Exactly my feelings. Thanks, Chiara for your e-mail. 


On Mon, Sep 9, 2019 at 10:47 AM Chiara Petrioli <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Honestly speaking I don't think we will obtain much even from the press conference they have organized.
As Tiziana says it will be institutional. Apart for the problem of institutionally covering also ACM (in the guidelines in preparation for the future I think we should state communication is  an important activity, ACM representatives should be informed of organization of press conference and an ACM designated representative should be present) I think this conference will translate into 'institutional coverage',in the newspapers, i.e. a few lines here and there before the event, which is of course important but it is different wrt implementing a long lasting comm strategy.

For this I think it will be important to have a press release of half a page maximum with ACM key messages and the other thing we may consider  doing is to send someone representing ACM. Unfortunately I will be in Houston. Maybe we could ask either Paola Inverardi or Enrico Nardelli as past ACM Europe Council elected members. Please let me know if it is a good idea. In case we should give a try to immediately reach out for one of them or if it is too late/would make explicit the fact we don't trust proper messages will be conveyed and thus we should not do at this stage (I can understand reasons in both directions so I would go with majority) the only thing I think we can try is to write for **Paola** few lines covering max 1 minute of her 5 on ACM-WE. Knowing Paola if we do for her she will read.

Said this an event like this one should from a communication perspective start a process that allows to follow up with different coverages. This goes into the direction of more general media strategy. It means engaging other types of journalists, engaging them through stories, e.g., of the female examples who are speakers for instance, covering some of these, have contacts with international media (at least ten key media across Europe), possibly in synergy with EC, promote stories of successful women over the year, exploiting ACM Womencourage but as an important milestone of our yearly activity in this direction. It is difficult to do it through volunteers **unless** we engage as volunteers some journalists.

I think we can discuss this in Rome.

Il giorno lun 9 set 2019 alle ore 11:07 Cigdem Sengul <[log in to unmask]> ha scritto:
I have removed Paola, Tiziana and Marco to reflect on Tiziana’s criticism.

I think it’s a just point. While we focus on communications mostly through our channels, we have not much talked about wider press coverage as ACM-We. 

What is ACM’s general support for such activities? From finding outlets to helping to tune the message to media training? I believe Tiziana is pointing out the lack of this in her email. And we should think if there is anything we can do as ACM.


On Mon, 9 Sep 2019 at 09:21, Natasa Milic-Frayling <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear Tiziana,

I fully understand the situation. The issue is that this press event, even though local, refers to womENcourage explicitly and mentions the ‘three days of rich programme’ for women, etc. So, by its nature immediately implies ACM and ACM-WE even though the local politicians are not interested in referring to it and want to drive their agenda. (Well, we received very generous local support and this is now the pay back).


This is not the first time that the women activities and issues are ‘hijacked’ for political purposes. Everyone wants women votes (yes, now that we can vote it is 100% more votes to get J).


I would suggest to get in touch with the ‘moderator’/coordinator of the press conference (if there is one) tomorrow morning before the event and tell them what you and Paola want to talk about. If they start with the negative position (as stated in the brief), I would not go straight into arguing against it but gradually bring a number of points (well, in the document there are 7. I am sure you will be able to offer more J) that dissolve that position as simplistic, imprecise, etc. without even arguing.


If you allow me, I would share one piece of wisdom when it comes to press (I learnt it and practiced in the past). No matter what the question is and how provoking, wrong or tricky it may be, it can be ignored politely by saying,  ‘this is an interesting point. But let me tell you …” Then you simply talk about what you want to talk about J. Politicians do that all the time - just watch them.


So,  you and Paola can turn things around and talk about all the positive things that you have done as part of ACM womENcourage organization and the exciting interdisciplinary research that attracts women, featuring local research leaders (e.g., Chiara). It would be great to mention inviting girls to the  hackathon to inspire them and create a pipeline of talent that is interested in computing. And, of course, Sapienza is a centre of excellence with many women serving as role models, including yourself, Paola, and Chiara. So, there is plenty of great stuff to talk about.


The fact is that we are all part of the gradual process of women engagement with ICT and in general with professional choices. If politicians want to argue that they will improve conditions to get women into the ICT workforce faster (despite our ‘resistance’ to it, as they claim) and get those EUR 9B economic growth, let them promise that. I expect, that is what they want to achieve with this event.


