TU Wien Informatics

Computing Is Too Important to Be Left to Men

  • 2019-12-03
  • Event
  • Panel Discussion
  • Women in Informatics
  • Social Responsibility

In workshops and a public panel discussion, international experts investigate women-promoting measures and present successful concepts.

U.S. Army Photo No. 163-12-62. Ltr: Patsy Simmers (mathematician/programmer), holding ENIAC board; Mrs. Gail Taylor, holding EDVAC board; Mrs. Milly Beck, holding ORDVAC board; Mrs. Norma Stec (mathematician/programmer), holding BRLESC-I board.
U.S. Army Photo No. 163-12-62. Ltr: Patsy Simmers (mathematician/programmer), holding ENIAC board; Mrs. Gail Taylor, holding EDVAC board; Mrs. Milly Beck, holding ORDVAC board; Mrs. Norma Stec (mathematician/programmer), holding BRLESC-I board.

  • TU Wien, Campus Getreidemarkt
    Konferenzsaal TUtheSky
  • 1060 Vienna, Getreidemarkt 9
    Bauteil BA (Hoftrakt), 11. Stock, Raum BA11B07

Informatics (or Computer Science) and its artefacts are major drivers of change with enormous personal, societal, economic and political impact. Digitalization, the process to transform a whole society into “the digital” by adopting digital technologies, is mainly driven by computer scientists. However, who are these computer scientists who are going to change the world so drastically? To the large majority, Informatics students and scientists are male, but female participation and their contribution are necessary to give digitalization a social face and to avoid technocratic solutions.

In order to change the situation and to promote gender diversity, measures are necessary to encourage young women to study Informatics and to support them during their (academic) career. This workshop is devoted to the questions of how to support young women in Informatics studies, what support measures are appropriate and how successful these measures are.

In the morning, four speakers from different universities present their initiatives and finding. The talks are focused on the following questions:

  1. Which activities and initiatives have been launched at the speaker’s university?
  2. What is the effect and the impact?
  3. Which evaluations have been performed with which result?

The afternoon is devoted to two topics to be discussed in two groups:

  • T1: What are best practice examples and new activities?
  • T2: How can the support measures been evaluated and which framework is necessary?



  • 9:00 / Opening by Anna Steiger, Vice Rector Human Resources and Gender, TU Wien
  • 9:10 / Role Models and Champions: What We Need to Get More Diversity in Computer Science by Jane Hillston, University of Edinburgh
  • 10:00 / Women in Computer Science: Do We Still Need Equality Measures? by Erika Abraham, RWTH Aachen
  • 11:00 / Coffee break
  • 11:10 / Empirically Guided Gender Equality Measures For Recruitment and Retainment of Computer Science Students by Ute Schmid, University of Bamberg
  • 12:00 / Several Female Support Activities Later: What Have We Learned? by Gerti Kappel, TU Wien
  • 12:50 / Lunch break

Speaker slides are available for download on our report of the event.


  • 14:00 / Two parallel working groups on T1 and T2
  • 15:00 / Presentation of working groups and discussion
  • 16:00 / Coffee break

Workshop results are available for download on our report of the event.


  • 17:30 / Public panel discussion with Erika Abraham (RWTH Aachen), Loukas Balafoutas (University of Innsbruck), Jane Hillston (University of Edinburgh), Gerti Kappel (TU Wien); Moderation: by Gerald Groß
  • 19:00 / Meet & Mingle over bread and wine

About the Speakers

Erika Abraham

Erika Abraham was born in Hungary, studied in Germany, received her PhD in the Netherlands and since 2008 she is computer science professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. From the scientific view, she works on formal (mathematical) algorithms and tools that help to develop correct and safe systems. In relation to this event, she has been very active in co- organizing events and initiating activities to increase the interest of girls in STEM fields and to support their development at all career stages. Since 2012, she is deputy equal opportunities officer at her university, and since 2018, she leads the Informatics Europe working group Women in Informatics Research and Education (WIRE).

Loukas Balafoutas

Loukas Balafoutas is Professor of Experimental Economics at the Department of Public Finance, University of Innsbruck since 2014. He holds a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. He has taught in Athens, Edinburgh, Munich, Cologne and Innsbruck and has been a visiting professor at various universities worldwide. In addition to his academic career, he has worked for the OECD and conducted research on the economies of the Black Sea and Central Asia. Prof. Balafoutas examines the decisions of individuals, groups or organizations under controlled conditions in economic experiments, either in the laboratory or in the field. His research focuses on issues such as the determinants of moral behavior in an economic context, the analysis of incentive systems and gender equality in tournaments, the functioning of markets for credence goods and the protection of property rights. His research is regularly published in internationally renowned journals and has repeatedly attracted the attention of the media.

Jane Hillston

Jane Hillston was appointed Professor of Quantitative Modelling in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh in 2006, having joined the University as a Lecturer in Computer Science in 1995. She is currently the Head of School. Jane Hillston’s research is concerned with formal approaches to modelling dynamic behavior, particularly the use of stochastic process algebras for performance modelling and stochastic verification. She has developed high-level modelling languages for application domains ranging from computer systems, biological process and collective adaptive systems. Her PhD dissertation was awarded the BCS/CPHC Distinguished Dissertation award in 1995 and she was the first recipient of the Roger Needham Award in 2005. In 2018, she was awarded a Suffrage Science award for her work promoting and supporting woman in computing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Member of Academia Europe. She has published over 150 journal and conference papers and held several Research Council and European Commission grants.

Gerti Kappel

Gerti Kappel is full professor at the Institute of Information Systems Engineering at TU Wien, chairing the Business Informatics Group. Prior to that, from 1993 to 2001, she was a full professor of computer science (database systems) and head of the Department of Information Systems at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. From 2004 to 2007, she acted as dean of studies for Business Informatics. Also from 2003 to 2007, she was head of the internationally renowned Women’s Postgraduate College for Internet Technologies (www.wit.at) paving the way for several ongoing female support programs at university level. From 2014 to 2017, she was a board member of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). Since beginning of 2016, she is a member of the dean’s team of the Faculty of Informatics responsible for research, diversity, and financial affairs. Her current research interests include Model Engineering, Web Engineering, and Process Engineering, with a special emphasis on cyber-physical production systems. Striving for the unity of research and teaching, she co-authored and co-edited among others “UML@Work” (dpunkt.verlag, 3rd ed, 2005), “UML@Classroom” (Springer, 2015), and “Web Engineering” (Wiley, 2006).

Ute Schmid

Ute Schmid holds a diploma in psychology and a diploma in computer science, both from Technical University Berlin (TUB), Germany. She received her doctoral degree (Dr. rer.nat.) in computer science from TUB in 1994 and her habilitation in computer science in 2002. From 1994 to 2001 she was assistant professor (wissenschaftliche Assistentin) at the Methods of AI/Machine Learning group, Department of Computer Science, TUB. Afterwards she worked as lecturer (akademische Rätin) for Intelligent Systems at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at University Osnabrück and was member of the Cognitive Science Institute. Since 2004, she holds a professorship of Applied Computer Science/Cognitive Systems at the University of Bamberg. Ute Schmid is a fortiss research fellow. She serves as representant for the CLAIRE National Contact Point Germany. Ute Schmid dedicates a significant amount of her time to measures supporting women in computer science and to promote computer science as a topic in elementary, primary, and secondary education. She won the Minerva Award of Informatics Europe for her university.

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