About ACM's Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computing
The ACM community encompasses everyone who works in computing or applies computing in another domain, from educators and researchers to software and hardware developers, system engineers, project managers, and data scientists. Because its community is so broad, diversity and inclusion are central to ACM’s mission.
Although diversity, equity and inclusion often go hand-in-hand, they are not the same thing. Diversity is achieved when the individuals around the table are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and experience, leading to a breadth of viewpoints, reasoning, and approaches (also referred to as “the who”). Equity is achieved by supporting the participation of marginalized communities in computing as well as by promoting impartiality and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of resources and systems by the ACM (also referred to as "the why"). Inclusion is achieved when the environment is characterized by behaviors that welcome and embrace diversity (“the how”).
ACM fosters diversity, equity and inclusion with its open-door approach. Members and non-members alike are welcomed to ACM’s workshops, conferences, publications, and awards program. Through its range of membership programs, members can choose to participate in the global organization, regional or local-area groups, and/or Special Interest Groups. ACM activities support computing communities of all sizes in both academic and commercial environments, and around the globe. A spectrum of resources and activities address every career stage, from K-12 student through seasoned professional.
Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter
There is a rich body of research demonstrating that diverse teams are more innovative, more productive, and produce more revenue for their organizations. As computing professionals, we also have an obligation to ensure that our resources and services are created with the needs and sensitivities of all members of society in mind. Focusing on creating a diverse team will help ACM lead the way in creating the change we would all like to see in society.
To ensure that its governance and activities involve people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, ACM has created a cross-cutting group, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, that coordinates and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion efforts throughout the organization.
Mission and Commitment of the ACM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council
Mission: The ACM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council is focused on enhancing the governance, programs, activities, etc. to drive a more inclusive culture within ACM and the global community we serve.
Commitment: ACM is committed to creating an environment that welcomes new ideas and perspectives, and where hostility or other antisocial behaviors are not tolerated. ACM welcomes participation and contribution from members representing different ages, races, genders and sexual orientation, nationality, physical ability, thinking style and experiences to enhance the overall richness in providing quality programs and services for the global community.
How ACM Is Embedding DEI Principles
- The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct: Designed to inspire and guide the ethical conduct of all computing professionals, and anyone who uses computing technology in an impactful way. The Code’s ethical principles provide guidelines that cover context from general ethical principles, professional responsibilities, professional leadership principles, and compliance with the Code.
- Words Matter: Our words have direct and indirect impacts on the people who hear or read them. The ACM DEI Council launched an effort to replace offensive or exclusionary terminology in the computing field, by providing a list, on an ongoing basis, with more acceptable alternatives. Similarly, SIGACCESS has developed an Accessible Writing Guide for appropriate language with respect to on disability.
- DEI Education & Open Discussions: Engaging the broader ACM community in an open dialog focused on various diversity, equity, and inclusion topics, along with shared best practices. Some recent activities include: The Lives of Hidden Figures Matter in Computer Science Education, Language Matters: DEI and the Question of URM, A Candid Discussion with Women Technologists (part of a series), Power On, Lives of Hidden Figures, 'Underrepresented Minority' Considered Harmful, Racist Language, and more.
- Commitment to Accessibility: ACM recognizes the need to make services, activities, events, etc. more inclusive for individuals with disabilities. ACM has made great stride in ongoing efforts on the overall website re-design, Digital Library reading options and formats. SIGACCESS has been instrumental in providing context around writing guidelines, creating accessible presentations, accessible PDF files, accessible conference guide, accessible virtual conferences, and more.
- Building Diverse Teams: Many organizations have begun to examine their policies, practices, and culture to enhance their organization to be more inclusive. Beyond inherent characteristics (such as gender identity, race, ethnicity, disability, cultural background, and age) in conjunction with acquired characteristics (areas of technical competency, level of education, career stage, the type of institution for which they work, and their role, and how they interact with others in a group setting).
- People of ACM: highlights the unique scientific accomplishments and compelling personal attributes of ACM members who are making a difference in advancing computing as a science and a profession. These bulletins feature ACM members whose personal and professional stories are a source of inspiration for the larger computing community.