All the best,



Prof Natasa Milic-Frayling – Chair, ACM-WE mobile: +44 787 0566 404 – email: [log in to unmask] – skype: natasa-milic-frayling



From: Tiziana Catarci [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 09 September 2019 07:06
To: Natasa Milic-Frayling <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: Paola Velardi <[log in to unmask]>; Chiara Petrioli <[log in to unmask]>; Cigdem Sengul <[log in to unmask]>; Marco Merola <[log in to unmask]>; [log in to unmask]; Olja Rastic-Dulborough <[log in to unmask]>; Natasa Milic-Frayling <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: ACM-WE: Supporting document for the PR Event on Tue, 10 Sept


Hi Natasa, I am in Berlin now giving a keynote talk at IEEE ICCE and will be on aflight tonight, so unfortunately cannot deal with this issue.

While I understand your points, please note that this is an Italian press conference, there will be local politicians speaking, our Rector, etc., so it is not intended to be the ACM press conference and we do not have a full control on it.

Insteas, we would appreciate more coverage on media about the event by ACM and ACM-WE, it was really scarce since now.



Il dom 8 set 2019, 23:41 Natasa Milic-Frayling <[log in to unmask]> ha scritto:

Dear Paola and Tiziana,

As promised, I am sending you a press briefing document that, I hope will be helpful to you when taking part in the PR event on Tue about womENcourage 2019 and Women in ICT. We obtained details about the event (in Italian) and thanks to Google Translate J got a better idea what is involved.


We expect that you have lots of experience with the press and know well the journalists who will be present. So, we will leave to you to judge what you can bring up during the discussion.  


With the enclosed document we just wanted to assist with two things

-          The briefing statement, which unfortunately, is not very flattering to women in computing (explained below)

-          Facts and information about ACM, ACM Women, ACM Women Europe, womENcourage - we compiled information in one place so that you do not need to browse web pages, etc.  


If you would like to discuss any of these, I am available tomorrow evening, after my meetings (I am in Denmark at the moment). Below I explain the rationale behind the arguments put forward in the briefing document.


The matter of gender in computing is very delicate and ‘popular’ with governments and press. We want to make sure that press related to ACM-WE womENcourage is in no way offensive to women in our professional community. I am sure you think the same and will make sure that does not happen.


All the best on Tuesday, and keep us posted J.

Best regards,



Prof Natasa Milic-Frayling – Chair, ACM-WE – mobile: +44 787 0566 404 – email: [log in to unmask] – skype: natasa-milic-frayling


Press Conference on womENcourage 2019  - Tue, 10 Sept’19


TOPIC:             ACM WomENcourage 2019.

                           WOMEN IN ICT PROFESSION. NOT ENCOURAGING AT ALL.               

Digital transformation affects all sectors of society and produces extraordinary changes in the most diverse areas. Women, however, are self-excluded from this process, because they choose not to acquire the computer skills that are crucial. European data for 2018 show that there are only 24 out of 1000 ICT graduates in total (2.4%) of which only 6 actually work in the sector. It is estimated that with a female percentage in ICT equal to that of men, European GDP would increase by about 9 billion a year.


Normally, it is not advisable to engage in discussions that start with such a strong negative statement. This essentially says

-          Women are willingly not engaging, even though there are so many interesting opportunities

-          Women are not skilling themselves

-          If they did, the economy will bloom (increase by EUR 9B) but women are not engaging.


However, I am optimistic that this is not intentionally done to demean women but to argue that it is important to make women interested in the subject. That, of course, would then lead to the discussion of programmes for girls, etc. that I believe you would like to cover.


Nevertheless, all the statements above would be rather disconcerting to professional women. I, personally, would insist on changing the statement to allow a proper debate instead of having to defend the negative position. For example, the discussion could be:

-          There are ways of promoting a specific profession and motivating participation of all the members of the society.

How effective are government’s and professional communities’ efforts to increase women participation in the field of computing.  

That is a fair and open discussion where one can bring positive and negative aspects.


If, however, the brief remains as is, from womENcourage and ACM-WE perspective we want to respond through seven points we put in the document. In essence, they involve the following arguments:


-          One cannot accuse women for ‘self-excluding’, i.e., not engaging, since there are many factors that influence professional decisions (not just women ‘will’).

-          Computing field is still ‘young’ and evolving (much younger than medical field, for example, where we find many professional women).

-          It has been recognized that educational programmes need to change to increase computational literacy across the board and establish interest among students.


-          Participation of women in the workforce is changing with the socio-economic factors.

-          When the conditions are right  (there are opportunities and there are no barriers that individuals cannot remove themselves) women will make choices and will be able to engage. ICT industry is no exception.  


