Words that are louder than words: WIDS 2018
For the second year in a row, I got the immense honor of participating as a speaker in Argentina’s Women in Data Science event.
These events are held globally and are meant to inspire people to join one of the most demanded job positions. Notice I say people first and then I can mention the women component of the event. The speakers can and should inspire everyone but the slots on stage are reserved only for women.
Clinical Genomics Insight
My talk was about the Clinical Genomics Insight prototype, built on the SAP Foundation for Health on SAP HANA.
Dr. Anja Bog, who not only leads data-driven contributions in Health but is also always willing to share her vast knowledge, introduced me to the topic and helped me set up my very own instance of the prototype. This instance was also used by Meredith Hassett, also very committed to supporting women in tech, in her hands-on session at WiDS Sillicon Valley.
The key explicit messages were two:
- The value and importance of combining genomic information, clinical research and medical records to aid prevention, diagnoses and treatment
- How this was technically enabled by SAP HANA and both the data sources and the platform are available to everyone in the shape of open data and the free license in the express edition.
Note: the recording of the session is coming soon
There was a very important, implicit message that we were all delivering and the reason why the slots are reserved for women.
You can do this too
Luckily for everyone, thick beards are not among the attributes needed to develop skills in the Data Science realm. However, a complex set of factors seem to push people not identifying with the male gender away from technical and scientific career paths. One of these factors seems to be the very low percentage of non-male presence in these fields.
Having so many women with different backgrounds telling their stories, sharing their struggles and, above all, being normal women who simply have a passion for what they do is, in my opinion, the loudest and most important of the messages.
Career panel with: Cecilia Galarza, Director of the Center for Computational SImulation of CONICET, Luciana Ferre, CONICET researcher and Constanza VIERE, student led by María José Compte.
It was amazing to watch Maria José Compte, responsible for SAP University Alliances and SAP Next Gen Labs for the SAP LAC South Region, lead the panel of researchers and students talk about the importance of diversity. It was even more fascinating to hear her point out how there were hardly any restrooms for women at that same building when she studied engineering not too long ago.
We have certainly made some progress and there is still a lot to do to increase diversity and equality in some fields.