Friday, July 31, 2009

A little history to make you smile

After doing some research on women and technical societies, I just had to post this article about Nora Stanton Blatch (De Forest Barney) from 1907, which I found immensely funny.

She was the first woman to obtain a degree in civil engineering in the US and the first woman to become a junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Her mother and grandmother made significant contributions to the women's rights movement with the support of their respective husbands. She herself became quite involved in the suffragette movement. She married the inventor Lee De Forest (also an interesting character) and had a child, but they soon separated.

"De Forest and Blatch were both devoted parents, but De Forest could not understand how Blatch could continue working after motherhood. De Forest criticized Blatch for exhibiting 'mentality and calculating ambition' in her efforts to 'fill man’s place, to surpass him in his own sphere.' Blatch and De Forest divorced in 1911." -

She appeared to be doing quite well as a civil engineer only a short time after graduation, but in 1915 she was denied associate membership to the ASCE. They claimed she was inexperienced, she argued it was sexual discrimination, and she took them to court. The New York State Supreme Court sided with the society, citing its status as a private organisation. Besides her early work, I have not read much about her experience as a civil engineer and I'm not sure how she compared to her peers who were awarded the "associate member" title, so I will reserve judgement, but I have my suspicions.

She later married Morgan Barney and worked in real estate development.

Patricia Galloway, the only woman to be president of the ASCE (it only took 150 years), wrote a blog about her in March.

For some reason, in 2002-2003, women were suddenly presidents of all the engineering societies in the states (Patricia Galloway among them). You can read more about them here. Unfortunately, there haven't been many since.

Well, here's hoping there are a lot more women out there demonstrating 'mentality and calculating ambition'!

Image copied from here.

Look no further! Here are the statistics on the number of females in engineering

Networking, I owe you one

I was recently approached by the Vice President of Development at the Engineering Students Societies' Council of Ontario (ESSCO) for information concerning the number of female engineering graduates in Ontario this year. This is not the first time I've been asked this kind of question, so I decided to look for the statistics myself. It's amazing how easy it was! All I did was use my WISE network! First, I remembered a presenter at NCWIE who had a bunch of graphs and statistics on her slides, so I found her and contacted her. She replied within a day suggesting that I contact Engineers Canada for more recent data. I did so, and I got a response, again within a day, with all the most recent data. Wow, it only took me two days. Networks are awesome!

What's available online

Engineers Canada has been collecting data concerning engineering degrees for many years now. Their most recent report is called Canadian Engineers for Tomorrow: Trends in Engineering Enrolment and Degrees Awarded 2001 to 2005 (they'll update it within a few months). Looking at this data, I noticed that 1029 out of 4678 (22%) undergraduate degrees were awarded to females in Ontario in 2005. No other province seems to have surpassed this amount. Quebec had about half as many. By the way, more stats are available from ONWIE here.

Ontario is rockin'

Has anything changed until now? Looking at the data for all the provinces in Canada, Ontario is rocking it. From 2001 to 2008, there has been an increase in the TOTAL number of undergraduate degrees awarded in Ontario from 3466 to 5288. In comparison, Quebec's numbers increased only slightly from 2467 in 2001 to 2928 in 2008. In terms of females, the numbers have not changed much anywhere except in Ontario. Numbers increased from 733 out of 3644 in 2001 (20%) to a maximum of 1094 out of 5353 (20%) in 2007, and then 1012 out of 5288 (19%) in 2008. Although it is interesting that the percentage of females to males has not changed much in Ontario.

Computer engineering is losing estrogen

I also compared the number of undergraduate degrees awarded to females in Ontario by discipline for 2005 and 2008. There were some increases and some decreases. I was surprised to see that the number of females in computer engineering had the largest decrease: from 128 in 2005 to 46 in 2008. Electrical and industrial/manufacturing also decreased. On the other hand, the largest increase was in chemical engineering from 157 to 221. Civil, mechanical, and materials also increased.

Embracing graduate studies

One last thing. I'm a graduate student myself, so I looked into the numbers. It turns out that in 2005, 700 out of 2737 (25%) master's and 415 out of 2149 (19%) doctoral degrees were awarded to females. In 2008 all the numbers decreased significantly: 386 out of 1556 (25%) master's and 80 out of 402 (20%) doctoral degrees. But notice this: the percentage of women has NOT changed very much. Yesss!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Are you an impostor?

