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Keynote 1: Re-thinking engineering for inclusiveness​​​​

ABSTRACT: One of the most transformative social phenomena in the last decades has been the effective incorporation of women into the workforce. This has a profound impact on the way we live and the roles that men and women have both in the personal and professional spheres. Women have increased their presence in many fields of knowledge and are beginning to gain positions with more decision power. Yet, in engineering degrees and in mostly in every technological field, women’s ratios of participation, far from increasing have declined in many countries. This has deep implications since technologies shape our everyday lives more and more.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to answer several questions in this regard: what is the responsibility of the educational system in girls not choosing engineering degrees? And in particular, what is the responsibility of the engineering schools? Should we rethink the way (the methods) and the substance (the contents) that we teach in engineering curricula? Moreover, is it possible to make engineering more inclusive to attract more female and diverse students?
In this talk, I will invite the audience to rethink engineering from its inception, this is, from the way it is taught and conceptualized from the universities’ standpoint. Even though universities should be inserted into society and respond to its needs, they also have the power and the responsibility to ignite positive changes in a virtuous spiral. First, we will inquire into some of the possible causes of this lack of balance. Then we will present some experiences in trying to reverse the situation.

Prof. Carmen Peláez-Moreno is currently an associate professor in the Signal Theory and Communications department of the Univ. Carlos III Madrid. In 2019, she earned the Full Professorship National Habilitation from ANECA and is the academic secretary of the Institute of Gender Studies of the University Carlos III of Madrid. She has also served as a scientific collaborator on the ICT panel for the Spanish Research State Agency (2018-2021). She was a visiting researcher in several institutions: Univ. of Westminster, London, Univ. of Strathclyde, Glasgow, the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, Univ. of Trento, and the University of Vienna, including two maternity gaps in 2005 and 2007.
Her research interests include speech and audio technologies recognition, affective computing, multimedia processing, machine learning, data analysis, information theory, and education where she is interested in bringing new methodologies that improve engagement and inclusiveness. Her work has been recognized with various prizes and awards: Best Ph.D. Thesis, Spanish Official Telecommunication Engineering Association, 2002, Best Journal paper (2nd position), 2002, Aula Uni2-Univ. Carlos III prizes, Best Conference Paper, ECIR co-located workshop FCAIR, Moscow 2013, Best Conference paper, 2015, ICFCA or Winner project in the XIII Edition of the Vodafone Innovation Awards ‘Connecting for Good’, 2019.