Progress in the field of technology is powerful, quick and not at all harmless, as it may sometimes seem. While it looks like we are getting more and more female engineers, mathematicians and programmers, the issue of gender inequality is often being raised when talking about these disciplines.
ENTER conference will be held for the first time in the end of April at Kolarac, in Belgrade, and it represents an extraordinary two day event open to everyone willing to share their knowledge, achievements and experience in order to support development and inclusion of more women in computer science and related disciplines. It has been created to present, connect and inspire women and girls active in ICT sector. As the organizers point out, ENTER aims to provide new perspectives on different IT topics through presentations of successful women working in industry and academia, presenting them as a new role models in community.
ENTER conference has been initiated in by Spacevent and in partnership with ACM. Spacevent is a small team from Belgrade, dedicated to various informal educational programs in the field of information technology. Perhaps Rails Girls had the biggest echo of all their programs, it being a community, which, since 2013, successfully conducted various well-attended free workshops for girls and women, providing them with opportunities to learn web programming with local mentors.
There are a few more initiatives by NGOs or institutions in Serbia, such as the not so active Women In Tech Serbia which a year ago raised some questions regarding the percentage of women in the IT sector in Serbia; unfortunately, the link which leads to the poll published is no longer available. There is also the organization called IT girls whose focus rests on the production of articles, notices and interviews with women who successfully implemented their ideas in the field of information technology. Some individual initiatives show up from time to time, one of the most unusual being the one coming from Moms Club providing programming workshops for mothers.
Progress in the field of technology is powerful, quick and not at all harmless, as it may sometimes seems. While it looks like we are getting more and more female engineers, mathematicians and programmers, the issue of gender inequality is often being raised when talking about these disciplines. If we glance at the recently finished Resonate festival, which revolves around technology, art and the point where they irreversibly combine with one another (primarily in critical relation to the society), in the Yugoslav Cinematheque several very interesting in women presented their Ideas. First of all we should mention this year’s curator Nora O ‘Murchu whose research stands at an exciting crossroads between design, technology and politics; also, the artist Florence To, had a thrilling exhibition of visual installations in the gallery Pro3or. Joana Moll – among others – spoke about web access and security, network and materiality, and the relationship between the real and the virtual.
Quantitatively, however, this year’s Resonate hosted far fewer women lecturers than male ones, which leads us back to the question which we inevitably ask when we talk about the STEM fields– are there really less women in IT, is it necessary to encourage them and lead them into the discover of these fields. In the end, we must ask ourselves whether they are being paid equally as men. Bearing all this in mind, ENTER is not a feminist conference, according to the organizers, but more of space for the women share their experiences, without an imposed perspective, and to deliver their experience knowledge of this galloping industry.