What is the Impostor Syndrome?
According to good ol’ Wikipedia:
"Regardless of what level of success they may have achieved in their chosen field of work or study or what external proof they may have of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced internally they do not deserve the success they have achieved and are actually frauds. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they were more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be."

Last year at GHC2008, my favorite session was The Impostor Panel, where five incredibly successful women stood up one by one on stage and revealed that they were impostors. Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, mentions in her blog post about the panel:
“By talking about your experience, you have a chance to make a difference in others lives.”

So, Are you an Impostor?
My name is Serena, and I am an impostor.

I might not be your stereotypical nerd and I might not be the most tech-savvy geek in the world. I like the color pink, I like wearing dresses, and I like to paint my nails. But does that make me less of a geek?

I distinctly remember the first time I stepped into my first computer science class, almost four years ago. I had arrived early and I remember walking up to the big auditorium doors where the rest of the students were waiting to get in, and thinking "Why are there only guys here? Maybe this is the wrong classroom." I was seconds away from turning around, until I heard one of the students mention the course code. This was my class.

As I walked into the auditorium, I quickly scanned the rows for a friendly face to sit beside. I distinctly remember feeling like I stood out like a sore thumb in my bright pink t-shirt amid the crowd of males shuffling down the rows with their worn out black heavy-metal t-shirts and greasy hair.

And then I saw it; a friendly face waving at me, another female. We became friends instantly. We both went into the Computer Science program without taking any previous computer courses at all, and felt like we were falling behind quickly. After the first few weeks, we still had no idea what was going on in class and both failed our very first university midterm (though unfortunately not our last, ha!). What did we get ourselves into? We were convinced that people were beginning to whisper "what is SHE doing here, girls can't program". Unfortunately throughout the years, that feeling of insecurity never really went away.

We never felt like we belonged here, but we weren't going to give up that easily. I felt discouraged and disappointed, but I at least I wasn't alone. Assignments that only took about an hour for other students to finish, took us weeks to complete, but we always helped each other along the way. We were impostors in disguise, trying to fool everyone into believing that we belonged.

And now four years later, somehow we survived. Having that support network to motivate and encourage each other was vital for my success, and this became one of my main objectives in establishing the CU-WISE group on campus. Hopefully it can make a difference in someone else's life. We've already experienced so much success over the past two years, and are fortunate enough to be able to present a session at GHC this October.

Closing thoughts..
Why do we underestimate ourselves so much? Do others secretly feel the same way? Are we all impostors in disguise?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Want more women in open source? Try paying them.

Originally written for my personal blog regarding a "birds of a feather" session I ran at the 2009 Linux Symposium.

I think my talk on attracting women to open source went well enough. The room started out looking pretty sleepy and passive, but I'd managed to seed the crowd with some talkative friends, and once a couple of them got the ball rolling people got down to discussion in a good way.

I think the most interesting point made was that if we want more women in open source, we should really make an effort to pay them to do it. As someone who loves doing this as a volunteer, I want to protest, but think about it for a minute: What challenges do women face in open source? Feeling like they don't belong? Paying them is a pretty strong "we want you" signal, both to the woman herself and to others who might challenge her. Not having enough time because of other life-work commitments? Making it your paid gig makes this the "work" part of that equation, rather than some part that just doesn't quite fit. Fewer opportunities for mentoring? Again, having the structure of a company behind you can make it a lot easier to ask for help within a known structure rather than trying to guess the social norms of an open source project. There aren't many women? Well, hiring a few is a great way to get the ball rolling, hopefully making it easier for future women.

Paying women to do open source work isn't going to solve all our problems, but it cuts through a lot of the gordian knot that's there, which is awfully nice.

Of course, then the related problem is "how do we find women to hire?" There's a whole body of work around hiring diversely (which I thought was linked from the geek feminism wiki, but I don't actually see those links at a glance -- anyone want to add them or send me a pointer?), but one of the things I started with talking about was extending an invitation. I don't want to say that women need an invitation, but the benefits of specifically advertising to women are a bit more subtle than that. The big thing is that your message is more likely to get out to more women: If someone tells me they're looking for people, I'll pass around the job to a few friends who might be interested. If someone tells me they're looking for women, I'm more likely to mention it to the larger women's communities I'm involved with. And those women are then more likely to pass it on to their communities... But beyond the exposure, the fact that you're specifically looking for women tells me that at least someone in your company cares about the problem, and is working to solve it. Way to make you sound like a more attractive employer at a glance. Do women need an invitation? Maybe not. But can a female-specifc invitation help your organization attract women? Definitely.

