Sharpening the Focus on Diversity at GHC16

Sharpening the Focus on Diversity at GHC16

By Mona Sabet
VP and General Manager, Grace Hopper Celebration

The Call for Participation (CFP) for the 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is officially open, and I can’t wait to see all the brilliant submissions that are sure to come in.

GHC has grown exponentially in recent years – there’s no bigger gathering of women technologists anywhere in the world. And each year, more and more of the women getting involved in GHC represent a greater range of communities, institutions and fields. I’m eager to see even more diversity at #GHC16.

In 2016, GHC is putting a greater focus on diversity than ever before. Time and again, it’s been shown that diversity fuels innovation, and there’s no better place to see this in action than at GHC.

GHC brings together some of the greatest minds in computing, and we continually strive to champion the perspectives of EVERYONE in the technology industry. That’s why fostering diversity across the board — from participants, speakers, scholars and the content we deliver — is fundamental to making GHC successful.

Here’s a look at what we’re doing to encourage more women and other underrepresented groups from all different backgrounds, genders and abilities to attend, participate in and speak at GHC16.

GHC16 CFP Process

This year, we are asking all submitters to share their race and ethnicity details on the GHC CFP submission form. While providing these details is optional, I strongly urge everyone who submits a proposal for GHC16 to take a moment to share this information. Understanding the makeup of who submits session proposals is a fundamental step toward changing the ratio and ensuring GHC truly represents the entire community of women in tech.


If a group decides to submit a panel presentation for GHC 2016, we now ask the panel coordinators to consider how the panel participants add to the diversity of the session and reflect diversity of the overall community.

We have added this question in hopes that it brings a more intentional focus on building a panel of truly diverse perspectives and experience around the session topic. Our review committees consider the answers to this question in their overall assessment of the session.

In fact, if you want to take a more active role in shaping the content for GHC16, we’re currently looking for volunteers to join our CFP review committees. Our committee members help us select sessions that appeal to the GHC audience and that reflect the whole community of women and other underrepresented groups in tech. These committees will also include members of our vibrant and diverse Systers community. is also collecting data on race and ethnicity in the nominations for ABIE award winners, for both our Women of Vision and GHC ABIE Awards. Learn more about the ABIE awards here.

Poster Sessions:

You don’t have to have worked in the tech industry for years to offer unique perspectives on cutting edge technology. GHC presents an incredible opportunity for students to present their research and solicit feedback from peers and experts at the Poster Session. Submit your proposal today.

GHC Scholarships:

GHC wouldn’t be the vibrant conference it is without the thousands of students who attend each year, representing schools across the U.S. and the whole world. I leave GHC each year feeling inspired and awed by the enthusiasm and innovative ideas students — many of them GHC scholars — bring to the table.

If you’re a student considering attending GHC16, apply for a scholarship. Are you a community college student? We’d love to have you at GHC16! The diverse range of students we host is one of the reasons GHC is such an enriching and valuable experience.


The amazing speakers that grace the GHC stage are always a highlight of the conference, and are visible role models for the thousands of women technologists who attend GHC each year. This year, we’re striving to reflect the full range of our audience in our speaker lineup, with more women technologists of color and other underrepresented minorities as keynote and plenary speakers on our main stage.

I encourage women of all backgrounds to consider how they can share their experience and expertise to our audience at GHC, and submit a proposal to speak.

I can’t wait to see you all at GHC16. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing your submissions and scholarship applications for this exciting, inspiring celebration of our work as women technologists.

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