The event “Breaking the glass ceiling” in the context of the European project “Female Empowerment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Higher Education (FeSTEM)” was held with great success on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol.
The Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology opened the event, highlighting the significant contribution of the FeSTEM project to the University’s strategy in its effort to align with the goals of sustainable development (Goal 4 Quality Education and Goal 5 Gender Equality).
Of paramount importance was the presentation of Anna Aristotelous, Director of the Central Prisons Department, who set the example of the Central Prison’s Department as an example of courageous leadership, which managed to overcome obstacles and difficulties by adopting a human-centered approach and following culturally and gender-sensitive principles. The approach of Mrs. Aristotelous and her team resulted in substantial improvement establishing the organization as exemplary in the European Union.
An extensive presentation of the results of the FeSTEM project followed by Dr. Antigoni Parmaxi, project coordinator. The main goal of the FeSTEM project is to promote an innovative pedagogical method that allows Higher Education students to use traditional and computationally rich tools to create shareable exhibits that can serve as guiding models for encouraging women to remain active in the field of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The project managed to implement an innovative teaching and learning approach, placing students at the heart of the learning process and sensitizing on gender-sensitive challenges. The results of the project are available here: https://festemproject.eu/resources/
Dr. Marianna Prokopi-Demitriadi, co-founder of three certified innovative biotechnology companies, Theramir Ltd, Promed Bioscience Ltd and RSL Revolutionary Labs Ltd, stressed the importance of leadership in further attracting women in science, technology, engineering and science. Additionally, she stressed the importance of supporting and promoting gender-sensitive pedagogical approaches, such as the one established in the FeSTEM project, in order to promote role-models and leaders for students and young professionals. Finally, Dr Parmaxi highlighted the valuable benefits of the FeSTEM Community and CoP as a place to connect, discuss and access services and learning material.
Dr. Maria Perifanou from the University of Macedonia and Irini Christou from the Cyprus University of Technology presented the implementation of the FeSTEM project methodology as well as the design of gender sensitive exhibits by students of the organizations / universities participating in the university.
Finally, the participants attended the open discussion coordinated by Dr. Melita Menelaou, Special Teaching Staff at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the Cyprus University of Technology. The panel consisted of Eliza Loucaidou Kassianidou, Director at Deloitte Innovation & Entrepreneurship Centre, ARIS A Really Inspiring Space, Manager, Dr Efi Nisiforou, Lecturer at the University of Nicosia, Dr Stella Manoli, Teaching Fellow, University of Strathclyde, George Kokou, Coordinator at the University Liaison Office, and Antigoni Komodiki, CEO at JA Cyprus. Participants discussed the difficulties they encountered as well as how gender-sensitive policies should be promoted at local / national / European and international level and answered a number of questions posed by the public.
The room was packed with students, academics, professionals and staff of the Cyprus University of Technology, who had the opportunity to get to know the results of the FeSTEM project.
The event ended with the demonstration and award of the most creative exhibits by students. The most creative gender-sensitive exhibit was created by Natalie Evagorou, a student in the MSC Interaction Design program.
For further information regarding the next steps of the project:
- Online learning unit: https://festemproject.eu/learning/
- FeSTEM community platform: https://festem.network/
- Subscribe to the program page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/festemeuproject/
- Follow the activities of the program on Twitter: @festemeuproject
- The event is also available here: https://youtu.be/HJzlqCSKF0s