ITU conference brings together women in data science

On Tuesday, April 16, more than 200 women and men will gather for the first Danish edition of the Women in Data Science conference, a global event that highlights women's contributions to the data science field. The goal is to make female role models more visible and establish networks among women who work within data science.

Computer Science DepartmentResearchEventsdata sciencediversityBarbara PlankNatalie Schluter

"The aim of the conference is to encourage, inspire and support women in the field of data science, from the academic world as well as from the industry," says Natalie Schluter, Associate Professor at ITU, who co-organizes Women in Data Science Copenhagen with Associate Professor Barbara Plank and a group of colleagues and volunteers.

Women in Data Science originated at Stanford University, and the conference is held annually in a wide range of countries around the world.

Through the conference, Natalie Schluter and Barbara Plank hope to establish a community where female data scientists from both academia and the industry can support each other and exchange experiences.

For instance, younger data scientists at the conference (male and female) can be matched with a mentor who can provide support and advice on the way up the career ladder.

"Our hope is that the participants establish new connections and understand that if they experience challenges during their career, there are people they can talk to who are likely to have experienced similar challenges," says Natalie Schluter.

Women take longer to achieve mentor status

In her research article ‘The Glass Ceiling in NLP’, Natalie Schluter has studied the gender imbalance in Natural Language Processing, a sub-discipline of data science.

"Many people believe that there is no problem with the gender gap in our field as about one-third are women, which is a relatively high proportion compared to other areas within computer science," she says.

"However, my research shows that women are taking substantially longer to achieve mentor status in the field compared to their male counterparts, and that the proportion of highly successful women compared to the total number of women is much lower than the proportion of successful men. And in fact, this disparity is widening,” says Natalie Schluter and points out that gender gap is even wider in other subfields, such as machine learning.

Role models from academia and industry

The Women in Data Science conference at ITU is open to everyone, men as well as women, but only female speakers are on the program, as the idea is to highlight women's contributions to the field.

“We have gathered a number of talented female researchers and industry people who will give inspiring talks about data science-related research and applications in a broad set of domains, and will serve as role models for a diverse audience of both women and men. We want to show the audience that the data science field is wide and opens up to different career paths,” says Barbara Plank.

The nine speakers include French algorithms researcher Claire Mathieu, Juliana Freire, Professor of Data Science at New York University, and Anna Katrine Jørgensen, who is heading a language technology project at Google.

Further information

Barbara Plank, Associate Professor, phone +45 7218 5274, email bapl@itu.dk

Natalie Schluter, Associate Professor, email nael@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk