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Changing the Face of IT: 5 Talks Accepted at Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Technology (GHC) is an amazing gathering of almost  ~5,000 technologists (90% identify as female) ranging from college students to professionals to professors. We have chosen to support this conference for the past 8 years, since the Anita Borg Institute’s mission clearly aligns with our values and our own mission to advocate on behalf of women in this industry. In North America, we have found significant success in recruiting and branding at the event and have worked to increase our impact as speakers as well. The conference’s talks have historically trended towards lighter, theoretical discussions of women in the tech field, and we're proud of our record of pushing boundaries with our talk topics by going into greater technical depth and surfacing other related issues.

It is well-documented that women are not only chosen to speak less than men are, but are also less likely to make proposals. For the last couple of years, we have worked to combat this through support calls for GHC proposals. People both self-select and are encouraged to join these weekly calls to gain confidence in making proposals and to discuss possible topics and formats. We have seen an increase in the number of proposals from women over the years (~20 this year), and this has been our most prolific year with 4 talks and 1 poster presentation being accepted.

The accepted speakers and their topics are:

  • Chelsea Kolmo - Open Humanitarian Software
  • Dannielle del Rosario & Beccie Magnus - Stereotype Threat in the Education System: Single-Gender Education and Other Possible Solution
  • Jagruti Bhikha – poster: Single parenting in the tech world
  • Jessica Gonzalez - What I learned after Undergrad
  • Shreya Pandit - Student Opportunity (half day) workshop for Open Source Contribution and its Advantages

Equally as encouraging, we have seen the proposals written during the support calls be repurposed for other conferences. Examples include Mridula Jayaraman (who spoke last year at Strange Loop with her GHC Proposals) and Pam Ocampo and Rachel Walker (who were accepted to Open Source Bridge in Portland, OR).

Congratulations to everyone who was accepted as well as to all those who made proposals. It is a great honor to have so many speakers from Thoughtworks presenting at GHC this year. We look forward to continuing to build on these successes and to hosting support calls in the coming years.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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