-          ACM, as the largest international organization of computing professionals, is concerned with supporting ICT professionals in achieving skills, adhering to high standards, and having  fruitful and fulfilling professional engagements.

-          ACM Women is an ACM Council that focusses on supporting and recognizing achievements of professional women in particular. With ACM Women Europe, as a regional committee, ACM reaches to women across European countries.

-          womENcourage is ACM-WE flagship Celebration of Women in Computing that enables students and junior professionals to network and exchange knowledge and experience with established ICT professionals. Thus, it directly contributes to the sustained participation of women in the field of computing.


From: Natasa Milic-Frayling [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 06 September 2019 17:57
To: 'Paola Velardi' <[log in to unmask]>; 'Tiziana Catarci' <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: Bev Bachmayer <[log in to unmask]>; Chiara Petrioli <[log in to unmask]>; 'Natasa Milic-Frayling' <[log in to unmask]>; Cigdem Sengul <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: RE: Numbers from Previous years - supporters?


Dear Paola and Tiziana,

We just had our Executive Committee update meeting and Bev informed us about the exciting press opportunity that you have on 10 September.


We would be very pleased to share with you any information that would be useful to you in representing the mission of womENcourage and ACM-WE in reaching out to professional women. Historical overview is certainly a good way to put things into perspective. It would be important, however, to provide it with some context.


I am including Chiara on this email since she is a member of our Executive Committee (well, she wears a couple of ACM hats and many more outside ACM J). Together we can consider the important talking points that you are planning to put forward.  There is a lot to say about the excellent work that you have done and the fantastic support that you have garnered to enable the event.  


Let us know what might be the best way to connect and flesh things out. I am available tomorrow and Sunday morning, if a skype call with Chiara and myself would be beneficial. Otherwise we can use email.


It would also be helpful to have more details about the timing of the press event so that our Communication & Outreach team led by Cigdem (on cc) can amplify on social media. Essentially, we can increase the visibility further if we coordinate the ‘advertisement’ of it and can quote in English some of the key points you make.


Best regards,


Prof Natasa Milic-Frayling – Chair, ACM-WE – mobile: +44 787 0566 404 – email: [log in to unmask] – skype: natasa-milic-frayling


From: Bev Bachmayer [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 06 September 2019 17:03
To: 'Paola Velardi' <[log in to unmask]>; 'Tiziana Catarci' <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: 'Natasa Milic-Frayling' <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: RE: Numbers from Previous years - supporters?


Paola, Tiziana,


Natasa would like to review the presentation and messages prior to you presenting this message on Tuesday.  Can you please send what you have put together.




From: Paola Velardi <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, September 6, 2019 12:28 PM
To: Bev Bachmayer <[log in to unmask]>; Tiziana Catarci <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Numbers from Previous years - supporters?


Perhaps we could also add the number of supporters? do you have these numbers for previous years?


Il giorno ven 6 set 2019 alle ore 09:57 Bev Bachmayer <[log in to unmask]> ha scritto:

I will update my chart and it would be great if you could send us your presentation so we can archive it in the drive.




On Fri, 6 Sep 2019, 09:10 Paola Velardi, <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Bev, thanks. Please note accepted posters are 80, presenting 77 (as per https://womencourage.acm.org/2019/posters/), sumbitted 123.  Registrations 360 as per today.


Il giorno gio 5 set 2019 alle ore 20:29 Bev Bachmayer <[log in to unmask]> ha scritto:

Hi Paola,  Tiziana,


Here is the data from the past 5 years for the event.  I understand that you will be using these for a press event on the 10th.


Note that most years about 75% of the attendees are students with 67% being graduate students.  I am still trying to extract that type of data from CVENT for this year,  will be interesting to see the differences considering the large number of scholarships.


I hope this is the information that you were looking for.







womENcourage in Numbers-



No registration fee


Registration fee


Small registration fee


Registration fee


Registration fee





207 (256 reg.)

163 (193 reg.)

100 (110 reg.)

184 (200 Reg)



Scholarships Awarded

54 (of 114)

53 (of 66)

42 (56)


20 (of 75)



49 (of 119)

43 (of 50)

32 (of 39)


38 accepted (of 44)











Bev Bachmayer

Supporter Chair womENcourage 2014-2019

Chair womENcourage Steering Committee





Chiara Petrioli, Professor
Director, SENSES Lab
Director, CIS Cyber Physical Systems Lab
Computer Science Department
University of Rome La Sapienza

E-mail: [log in to unmask]