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WiDS Posts | October 22, 2019

Celebrating 5 years of WiDS: From Conference to Movement

The Women in Data Science (WiDS) initiative began in November 2015 with a one-day technical conference, featuring outstanding women doing outstanding work. As we prepare for our 5th WiDS conference in 2020, WiDS is movement, with a worldwide conference, global datathon, podcast series, and education outreach programs.

Each year, we impact more people in more places around the world, including people who have told their WiDStories.

During our first five years, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in WiDS, either as attendees, ambassadors, datathon participants, or podcast listeners. And we’re just getting started!

WiDS goals remain the same

  • To inspire participants worldwide about exciting areas of research and application in data science by highlighting role models and demonstrating the plethora of opportunities in the field.
  • To educate all participants — regardless of gender — about the latest research and state-of-the-art technologies, challenges, and future trends.
  • To support women in the field of data science — whether as practitioners in industry or researchers and educators in academia — helping them to gain exposure for their work, increase networking connections, and energizing them to continue to pursue opportunities related to data science and AI.

Global WiDS Conference
The Global WiDS Conference features hundreds of outstanding women in academia, industry, government and nonprofits doing innovative technical work in data science, AI and related technical fields. The main conference is held at Stanford University every March, typically just prior to International Women’s Day, and shared around the world via livestream and Facebook Live.

WiDS regional events are held around the world in conjunction with the main conference at Stanford. These events are organized and hosted by like-minded volunteers, called WiDS ambassadors. If you’d like to bring WiDS to your cohort, colleagues, or community, apply to become a WiDS ambassador.

Global Datathon
Beginning in 2018, the WiDS Datathon aimed to inspire women worldwide to learn more about data science, create a supportive environment to connect with others in their community who share their interests.

The WiDS Datathon is hosted on Kaggle, using a predictive analytics challenge focused on social impact. With the inaugural datathon, over 75% of the participants surveyed were new to datathon competitions, and half of the teams were comprised of 100% women.

The WiDS Datathon 2019 featured an image classification challenge, asking participants to predict if there is an oil palm plantation in each chip of the image. WiDS ambassadors held datathon events in multiple locations in order to form teams, and mentor participants. In all, more than 200 teams participated, with winners hailing from 6 countries over three continents.

The WiDS Datathon 2020 will feature a healthcare dataset. To receive notification of the challenge, subscribe to the WiDS Datathon list.

WiDS Podcast
In 2018, first episode of the WiDS podcast was published as a way to continue the conversations begun during the annual WiDS conference, and to inspire women and girls worldwide to join the data science field. In the podcast series, Professor Margot Gerritsen interviews female leaders across the data science profession, as they share their advice, career highlights, and lessons learned along the way.

In all 18 podcast episodes will all be launched by the end of 2019. The WiDS podcast has been named a New and Notable podcast by KDNuggets, and has earned a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Apple Podcasts. Tune in, and get inspired by the WiDS podcast.

Join the WiDS global movement
No matter where you are, you can be part of the WiDS movement.