Depending on the source of the study, the percentage of women working in data science as a portion of its total workforce is around 20 percent, far below anything representative of the world as a whole, but surprisingly much higher than even a few years ago.
That gain can be credited in part to efforts of groups like Women in Data Science (WiDS), which was founded at Stanford University to bring together women in data science to help foster collaboration, support outreach efforts to pre-college students, and to provide encouragement and success stories for others in the field.
This year’s conference, which will be held March 8 at Stanford, will have a UT connection, as Tickle College of Engineering Professor Michela Taufer has been chosen to moderate one of the featured panels.
“I look forward to having the chance to gather with some of the leading data scientists in the field and to share ideas and experiences and to support each other in our various efforts,” said Taufer, the Dongarra Professor in the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “I am excited by this opportunity and look forward to taking part in the experience.”
The panel Taufer is moderating, “Data Democratization: A Powerful Means for Creating Sustainable and Equitable Communities?” is a topic she is well acquainted with tackling.
In 2021, she was part of a team composed of researchers from around the country who were awarded $5.6 million in National Science Foundation funding to improve access to data for a more diverse audience, while a project she led last September also had a component of opening up data science to a broader audience.
Stanford Executive Director of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering Karen Matthys and Professor Emeritus Margot Gerritsen created WiDS in 2015.
Since then, the group has grown to include more than 200 regional events in 50 countries, reaching 100,000 people on an annual basis.