A Broader Case for Diversity and Inclusion: CRA-Women Transitioning to CRA-Widening Participation

CRA-WP logo

By the CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research 

It is with great excitement that we share with our friends, colleagues, and broader computing community that CRA Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) is now officially CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP). CRA-W was established in 1991 with the mission of increasing the success and participation of women in Computing Research. Since that time, we have organized numerous programs at various levels to engage, encourage, and sustain women in computing. In 2004, CRA-W first partnered with the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC) to engage and increase the participation of individuals from additional underrepresented groups in computing. In 2008, this partnership became a BPC Alliance, further expanding and strengthening our outreach and programmatic efforts. Over the past decade, our programs have quite naturally shifted from being initially women-only or women-focused, to being increasingly co-ed, with a mission of serving a wide range of constituencies. This natural progression towards broadening our scope to address all forms of underrepresentation in computing continues to motivate and drive our extremely dedicated board of volunteers.

Over the last three years, the CRA-W Board along with the CRA-W Steering Committee, Emeritus Members and evaluators, have worked through a series of strategic planning efforts to reevaluate our mission, programmatic portfolio, and impact. Based on these efforts, we have decided to “make official” what our natural progression in programs has already moved towards operationally. Namely, we have decided to officially widen our mission statement and governance to also include other historically underrepresented groups in computing. We believe that this better reflects the programming we are currently offering — which includes women, underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities — and also reflects our desire to broaden and improve on these efforts going further. These underrepresented groups are important to the future of computing, and warrant the attention of many of us working on BPC issues. We look forward to continuing our service to the computing community in this new light.

Additionally, we feel it is important to reflect and signal this change to the community by modifying our name. As mentioned above, the board has approved the name change to CRA Widening Participation because it represents our best effort to reflect our broader mandate. We wanted to inform the computing community of this exciting transition, and to expect changes in our web page, social media, and other content as we make this transition public and visible!