Software Testing Conferences and Women

Judit Jász and Árpád Beszédes
The question of gender equality is an increasing concern in all aspects of life these days. ICT has its peculiarities in this respect, as it is often regarded as a "male" discipline. Among the many different subfields of ICT, in this work we concentrate on software testing, an area in which a significant portion of all ICT professionals is engaged. Testing is an interesting field because according to certain views more women work in this area compared to other ICT fields. Since testing itself still covers a large topic involving education, research and industry, we further limit our analysis to software testing conferences and the rate of women participation in important roles at these venues. We looked at keynote speakers and chairs in different roles and program committees, but not the participants themselves as reliable data was available only for the former. We investigated if gender distribution was similar to or different from the reported data for ICT as a whole. We also compared the different types of conferences, academic and industrial, from this aspect. We have found, among other things, that gender ratio at software testing conferences is similar to other fields, but in more important roles such as keynotes, equality is more significantly maintained.

Keywords: Software testing conferences, academia-industry collaboration, women in testing, gender equality, women in ICT.