Beyond the glass ceiling : Gender Equality pre-Hackathon

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Diversity and Gender Equality Hackathon (Fall 2017)

Our current society is dominated by hierarchy, exclusivity and group membership, resulting in culture clashes and conflicts. If we’ve learned anything from Hackathons it’s that inclusiveness, diversity and transparency are invaluable in solving complex problems. So how inclusive are we in the real world? Gender equality is a prime example. Many of us pride themselves in being gender neutral but most measures that are meant to ensure equal opportunities are short-lived. Can we develop more sustainable measures and approaches to create equal opportunities?

We propose to run a Hackathon in the fall to put claims and measures of gender equality and diversity to the test. We want to create tools which we will provide to individuals and institutions to assess and monitor unidentified biases. For this we would like to bring together two groups who don’t normally work together. On the one hand, we would like to invite representatives from institutions who have tried and struggled to provide equal opportunities. On the other hand, we would like to invite hackers who specialise on data driven problem solving through an integrative and open source approach. Our goal is to develop machine learning models and simulations to identify the hidden factors that keep us from achieving sustainable diversity and efficiency. We hope to accelerate the social evolution/change that many of us have envisioned for years.

If you are interested in contributing to this Hackathon, either by helping us put it together or by participating in the Hackathon itself, please contact Kerstin Preuschoff (kerstin.preuschoff <at> unige.ch).

Proposed themes and approaches

1) Development of strategies of analysis, representation and communication (e.g. building upon machine learning), applied to public and institutional databases (e.g. Human Resource database); identification of innovative practical and effective solutions of organization and governance (e.g. based on the identification of incentives).

2) Ideal gender equality promotion model, in theory and in practice in actual organizations, bottom up and top down construction and perspectives, with worldwide comparative approach (reaching at institutions willing to explain their system and its performance);

3) Software development for diagnosis of (un)equal opportunites, including identification of hidden variables, based on the analysis of institutional HR databases and BigData, with guidelines for optimal ontology/content of institutional database to maximize the power and validity of diagnostic tools;

4) Workshops on innovative funding mechanisms and recruitment strategies to promote equal opportunities with the aim of building a network of potential contributors, involving actual actors of the domain.

pre-Hackathon workshop (May 12, 2017)

Date, time and location

Friday, May 12 2017 from 12:00pm to 6:30pm and into the evening @ Campus Biotech Innovation Park

Aim of the pre-Hackathon (May 12, 2017)

Organizing and promoting a Gender Equality Hackathon for Fall 2017 in Geneva at Campus Biotech. Defining its scope, goals and potential participants. Research of partners and contributors, synergies, from individual hackers to institutions.

Schedule

12:00 pm: pre-pre-Hackathon luncheon

Session 1

1:00-1:15 pm Intro & organization of session 1 (Workshop 1 & 2)
1:15-2:15 pm workshop discussion session 1 (2 groups)
2:15-3:00 pm session 1 synthesis

3:00-3:30 pm Coffee break

Session 2

3:30-3:45 pm Intro & organization of session 2 (Workshop 3 & 4)
3:45-4:45 pm workshop discussion session 2 (2 groups)
4:45-5:30 pm session 1 synthesis

5:30-5:45 pm Coffee break

Session 3

5:45-6:30 pm global synthesis and planning session
6:30-7:30 pm post-pre-Hackathon dinner

Session 4

7:30 pm- … post-pre-Hackathon session: preparation of report and press release; open workshop

Session #1: Themes and questions

Workshop 1: “Self-monitoring gender-equality at universities”

  • Can we design a system / database that would make it easier for universities to detect gender biases and help correct them?
  • Can we develop software for diagnosis of Gender Inequality, including identification of hidden variables, based on the analysis of institutional HR databases and BigData, with guidelines for optimal ontology/content of institutional database to maximize the power and validity of diagnostic tools?
  • How would we go about this?
  • What would be needed? Data?

Workshop 2: “Actual universities of the present”

  • How do existing structures across the world integrate / promote gender neutrality?
  • What works / what doesn’t work?
  • When do women drop out in different systems and why?
  • What data would we need to assess these questions? Where would the data come from?
  • Who could be contacted?
  • How to create a database / platform for anonymizing and collecting the data to be accessed by Hackathon participants?
  • Brainstorm potential projects / questions to be addressed in the actual Hackathon -> hypotheses and envisioned outcomes.

Session #2: Themes and questions

Workshop 3: “The university of the future”

  • What would an ideal, gender-balanced university look like? Where are the largest discrepancies with today’s universities?
  • Ideal gender equality promotion model, in theory and in practice in actual organizations, bottom up / top down construction and perspectives (e.g. student versus deans), with worldwide comparative approach (interest in reaching institutions willing to explain their system and its performance).
  • Generate a list of guidelines.
  • Generate a list of things / topics that need to be considered within a university (e.g., admin, funding, organisational structure, IT, onsite-learning vs. online-learning, campus culture/community, academic environment, faculty system)
  • Extracting the most promising ideas. Could any aspects be adapted to existing concepts?

Workshop 4: “Budget constraints and gender inequalities”

  • Hiring and tenure decisions within a university often involve verbal or informal agreements that are frequently broken when there are unexpected budget constraints.
  • Are there patterns / processes / phenomena that result in promises/agreements made to women being broken first?
  • Are there differences in how promises / agreements are reached and documented when women vs. men are involved?
  • Are there differences in how much women / men insist on / fight for the agreement?
  • What data would we need? How would we obtain that data? (much of it won’t be captured in the system and is based on personal communication) How would we ensure objectivity and anonymity if the data source is personal communication?


Logistics

  • Date/Time : Friday the 12th of May 2017 from 12:00pm to 6:30pm and into the evening (date of the actual hackathon this Fall to be defined)
  • Venue: Campus Biotech Innovation Park, Avenue de Sécheron 15, 1202 Genève. https://www.campusbiotech.ch/en
  • Contact: kerstin.preuschoff <at> unige.ch and david.rudrauf <at> unige.ch