This event was organised by ColliderSCIENCE and was held at Imperial College. The podcast can be seen here. Over 300 teenagers, parents and teachers registered. Many organisations supported the event, including the Alan Turing Institute and STEMETTES.
Why was it so popular? We are currently witnessing the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. We already have billions of people connected by mobile phones and the Internet, giving rise to unprecedented connectivity, knowledge and data processing power. This revolution is already transforming societies and the global economy with disruptions like Facebook and Airbnb already here and more to come soon with breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles, and quantum computing.
Studying computer science can empower young people, making them both the creators and great beneficiaries of the future, but it is a stark reality that the UK currently has the lowest percentage of female computer engineering professionals in Europe. This is deeply concerning, as this new technology could have a disproportionately greater negative impact on women concerning jobs in particular. Attention is needed urgently, now.
Taking place on International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on the 23 June, Women in Computer Science addressed how knowledge of computing plays a major role in our future, how studying computing may empower young people, and how the pressing issues the gender gap presents to society needs to be tackled.
Chaired by Saadia Zahidi, Head of Education, Gender and Work of World Economic Forum and hosted by Maja Pantic, Professor of Affective and Behavioural Computing at Imperial College, London, the event involved inspirational women computer scientists and engineers to encourage and inspire our future leaders and pioneers in this area:
Dr Sharon Goldwater, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, BCS Roger Needham Award 2016
Dr Sabine Hauert, Lecturer in Robotics, University of Bristol, President & Co-founder, Robohub
Dr Holly Cummins, Technical Lead, IBM Bluemix Garage London
Maxine Mackintosh, Co-founder and Director, One HealthTech, Data Science PhD student, UCL
Each participant gave a 10-minute talk on their field of study and work, what makes them tick as the experts, and presented their personal story on how they decided to choose computer science as their profession.
The audience was then engaged in a stimulating public debate aimed to inspire young women to take charge of their destiny, openly discussing the importance of computer science for our digital future, why computer science can empower women, and how we can encourage more young women to become professionals in his exciting new area.