Most of the rest of the discussion was stuff I've heard before, although perhaps new to the assembled folk who may not get bombarded with this stuff regularly.

Unfortunately, I realised halfway through the discussion that I really, honestly, am sick of talking about this. Thankfully, by the time I hit that point the discussion was well away on its own and I had little to do other than point at people. I talk about feminism and geek issues all the time with my CUWISE women, but standing up at a conference where the totals were maybe two hundred folk and maybe less than 10 other women? I won't lie -- it was really disheartening.

I had a great time otherwise, though. Despite being the only girl in a gaggle of guys nearly every day, I never feel out of place with those people. It has always been my fellow open source folk that make the linux symposium worthwhile.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pervasive Gender Bias with Science

From the Butler University Computer Science and Software Engineering "women-in-it announcement" list server

Citizens in 34 Countries Show Implicit Bias Linking Males More Than Females with Science
A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that implicit stereotypes, thoughts that people are unwilling to express or not even know they have, can have a significant impact on gender equity in science and mathematics participation and performance. The international study, which involved more than 500,000 participants from 34 countries, found that 70 percent of people harbor implicit stereotypes that associate science with males more than females. In countries where the stereotype was believed the most fervently, boys achieved a higher level in eighth-grade science and math.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Her Code: Engendering Change in Silicon Valley

Saw this video via a friend on Facebook.
Video featured on
Some of the most noteworthy and inspirational women in Silicon Valley sat down with Orange Labs' Pascale Diaine to discuss their journey and successes. This short video serves as a supplement to our more extensive research report of the same name. Short version of the report here:

Monday, July 13, 2009

A worldwide program that aims to increase the level of technological literacy in pre-university... let's get it started!

This article was written about the IEEE Region 7 Teacher in-Service Program Workshop in May 2009, attended by the following Ottawa Chapter WIE members:

(from left to right)
  • Barbora Dej, Carleton University M.Eng. candidate, Carleton WISE external affairs executive
  • Laura Mutu, Carleton University B.Eng candidate, WIE Carleton Chair 08/09, 09/10
  • Jennifer Ng, Project Manager at Abbott Point of Care, WIE Ottawa Chair 2009
  • Rosalyn Seeton, Carleton University M.A.Sc., Research Assistant, Carleton WISE outreach officer
What is TISP?
The IEEE Teacher in-Service Program (TISP) development workshop is designed for enthusiastic IEEE members, pre-university teachers, and any other individuals who wish to increase the level of technological literacy in their local schools and encourage pre-university students to pursue technical careers (including engineering). The goal is for IEEE members to develop and conduct TISP training sessions with teachers so that teachers can conduct the sessions with their students. The volunteer-teacher interaction is what makes TISP unique. This year the Region 7 IEEE TISP workshop occurred on May 15 and 16 in Montréal, Québec. For more information about the 2009 TISP Workshop in Montréal, including the agenda, presentations, and pictures, visit the following link:
How do you get in touch with your local educators or education representatives? Ask them out to dinner ...
written by Jennifer Ng

While on the discussion panel at the Montreal TISP R7 event, one of attendees asked me and other panelists: "so how do you recommend for us (IEEE) to prepare and get in touch with the local education people?" My tongue-in-cheek response was "Ask them out to dinner and talk to them". Sometimes the simplest solution just works best. Don't start thinking about what PowerPoint slides to include or what to wear. And I was quite serious with my answer given that is how it happened for the Ottawa Section.

I attended my first TISP workshop in 2004 (held by R1 in Boston) and I was an invited guest speaker at the Education Summit held in Munich in November 2007. From my experience, I knew that it would be pointless to hold a workshop about education without having the educators themselves introduced, engaged and involved. When putting together the Ottawa Section delegation, it was important to have a balance of volunteers and interested educators.

