As the first year of the second iteration  of the EaPConnect project draws to a close we take the opportunity to highlight our partners’ involvement, support and participation in one of the most significant initiatives for the R&E community and beyond: the 2022 Women in STEM campaign organised by GÉANT.

The campaign brought together outstanding representatives from the international GÉANT community to celebrate the contributions of women to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to empower future generations to increase female representation. It included a series of video episodes released weekly throughout the month of March on the following topics: Overcoming challenges, Female role models and mentors, Why diversity matters, The power of women’s networks and Words for future generations.

The episode on Female role models and mentors featured Ieva Muraskiene from NORDUnet who was one of the two EaPConnect project managers until September 2022.  Ieva remembers how the inspirational women she met in her formative years, working in the fields of networking, trust and identity and services, made her want to make an impact. She says that women need to believe that they can be great leaders, achieve any goal they want and  make technology work.

In the episode on Why diversity matters Mariam Harutyunyan, Head of the Department of Informatics at IIAP NAS RA in Armenia, talks about the advantages that gender diversity can bring to science and the impact that this has on productivity, creativity and innovation levels. In her view, women bring a different perspective to the workplace contributing to the expansion of general knowledge in the field, and the creation of role models is an important step towards the desired diversity in STEM.

Ecaterina Matenco from the EaPConnect partner RENAM in Moldova features in the episode on The power of women’s networks. She describes how thinking about a career in IT in the field of cybersecurity was just unattainable at the time she started as this was an unrealistic expectation for a girl from a small Moldovan town. She goes on to say that when she joined RENAM her horizons widened as she met successful women from many fields in IT and believes that a woman network is very important for girls from small towns who are unsure about the achievability of their career goals.

In the final episode of the campaign entitled Words for future generations, Professor Irma Khachidze from Caucasus University in Georgia, shares her views that training is key to reduce gender inequality and to increase women representation in STEM and recognises the need for institutional actions and practical advice on how to achieve such representation in national meetings and symposia, also stressing the importance of EU projects in this context. Irma closes her video with an inspiring message for girls.

  1. Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible and you will be doing the impossible.
Irma Khachidze, Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia