CITY Center for Collaborative Learning’s third Annual Fall Film Screening at the Loft Cinema on Wednesday evening will explore gender-based issues in computer science.
The event also includes hands-on coding activities, a robot raffle for girls and a post-screening panel discussion.
The documentary “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap,” was released in 2015 but is still relevant today, said Tim Grivois-Shah, director of professional learning and community engagement at the collaborative.
The three panelists, all local women, will discuss their experiences in the field of computer science.
University of Arizona senior Adriana Stohn wanted to be like her dad by pursuing a career in computer science. Parents and teachers in high school told her she’d be the only woman in class and that the math would be hard. She brushed it off.
But once her computer science classes began, she quickly learned how difficult it was to integrate herself with the boys’ social groups, she said. She switched to an optical sciences major where there were clubs that supported women in STEM.
Stohn joined the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Program at the UA, where she is now the Girls Who Code coordinator and lead facilitator for the program.
“It’s not just emotional consequences on students’ achievements,” Grivois-Shah said.“We know that people learn better when they’re connected.”
Jill Williams, WISE director and UA assistant professor in gender and women’s studies, will also sit on the panel. Williams describes herself as a feminist geographer.
After earning her master’s degree in women’s studies, she decided she wanted to be in an environment that would challenge her feminist background.
Williams began her Ph.D. in geography and found what she was looking for. She frequently had to defend her feminist approach to her research, she said.
Andrea Salazar is a web developer for the California-based Design Action Collective, which provides graphic-design and web-development services for organizations and movements driving social justice.
She is the main developer for the Black Lives Matter website and is consistently working to secure it. “It is constantly under attack,” she said.
Multiple times, people have called her looking for “Andrew,” “because they can’t fathom that I’m a woman,” she said.
During one job interview, she was offered the job and a low salary, she said.
“I immediately said no. They asked what (pay) would be reasonable, and I said, ‘three times that amount.’” They agreed, but she had already lost trust in them.
“The stories they were telling me sounded like ‘Twilight Zone’ versions of ‘I Love Lucy,’” Grivois-Shah said. “It’s one thing to show (these issues) as data. It’s another thing to hear it from women.”
The screening is part of the collective’s commitment to community engagement, Grivois-Shah said.
“We wanted a film that would spark conversations that needed to be had within the Tucson family.”