I've discussed this issue in the past, I've often been asked "How many women do you expect to see?". It’s a practical question, but not one I've yet seen answered.

Should the first target for an academic event be to simply mirror the population within the event's discipline? I’ve written this blog post with this principle in mind, but also to start a discussion about whether this is indeed a helpful target.​ It occurs to me that people must have already tried this, so I'd also welcome any data on these attempts and whether they successfully improved representation.

We're looking for equality of opportunity throughout academia, but this is a distant proposition in some disciplines. If we aim for representation as a first step, we provide a target that's easy to measure and possible to achieve. If an organiser can prove success at this first target - in other words, that they are representing the gender split in their community - it would help…

Continue Reading

By Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Lead.

The end of the year 2015 was full of training events building up towards the coming months. The Institute is working towards scaling up the number of Data and Software Carpentry events in the UK by growing the instructor pool. Also by working with the Steering Committees of both organisations we are making sure that research community in the UK can benefit from this training.

Software and Data Carpentry Virtual Instructor and Helper Retreat

The Institute hosted one of the sites for the Software and Data Carpentry Virtual Instructor and Helper Retreat on 14th November at the University of Manchester. Aleksandra Pawlik, the Institute’s Training Lead hosted the event which was attended by Anthony Harrison and Dave Jones who co-run the Software and Data Carpentry taster sessions at the British Science Festival in September 2016; and Andy Walker and Martin Callaghan (both University of Leeds) who have organised and taught at a number of workshops. Dave and Andy led a session on “Making friends with Python 3”. The retreat was also attended by MIreya Paredes, a PhD student at the University of Manchester who completed the Instructor Training on 23-24th November and was a helper at the first UK Software Carpentry Workshop for Women in Science and Engineering.

CoDiMa Software Carpentry workshop at Manchester

The CoDiMa project (Computational Discrete Mathematics), co-led by SSI Fellow Aleksander Konovalov, in collaboration with the Department of Mathematics at the University of…

Continue Reading

The end of 2015 saw the first Software Carpentry workshop for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) in the UK. The Institute co-organised the event together with Women in HPC, ARCHER, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC) and ELIXIR UK. 34 participants attended the workshop and we also had a waiting list. The event was generously sponsored by Intel, Bank of America Merrill Lynch​ and ELIXIR UK.

This first workshop received a lot of interest from female researchers from different organisations in the UK. The attendees were from various disciplines ranging from life sciences, earth sciences and physics to social sciences. We covered the standard Software Carpentry curriculum. The instructors were Aleksandra Nenadic and Aleksandra Pawlik, both from the University of Manchester. The helpers were Toni Collis (Women in HPC, EPCC), Clair Barrass (EPCC), Simone Di Cola (University of Manchester) and Mireya Paredes (University of Manchester).

The programming skills level among the participants were quite distributed. However, the majority of them were at at least intermediate level. The participants commented that they read the description of the workshop which mentioned that the knowledge of basic…

Continue Reading

We are very happy to announce that the first UK Software Carpentry Workshop for Women in Science and Engineering received generous support from Intel. The event will take place on 14-15 December at the University of Manchester.

The workshop will be fully hands-on and will cover basic concepts and tools, including program design, version control, data management, and task automation. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems. We will also host a panel discussion about increasing diversity and closing the gender gap in computing, science and engineering.

We are very grateful for Intel's support, and look forward to the event!

By Aleksandra Pawlik, Training Lead.

Training Taster sessions

In September the Institute delivered a series of Taster Sessions based on Software and Data Carpentry materials. We started with a set of Taster Sessions at the British Science Festival on 7th and 8th September. Two sessions covered data visualisation with Python and data management with SQL. Both sessions proved to be popular with the Festival participants. However, we were unfortunately interrupted by a fire alarm on the second day. Most importantly, this this training was a great opportunity to practice teaching techniques for two Software Carpentry volunteers: Anthony Harrison  and Dave Jones. Anthony has already completed Software Carpentry Instructor Training. Dave is planning to do so as soon as possible. 

The next Taster Session was held at the 5th Student Conference on Complexity Science, on 10th September. The session was organised by one of the Institute’s…

Continue Reading

After running several workshops for Women in Science and Engineering in North America, Software Carpentry is moving East. On December 6th-7th 2014, Software Carpentry WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) will take place in in Kraków, Poland.

Like previous WiSE events, this workshop is open to women at all stages of their research careers, from graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to staff scientists. The instructors at the workshop will be Paulina Lach of Krakow's University of Science and Technology AGH and Aleksandra Pawlik, the Institute's training lead.

The workshop is sponsored by the Department of Computer Science at Krakow's University of Science and Technology AGH, Webmuses, the women empowered IT-oriented community, and the Polish Computing Association.

To attend, or for more details, please visit the event's main site.

By Devasena Inupakutika, Software Consultant.

How do we get more girls involved in science at school, and keep them interested when they go to university? One answer is the STEM Careers Event, which took place at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College last month of this year. Here, students were given a chance to try out a wide range of engaging tasks and find out why and how careers in science and engineering can be exciting and fulfilling for girls too.

Guiding them along were mentors from across the disciplines - including me. I was there with the rest of the Robogals Southampton chapter, and helped teach programming along with Amy Tong from the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). Robogals, a worldwide and student-run organisation, encourages girls to consider a future STEM career through talks and workshops, and shows them the big difference they can make as engineers and researchers.

The good news on the day was that of the 80 young people who turned up, around 55 were girls. Working with groups of 20 at a time, we were able to show them how to understand the basics of infrared, ultrasonic, light and sound sensors and how to…

Continue Reading
Subscribe to WiSE