- Awards: The ACM Awards Council have enhanced the award offerings, as seen in the launching of the Frances E. Allen Award for Outstanding Mentoring award. Intentionally embedding DEI principles in their processes, procedures, review committee, marketing strategy, etc. to increase attraction of more diverse and global nominations. Sharing examples of best practices for nomination submissions, as featured in the Getting Recognized by ACM Awards and Honors and ACM Fellows webinars.
- ACM‐W: supports, celebrates, and advocates internationally for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field, providing a wide range of programs and services to ACM members and working in the larger community to advance the contributions of technical women. Articles below highlight our latest Rising Star award winner (Minlan Yu), our most recent Celebrating Technology Leaders webinar (Mental Health, Well-being, and Self-Care), ACM-W chapter activity, happenings from ACM-W India, ACM-W Europe, ACM-W North America, and exciting news about ACM-W work happening in Africa.
- K-12 Education: The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) addresses how K-12 teachers can broaden the pipeline of the future computing workforce. Featuring activities that cover topics, such as Identity and Belonging, Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Computer Science Education Framework, Equity in Action, and offering teaching resources for embedding DEI principles into the academic experience.
- SIG Initiatives: The SIGs are engaging in strategies that address the growing need for diversity in all aspects of the computing field. A number of SIGs have convened diversity committees, increased diverse leadership and volunteer representation, awards, scholarships, etc. Committing resources specifically for diversity-related efforts, both in terms of outreach and best practices in research and other areas: SIGACCESS, SIGAI, SIGBED, SIGBIO, SIGCHI, SIGCOMM, SIGCSE, SIGDA, SIGDOC, SIGGRAPH, SIGKDD, SIGMETRICS, SIGMICRO, SIGMM, SIGMOBILE, SIGOPS, SIGPLAN, SIGSOFT, and SIGUCCS.
Regional DEI Initiatives
The ACM Regional Councils and Committees providing grassroots support on a global scale. Included in the regional Councils are Europe, India, and China with a focus on specific needs of computing communities in different parts of the world.
- ACM India Council has evolved various diversity affiliated programs, such as ACM-Women India, Education Summer and Winter School Program, CSPathshala, Awards, etc. Driving initiatives to support empowering women in computing within India, promoting computational thinking at the primary and middle school level, and recognizing outstanding technical and professional contributions through annual awards (i.e., Early Career Researcher, Outstanding Contributions in Computing by Woman, and Outstanding Contribution to Computing Education).
- ACM Europe Council: aims to increase the level and visibility of ACM activities across Europe from ACM-W Europe, Informatics for All, Distinguished Speaker series, Awards, and more.
- Information Processing Society of Japan (IPSJ): The IPSJ/ACM Award for Early Career Contributions to Global Research was established to honor early career researchers in the field of computing for their outstanding contributions through their international and collaborative research as well as high expectations of their continuing global research.
- China Computer Federation (CCF): established the CCF-ACM Award for Artificial Intelligence, which is presented annually to recognize those professionals who have worked in China with outstanding contributions in theory, technology, or applications in artificial intelligence.
The Road Ahead
The ACM Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council is committed to creating an environment that welcomes new ideas and perspectives, to drive a more inclusive culture within ACM and the global community we serve. Together we can provide an environment where everyone has access and opportunity to achieve their goals, while having a creating an inclusive culture for ALL. Please share your DEI affiliated strategies, accomplishments, etc., with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephanie Ludi
- Lisa Smith
- Past Chairs
- Natalie Enright Jerger
- John West
- Co-Chairs, Standing Committee on Systemic Change
- Aubrey Rembert
- Chair, ACM-W
- Ruth Lennon
- Daniel Acuña
- Leigh Ann Delyser
- Ann Gates
- Juan Gilbert
- Leah Jamieson
- Hemangee Kapoor
- David Patterson
- Christine Stephenson
- Bryant York
- Education Board DEI Committee Co-Chairs
- Fay Cobb Payton
- Susan Reiser