Through one of my speaking engagements (my first WIE Carleton event) in Ottawa, I met Rosalyn Seeton and found out that she is the coordinator of YSTOP (Youth Science and Technology Outreach Program). YSTOP is a government program that funds projects to connect youth with science and technology mentors and it is where all the Ottawa school boards were well represented. Through her contacts and many emails later, I e-introduced myself and IEEE briefly. Eventually, after securing funding from the SSIT (Society on Social Implications of Technology) local chapter, I invited the school board representatives and a few IEEE volunteers to an informal dinner where I could give them more information about IEEE and TISP. The dinner was very well attended and we were able to casually discuss our common goals and initiatives as well as make plans for the upcoming TISP R7 event in Montréal.

My advice to all aspiring TISP champions and volunteers out there: first seek to understand (à la Stephen Covey) what your local educators need before trying to overwhelm them with all the greatness of IEEE and TISP. Non-engineers can be quite intimidated by us so be conscious of each other's role in this partnership: theirs is to follow a curriculum set by the government bodies - while enthusiastically engaging the next generations to follow STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers - and our role is to assist in filling any gaps or any incertitude that they might encounter.

I am quite lucky to have a very active small group of WIE members in Ottawa who continuously amaze me with their ideas, talent and energy. Please read on to what they have to say about their perspectives on the event.

TISP Online Resources

written by Barbora Dej is the IEEE pre-university education portal for counselors, teachers, parents, and students. It is the main resource for the TISP program and is available in 7 languages: Chinese, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, French, and English. I browsed through the different resources and here is a run-down of the website's features:

  • opportunities to explore the field of engineering including how to become an engineer, what it's like to be an engineer, what are the different engineering disciplines, as well as information about engineering societies
  • a university search for accredited engineering programs all over the world
  • opportunities to ask an expert (an engineer or undergraduate) a question and includes a frequently asked questions section
  • approved lesson plans for teaching engineering and design (many translated in the available languages)
  • student opportunities ranging from summer camps and competitions to internships and research positions
  • links to online engineering games
  • a mailing list and newsletter
Unfortunately, I found very few listings in Canada in the student opportunities section: 4 pre-university (all in Toronto), 0 undergraduate, 0 graduate. Now I'm very proud of all that Canada has going on for students in engineering, and this almost empty list just doesn't cut it. So I'd like to do something about it, but I need your help. I invite you all to submit major listings in your regions by clicking on "submit a listing". So far, as part of her very valuable role as Carleton University WISE outreach officer, I asked Rosalyn Seeton to submit major pre-university opportunities available in Ottawa. With the millions of hits this website gets per year, I think Canada deserves to be better represented.

Hands-on TISP activities at the event

written by Rosalyn Seeton

During the Region 7 TISP meeting in Montreal all participants had the opportunity to try out two hands on TISP activities from the approved lesson plans available online at Activities are designed with an age guideline so that competencies are matched appropriately, but all TISP Montreal participants were adults and had either an engineering or a teaching background.

The first activity we did was called "All About Electric Motors" and we got to build an electric motor. The suggested age range is 10-18 years and this lesson addresses principles of electric motors, magnetism, and electric currents. A toy motor kit with all the required parts is provided to each participant and the main task is assembling the kit appropriately. While this may sounds simple enough, the activity was actually fairly challenging and most participants did not get the chance to successfully complete their motor in the allotted time. While the final product is actually pretty neat, the drawback to this activity is that there are too many opportunities for the assembly to go wrong. While the instructions are detailed, they can be confusing at times and if certain pieces are not assembled perfectly, the motor will not function properly in the end. An extraordinary amount of dexterity, patience, attention to detail, and perseverance are needed in order to achieve a positive outcome from the assembly of the motor. While some students would find this activity quite rewarding, I would anticipate that about half of your average high school class would get frustrated or lose interest midway through. However, there is a substantial amount of supporting documents for this lesson that explore the principles and applications of electric motors. The hands on activity is only one aspect of the lesson and if presented in the right light, I believe it could be very rewarding. I would recommend it as an activity for older students (grades 10-12) or for advanced classes. Alternatively, if a class were divided into small groups and each group were given a mentor that had done the assembly before, students could be kept on track and avoid a lot of potentially painful mistakes.

