Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two Projects in the Pipeline
Ambassador: Catherine Lang, Australia

The Australian ACM-W Ambassador has two exciting projects in the pipeline this year. The first, Digital Divas targets junior secondary school students. It is a collaborative project funded by the Australian Research Council, with the Education Department, the Australian Computer Society and three universities to design and deliver an interesting curriculum for Years 8 and 9 girls to increase engagement with IT courses and careers. There is a great deal of interest already from both government and private schools. (Photo shows Digital Diva class).

The second project is planning OzWIT 2009: Australian Celebration of Women in ICT. OzWIT has a mission of informing, sharing, community building, and re-energising those involved in the recruitment and retention of women in information technology. The one-day celebration will be held in December this year, providing an opportunity for people from all aspects of ICT, teaching, industry and academia to come together to share knowledge, learn, network and have fun. To make the day a success however, we need many contributors and sponsorship and we are inviting ACM-W members to consider how they might contribute. (Photo shows enthralled audience from AusWIT2006).

Recent statistics from Australia emphasise the need for us to keep working in this arena. In the 21st century the number of students, both male and female, taking up ICT courses and careers is still in decline. In Australia the number of students enrolling in ICT courses at universities has decreased by 1/3rd in the last 7 years. More worrying is that the number of women attracted to our field has halved (from 11,566 in 2001 to 6,101 in 2007, ref: DEEWR)).