Briefly about UWE Meet & Greet – Dundee

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What a time to be in Dundee, congratulation Graduate Women of Scotland for hosting such a wonderful event and many thanks to all the speakers and our participants for being a part of it.

On day one, we were welcomed on a sunny weather at the University of Dundee by Dr Ajit Trivedi Director Department of Equality and Diversity, showing us no wonder why we are here, gender stuff profile being mostly women.

Then Dr Fiona Sutherland introduced UWE Board participants : VP Aisha Alshawaf with a message from President Anne Negre not being present, VP Pina Foti, Secretary General Roxana Elena Petrescu with a short presentation of UWE and our work, Treasurer Annelies Pierrot Builts joined us immediately after the tea break.

After Catherine Bell former President of GWI sharing her identity and her story and Dr Eileen Focke-Bakker reminding us about the most expected event of the year “GWI Triennal Conference – Geneva”, we were getting excited to see inspirational women telling their stories about how their career/life has not taken the route they initially planned.

Erica Hensens, Director of Quality & Academic Standards at the University of Dundee telling her story from leadership of a male dominated Students Union to directorship of one of the top MBA programmes in the world.

Dr Sarah Haq, Saudi Arabia origin moved to Pakistan, studying Dental Public Health, currently a Masters Student at the University of Dundee , involved in many philanthropic and fundraising activities: offering free dental treatments and helping families to have access to clean water facilities and dental health in Pakistan, calling education “a long journey to become herself”.

Angie Foreman with an impressive empowerment work with women, she has created award winning social enterprises, community empowerment models and Corporate Social Responsibility programmes for the Coca Cola 5 by 20 projects, to the benefit of hundreds of women, her vision is “pulling together “all women that want to start a business regardless of their social/cultural background or economic situation.

Dee Gates with an incredible story, changing from man to woman, today legally classified woman, somehow reminding us of the book by David Ebershoff – “The Danish Girl”.

Why My Identity, My Story? Rachel Marsh – GWS explained there will be an ebook that will commemorate the delegates who attend the 2019 UWE Meet & Greet by highlighting their lives and achievements, everyone has a unique story that has helped to shape our identity, there is still time to email it to by 10 June 2019.

Later on, all the delegates where officially welcomed by Dundee City Council in the City Chambers of Dundee and first evening ended with a welcome meal in Dundee Rep. Restaurant.

On our second day, we had thoughts from three different women:

Pushing the boundaries of forensic science and daring to think with Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, University of Dundee, the only woman to receive the Pete Ganci Award for Fire Investigation and the Distinguished Forensic Scientist award from the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes.

What women don’t say publicly about careers in academic science, but should with Dr Ishbel Duncan, Director of Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, University of St. Andrews, currently on the Gender Pay Equality committee and a veteran of Athena Swan bids,  introduced MSc programmes and supervised many MSc and PhD dissertations students, she is vocal against stress caused by work overload, dealing with student stress and anxiety, her Labrador is a recognized therapist for use in the University.

Women in Games, Applied Games by Professor Ruth Falconer, Leader of Games Technology and Mathematics Division, School of Design and Informatics, University of Dundee, interested in the broader use of games technology including games engines, graphics hardware and related infrastructure to develop intuitive and playable models of complex systems, current areas of application Water – Energy  – Food – nexus, Microbial Ecology, Health, Social Care.  Recently appointed as an executive board member for Women in Games to ensure there is equal opportunity and treatment for those entering the games industry, she’s working to increase gender diversity on the games programming and technology courses at Abertay University.

Then the most expected moment of the day – storytelling “Pechakuchas”, 20 slides presentations for 20 seconds of commentary each (6 minutes total) and they did it admirably to the audience’s delight:  Ora Sharon,  Aisha Alshawaf, Fiona Sutherland, Rachel Marsh and Susie Schofield.

We went to hear another story about Dundee’s jute at Verdant WorksScotland’s Jute Museum for lunch and an interesting tour, learning more about women on trades, it was Dundee’s womenfolk on whom the city”s prosperity was built.

Our evening Ceilidh successfully competed Eurovision song contest with sing-along-a-graduate women, everybody singing or dancing or simply having fun.

And finally, after two superbe days spent together in Dundee, some of us went on tour to visit Glamis Castle -the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother-to recharge batteries and find inspiration for our life stories.



Campaign for #genderequalEU – Women are majority in the EU. Why not in the European parliament?

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In May 2019, the new composition of the European Parliament will be voted by European citizens. The decision of the elections will also have an impact on the face of the new European Commission and will have an influence on European politics, taking on the present and shaping the future of women and girls in Europe.

We hope that you can join us in the campaign for #genderequalEU, data show that women are still very much second-class citizens in the European Union (EU) –  2018 Report on equality between women and men in EU 

1. Vote for women candidates who promote women rights and gender equality issues. We need more #womenasexperts in the parliament, see here  Women in the EU Parliament
Did you know that women make more than half (51 %) of the EU population? And yet, our share of political power in the EP is currently down to 36 %. Yes, even less than in spring 2017 (picture). We need to change that.
2. Encourage others to vote. Spread the word to your NFAs, friends, relatives, colleagues…The percentage of people voting in the EU elections is decreasing. In 2014 elections, only 42 % of the EU electorate voted.
#ThistimeImvoting campaign reminds us that “as Europeans we face many challenges, from migration to climate change, from youth unemployment to data privacy. We live in an ever more globalized, competitive world. At the same time, the Brexit referendum has demonstrated that the EU is not an irrevocable project. And while most of us take democracy for granted, it also seems under increasing threat, both in principle and practice.”
3. Support the EWL’s 50/50 campaign. “With the campaign 50/50: Women for Europe – Europe for Women, the European Women’s Lobby wants to achieve parity in the European Parliament, but also among the Commissioners and regarding the top EU jobs. We also want the EU to realize that ensuring equality between women and men and integrating a gender perspective in all policy and financial frameworks is an obligation of the European Union as per the EU Treaties.”
4. Sign the petition for a Feminist Europe on the EWL’s website.  
5. Utilize social mediaFeel free to use this photo in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
5050 European parliament.png
6. After the elections, encourage your government to put forward a woman as your candidate for European Commissioner.  
As you can see, there weren’t too many of them in the 2014 – 2019 commission.
7. Also, remind your elected MEPs that gender equality deserves more than 1 % of the EU budget

