Congratulations to Letizia Jaccheri, vice president of TC14, for winning the 2021 Norwegian ODA Prize, which honours exceptional women who have made concrete contributions to increase diversity in the technology industry. 

Winners of the award must be good ambassadors for ODA’s values of Inspiration, Bravery, Empowerment and Passion.

A Professor of the Department of Computer Science at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Jaccheri has founded or helped to nurture various initiatives to encourage more women to embrace careers in technology.

These include the IDUN Project, funded by Research Council of Norway and NTNU, Trondheim ACM’s Women in Computing Chapter, the European Network for Gender Balance in Informatics (EUGAIN) with participants from 38 countries, and the “Code Trail (Kodeløypa)” where young people learn about programming.

Jaccheri said her hard work is being rewarded.

“I have observed at my own Department of Computer Science the number of female students has grown from six per cent in the late 1990s to more of 30 per cent of Masters students and 50 per cent of PhD students in recent years,” she said.

However, across Europe the numbers are less encouraging. The European research project she’s leading, EUGAIN, shows that more than 80 per cent of students enrolling or graduating with a bachelor’s degree in informatics are male; when it comes to PhDs from all but a handful of European countries, women account for less than 25 per cent of the graduates from ICT programs.

Jaccheri said that it’s critical that society includes women in all areas of research, but especially science and technology, because it makes a difference in people’s lives.

“My topic of research is software engineering. If the goal is to provide software that will improve lives for everyone in society, everyone has to be involved in the creation of the software requirements and the implementation, testing, deployment of software,” she said. “In technology, there are a number of examples of technology that provide solutions for men that do not work for women. We are changing this.”

Since the beginning of 2020, Jaccheri has been on the board of Informatics Europe and has led the Women in Informatics Research and Education (WIRE) Working Group. She is also the Norwegian representative and Vice President of IFIP TC14 on Entertainment Computing since 201 and organised IFIP ICEC 2015 in Norway. Jaccheri has published more than 100 papers in international conferences and journals, and has taught courses in software engineering at various levels since 1994.


Image: Professor Letizia Jaccheri (Image Credit: Kai T. Dragland NTNU)