Here you will find answers to questions we commonly receive. If you have a question not listed below, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
What does “women-only” mean?
Our women-only events are open to cis and trans women, and non-binary individuals.
Why do you sometimes hold women-only events?
Holding events which are only open to women helps some women deal with exceptionalism and stereotype threat.
There are a few categories of events that the Undergraduate Committee generally chooses to keep women only. These include: workshops, networking, and mentoring or discussion circle-style events.
Women are often excluded from these kinds of events when held by other organizations. This is sometimes because of unconscious biases playing a part in the admissions process, or because some women do not feel comfortable at these events when they know the majority of attendants will be men (see our link on stereotype threat above). We find that holding these events as women-only is a way to alleviate this issue a little for women in our community.
Another reason that we hold women-only technical events is called letting the side down. It allows women to learn in an environment where they are in the majority, where they can participate actively, ask and answers questions, and make mistakes without worrying that others interpreting the mistakes as evidence that women are inferior at computing.
It's true that it is important to educate people (including and sometimes especially men) about the issues faced by women in STEM fields. However, as is stated in our constitution, "[WiCS] seeks to build a supportive community for cis and trans women and non-binary individuals in computer science." Although this does occasionally include educating and spreading our message to the populous at large, it also includes creating spaces and events where these individuals feel comfortable attending and contributing. WiCS often holds events that are open to anyone, including panels and talks by prominent women in the field.
We would love to see other organizations at our school hold workshops and skill building events that are similar to ours, but open to all genders! If this is something you would like to see, we suggest you reach out to the UW CSClub, or check out organizations such as AppDev club. We are Women in Computer Science, and our top priority will always be the women of our community.
Our women-only events are not publicly advertised and we always specify very explicitly if an event is going to be women-only.
How can I get involved?
Please see the Volunteer Opportunities section on our About page. You can sign up to be a volunteer and read about our current volunteer opportunities here!
Do you have resources to learn more about women in tech?
We have a library with feminist resources including:
- Quarterly publications from Model View Culture
- Your Startup is Broken - Collected Essays by Shanley Kane
- The Recompiler
They are available to read during office hours.
Where can I give my feedback about WiCS?
We're always open to hearing your feedback! Feel free to fill out our feedback form with any suggestions or concerns you have. You can fill it out anonymously.
I have a food sensitivity. Can you accomodate me at catered events?
Yes, we would be happy to! Please try to notify us of your allergies at least a week in advance of the event. We usually have vegetarian, vegan, halal, and gluten-free options available.
What is the difference between this WiCS group and the at-large committee?
The Women in Computer Science Undergraduate Committee (this group) is a subcommittee of the Women in Computer Science Committee, a standing committee of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. While the larger committee is dedicated to supporting all women in computer science at the University of Waterloo, including incoming students, graduate students, faculty, and staff, we focus primarily on undergraduates.
The at-large WiCS committee also serves as an advocacy group, working with many different areas within the School of Computer Science such as curriculum-building, recruiting, and student engagement. The WiCS Undergraduate Committee primarily focuses on supporting women enrolled or interested in computer science programs at the University, building community and promoting a dialogue around women's issues and diversity at the undergraduate level.
Does WiCS ever work with external organizations, such as companies?
Yes! Occasionally, the WiCS Undergraduate will work with companies that reach out and want to help out with events and other things that require funding.
To read more about this, you can visit our sponsorship page.