Women in Computer Science (WICS), UWC, is a society focused at encouraging women to pursue a degree in Computer Science, up to higher level. The aim is to encourage relevant conversations, mentorship and support, and ultimately help in changing the demographic in this heavily male-dominated field. The society is aimed at female and female-identifying persons, but open to everyone. However, leadership roles remain reserved for female and female-identifying persons.
WICS, UWC, aims to fulfil this goal by initiating four sub-programmes:
Socials: Informal gathering of CS women (namely alumni, lecturers, post and undergraduate students).
Formal Talks: These talks focus on trend in technology and work done by women, both in research and industry.
The purpose of these talks is to expose students to the different opportunities that Computer Science offers.
Mentors: Senior students will be assigned as mentors to junior students. It is important that the relationship between mentees and
mentors be clearly defined. The mentor will serve as a support and encourage her mentee(s). Mentors are NOT personal tutor.
Outreach: Encourage women to continue/join Computer Science.
Outreach will be targeted at major decision making stages of a student’s career, namely: third year, honours and high school learners.
Mentoring younger students, particularly women, is not only challenging but inspiring. Being a woman in Computer Science, a heavily
male dominated field, is often a challenging experience. It is not unusual for a woman to find herself undermined by her classmates, just
because she doesn’t fit the stereotypical “Computer Science” mould.
In conversation with some female students in Computer Science, one often finds that they have had a journey of nearly quitting Computer Science.
This was, nearly always, pre-empted by having spoken with other women students or lecturers, who encouraged them to continue, and reassured
them, that they were in fact capable of pursing a Computer Science degree.
This begged the question, “How many female students would have continued and pursued a degree in Computer Science degree, had there been
some form of intervention in form of encouragement and mentoring available?” In response to this, Women in Computer Science was initiated and
launched (by a female lecturer in Computer Science) with the aim of gathering the (vulnerable) women in the department together to encourage
conversation, support, mentorship and ultimately to aid in increasing the female population in this domain, and by extension the global spectrum.
Our mission is to encourage women to become more active in the Computer Science community.
Providing a supportive and inclusive environment: Workshops specifically designed for women in science can create a space where women
feel comfortable and supported to share their experiences, ask questions, and engage in discussions.
Offering networking opportunities: The platform can bring together women from different fields of science and provide opportunities for
them to connect and build supportive relationships with other women in their field.
Enhancing technology and professional development: This space would provide women with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed
in their careers, including training on leadership, communication, and career advancement.
Addressing gender bias and discrimination: Relevant discussions and engagements would help in addressing gender bias and discrimination
in the workplace, and can offer strategies for overcoming these challenges.
Improving diversity and inclusion: Workshops that focus on increasing the participation of women in science can help improve diversity and
inclusion in the field, leading to more innovative and impactful research.
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Computer Science Department, CAMS Building,
University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
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