The second activity was "Build Your Own Robot Arm". The age level for this lesson is 8-18 years and it aims to teach design concepts, the impact of technology on manufacturing, and soft skills like teamwork and problem solving. This activity has a very different feel to it; while the electric motor activity requires following a very strict set of instructions in order to succeed, the robot arm activity has no right or wrong answers. The basic activity is to build a mechanical arm with everyday household materials. The arm should have the ability to pick up objects by way of actuators that can be controlled by an operator at the opposite end of the arm. In keeping with design principles, an accompanying sketch of the prototype is also required. The activity was presented to our group as a mission charged to us by the Canadian Space Agency, but it could easily be adapted to other scenarios such as creating a prosthetic arm for an amputee or making the oscilloscope arm for a surgical robot. This activity was much more imaginative from start to finish and focused more on physically exploring what works and what doesn't. We were not told how to design anything, we were simply given a set of requirements and it was up to us to figure out how we would achieve them with the materials in front of us. When the facilitator deemed that it was time to add more challenging requirements, he stayed in character and had us witness one side of a phone call from head office in keeping with the Canadian Space Agency theme. The neat thing about this activity is that so many different solutions emerge from the challenge as each group approaches the problem in a unique manner. Teammates must work together and utilize each other's strengths, and while the designing and building requires a certain amount of focus, there is also the opportunity to interact with other groups at the table. In general, I think this activity positively illustrates what engineers do and it highlights the teamwork, communication, and problem solving aspects of the job. Participants also inadvertently learn about material properties such as strength, stiffness, and flexibility. I think this activity would be appropriate for all age groups. Though younger children may find the assembly aspect to be more challenging they might be less rigid in their thought process and find it easier to come up with creative solutions than older people might. I think it would be interesting to run this activity with a group, then teach them some of the principles covered by the activity (such as how an actuator works or how to strengthen a material by manipulating it appropriately), then have them do a similar activity again with their enhanced knowledge of design.

Behind the Scenes
written by Laura Mutu

The weather in Montreal was amazing on the first day of the conference. It was a perfect day to experience the city before the conference, which is what Carolyn, Rosalyn, Barbora, and I did. After a few hours of exploring we ended up wandering around the streets of downtown searching for the perfect Montreal chicken place. We would share, but our guide compelled us to keep it secret. All we can say is that it was worth the wild goose chase. Fortunately, we came back just in time to help at the registration desk, where we were happily impressed by the diversity of the attendees’ backgrounds and also, of the speakers.

During the dinner and the activities especially, we all had the chance to meet IEEE volunteers from all over Canada and the world. I found this a very enriching experience since we had the opportunity to learn about the different academic structures and the way various people perceive outreach. We all had a positive experience and left thinking about the ways in which we can contribute to the TISP. This conference showed us that the path to success can be easier and more enjoyable than at first glance through persistence and positivism.

While leaving the beautiful city of Montreal, we suddenly decided to turn back and visit the old port. Unfortunately, our guide lost her compass, most certainly because of the heavy rain, so after an hour or so of driving around the outskirts of Montreal, being delayed by stop signs, red lights and one way streets, we decided to let go and head back to Ottawa.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Connecting business to graduate students

Yesterday's Ottawa Citizen had an article about a program that I've heard of before at University of Ottawa's Fostering Cleantech Collaborations event in June. The program is called Accelerate Canada organized by MITACS (Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems, based in Vancouver). Here are a few snippets of info from the article:

Founded to encourage more math professionals to embrace innovation and tackle real industry problems, MITACS soon saw an opportunity to plug scientist of all kinds into commercial research. Accelerate now harnesses the intellectual horsepower of thousands of graduate students and connects them to real research projects at a price point that is hard to resist.

The beauty of Accelerate is it's made for companies of any size (Bombardier, IBM, Shell Canada and Manitoba Hydro are all clients), but priced for small businesses. A four-month internship costs companies $7,500 (federal and provincial governments chip in to match that amount, thus meeting Accelerate's fee of $15,000). For that price, a company gets help describing its project, links to the best sources of help, the services of a grad student for four months (including some expenses), and hands-on monitoring by a university professor.

The goal is to expose grad students to real-world research problems and develop scientific breakthroughs for Canadian business. Accelerate also ensures the students understand business by offering training in entrepreneurship, communications and project management.

So if you're interested in working for a company for a few months, get a professor to join forces with you and give MITAC a shout!

