Friday, January 7, 2011

Women in technology conferences and women's rights: The Disconnect
Ambassador: Gayatri Buragohain, India

I just returned from Bangalore after attending the first Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in India organized by the US based non-profit Anita Borg Institute of Women and Technology (ABI). This conference is a celebration of women in technology, a conference to discuss woman's role in technical workforce and find solutions to the challenges faced by women in the technical workforce owing to which there is such low representation of women in technology.

Recently I also attended the 10th Grace Hopper Conference in USA (also organized by ABI) and the Amrita ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing (A2CWIC) in Coimbatore, India (organized in the Amrita University). The GHC in USA was spectacular. ABI has been organizing this conference for years and they really are good in what they do. The A2CWIC was the first of such conference in India with almost 1200 participants out of which 720 were women, mostly students. I was also involved in organizing the conference as the ACM-W Ambassador in India, but really the team from Amrita University were the real brains and sweat behind it. I intended to blog about it as well, however failed as I anyway expected. Writing is not a very flowing skill for me.

But after attending the GHC India I felt I need to write a piece on my experience after attending 3 consecutive conferences on women and technology. I believe that the new dialogue on women’s role in technology is a critical component of the discussion on women’s role in decision-making and I feel very happy to see this finally happening in India. Three years back when I decided to start FAT, I did massive search for any initiative related to women and technology and found that there was none except the diversity conference organized by NASSCOM, which was not exactly what I was looking for. So this new league of women and technology conferences, though they are still far from having all streams of technology included in them, seem like a breath of fresh air to me. (All these conferences were mainly for women in computing.)

Read the rest of the post on Gayatri's blog.