The New Chic Geek

This guest post was contributed by Tara Miller, who writes about an online science degree. She welcomes your feedback at TaraMillerr00 at

The science field has found it to be increasingly difficult to both attract women to the industry and keep them on once they are in it. With so many stipulations of women’s role in society, many of which remain in effect to this day, women have been forced to choose between a career and family over the past decades. This is not an easy choice to make, and many who are in the science academia field have had to fight their way to tenure, forcing them to put off raising a family or even becoming deeply involved in any personal relationships. However, more and more women have begun to prove themselves in the science industry, accurately balancing work and life, resulting in the new “chic geek”.

The science industry has enjoyed the attention it has been receiving since the start of the new [US] presidential administration. The heightened focus on science has come about as a result of the economic crisis, with science seemingly becoming the only way out of the dark. The Obama administration has therefore tried to make the field more appealing to recent grads, as well as encourage the amount of resources major projects receive. Appealing to women has thus far been a more difficult endeavor because of the many statistics that prove the field tends to harm their family life; it has become painfully obvious that achieving a PhD and later gaining tenure in a research science field drastically impairs a woman’s ability to have a stable family life. So far, only 44 percent of women in the industry are married with children, compared to 70 percent of men in comparable positions. This is indicative of an age-old battle that has been going on since women entered the business world: the balance of family and work.

While many women are forced to put their careers on hold in order to raise new children, most men have not had to make such a choice regarding their future. Unless you want to seemingly neglect your children for a large part of their lives, you will be forced to take some time off work, thereby falling behind other contenders for your future spot. The science industry has begun to find ways to cater to the new woman in the workplace in an effort to draw more people in general into the field. The Obama administration has worked to put into effect an executive order that would provide added family leave and parental benefits to recipients of federal grants, including many of the research scientists that have been struggling to keep up with their unmarried coworkers. Attracting women to the science field should not be as difficult as it has become (high school girls demonstrate increased knowledge of the science field but get turned away from it by grad school), but with the new administration’s focus on the science industry, we will hopefully garner more women into the field.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

IT Works to Dispel Nerdy Image to Students

From ACM CareerNews Alert for July 7 2009.

IT Works to Dispel Nerdy Image to Students
Toronto Star, June 29

In Canada, the ICT sector is trying to shed its “nerdy” image, in the hopes of luring the tech-savvy millennial generation back to computer science careers. In response to declining enrollment in computer-related programs, the Canadian Coalition for Tomorrow’s ICT Skills conducted a survey of Grade 9 and 10 students across Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax) to find out their opinions on the ICT field. The results, released early June, showed the extent to which ICT must reinvent itself. While roughly three-quarters of students believe the tech industry offers good salaries and job stability, only 39% found ICT careers appealing, and even fewer found them interesting.

The problem, the Canadian researchers found, was that most teenagers really don't know what it means to be involved with the computer science field. As a result, young people are stuck with an outdated vision of the field that is not very alluring. Educators say the key to getting students excited about technology is to bring technologies students use every day, such as cell phones, into the classroom. In some classes, for example, students learn to create games on their phones. These programs, launched after a dramatic drop in demand for computer science, have created a buzz among students, with many graduates going on to computer-related studies and settling on careers in technology. In time, other school systems may adopt similar types of programs as they develop new best practices.

Click Here to View Full Article

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Linux Symposium discounts available

We've talked a bit about unfortunate incidents of inappropriate behaviour at conferences. But today, I want to point out a tech conference that's trying to help! The Linux Symposium, recognizing that there have been fewer registrations from women in recent years, is offering discounts to female attendees.

I'm reposting my post to the linuxchix announcement list below, in case any of you are interested in coming out. The student registration fees aren't too onerous, but if you ask nicely you might be able to get an additional discount as a WISE member too.

The Linux Symposium would like to offer special deals members of Linuxchix and UbuntuWomen, particularly because many female attendees have lost funding in recent years.

If you're interested in attending but cost has been a factor, please contact info(at) before registering to get the discount.

The Linux Symposium (formerly the Ottawa Linux Symposium, but being held in Montreal this year) is a conference that I often find interesting and useful in surprising ways. For me, the real benefit has been in meeting other linux folk in person, so even if the technical talks seem to be outside of your interests or over your head, it may still be worth coming to meet the people!

I'm going to be doing a very linuxchix-inspired BOF about attracting women to open source, and we usually try to do a linuxchix dessert night too. I'd love to see more women out! And please don't feel shy about saying hi or joining me and whoever I'm with for lunch/dinner/whatever if you come and would like some people to hang out with!