On the streets of equality

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The 6th edition of the national competition ” On the streets of equality” is aimed at promoting local historical research in schools of all levels and restoring visibility to women who have distinguished themselves for their literary, artistic and scientific activity, for humanitarian and social commitment or other merits. A prize-giving ceremony was organized on 30 April in Rome.

Toponomastica Femminile (Female toponymy) was born on Facebook in January 2012 with the idea of setting up research, publishing data and putting pressure on every single territory so that streets, squares, gardens and urban places in a broad sense, are dedicated to women to compensate for the obvious sexism that characterizes the current status.

The main objective of the group, which now has over 9,000 participants and forms an association, is to spread gender culture, to give visibility to women who have contributed, in all fields, to improving society.

From the national census conducted by the group, it appears that the average number of roads named after women ranges from 3 to 5% (mainly Madonnas and saints), while that of the roads dedicated to men is around 40%. From the observation of this gap many initiatives have started: the campaign for women’s memory called “8 March 3 women 3 streets”, with the invitation to mayors and mayors to name three roads for as many women, one of local importance, one of relevance national, a foreigner; the projects “Largo alle Costituenti” and “Partigiane in città” which reported biographies of courageous and tenacious women; the campaigns “A road for Miriam”, “The long road of Rita”, “A Margherita on our streets” and “A scene for Franca”, after the disappearance of authoritative figures of Italian culture, science and politics.

Numerous educational projects promoted and coordinated by the group are aimed at young students offering them valuable models to inspire in the delicate phase of building their identity.

The association organizes photographic and documentary, thematic, versatile and itinerant exhibitions throughout Italy: “Women and work”, for the first time exposed in Rome at the Centrale Montemartini, touched almost all the Italian regions, enriching itself with each step. Images converge on the theme of female work between past and present, documents, vintage photos, current photos. The panels want to solicit a reflection on the feminine commitment, constantly present, although in different forms, and in continuous evolution.

The exhibition “The Mothers of the Republic” recalls, 70 years after the entry into force of the Constitution, the contribution of the twenty women present in the Constituent Assembly. “Women of pen and thought” combines the toponymic exposure of streets dedicated to writers and poets to “Letture d’autrice”, literary salons held in public spaces (libraries, museums, bookshops) and open to the direct participation of students and citizens.

The last “Camera d’autrice” initiative is aimed at hotel managers and directors who share the themes of equal opportunities and intend to enhance the feminine genius: their task is to name one of the rooms to a writer, or an artist , preferably connected to the territory. The guests will find inside the room books, photos and references to the figure and work of the chosen author.

This site collects research and actions of the association already discussed on the fb Toponymy female page.

For any information, curiosity, suggestions, to associate and collaborate, please contact them :

Thanks FILDIS Italy for sharing this interesting information with us.

Debate on the “Istanbul Convention – challenges in its implementation”

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On the occasion of the 70thanniversary of the Council of Europe it was organised a debate  on the Istanbul Convention – Challenges in its implementation , moderated by Anne Negre, UWE President  and Vice-President in Charge of Equality, Conference INGOs, Council of Europe, who had an intervention on the stereotypes on artificial intelligence and a presentation of the recommendation on sexism.

Following this event, the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, the spearhead of human rights, is worried about the future of fundamental rights of women and girls in Europe.

The European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter and the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which is based on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other texts, should have allowed de facto and de jure equality between women and men. However, despite the efforts of the Council of Europe, most recently with the Strategy for Equality between Women and Men (2018-2023) and Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 to prevent and combat sexism, this objective has not been achieved by any member State while even severe regression appears, in some States, in family policies, sexual and reproductive rights.

Faced with contemporary challenges such as climate change, artificial intelligence, the persistence of stereotypes in all aspects of private or public life, and more, proposals to preserve the rights of women and girls are not sufficiently taken into account. The Conference of INGOs urges Member States to faithfully apply the texts they generally adopt unanimously within the Council of Europe. The credibility of the women and men who govern these States depends on effective action to respect these commitments.

Virtual Academy programme

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Applications for the Virtual Academy are now open!

Virtual Academy is an exciting, multi-stage online programme for Europe based non-business Master and PhD students.


It combines modules from one of our best capability building programmes, McKinsey Academy as well as the Harvard ManageMentor online courses plus various virtual skills workshops and a team challenge.

Master and PhD students, female talent who would like to further develop their problem-solving and analytical skills,  to learn about digital topics and Design Thinking  from the comfort of their own home,  are invited to this programme who is facilitating their development of new skills through a variety of exciting channels.  

The programme will be hosted over the course of two months (May and June) – application deadline is 23 April.

For more information and to apply, please visit virtual academy website

Council of Europe adopts first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism

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The Recommendation  on preventing  and combating  sexism has been adopted yesterday by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

In response to the #MeToo and other recent movements that have heightened awareness of persistent sexism in society, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted the first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism, which includes the first international definition of sexism.

UWE President Anne Nègre, as the representative of the Conference of INGOs, was in the writing group and is very happy of this result.

The recommendation stresses that sexism is a manifestation of “historically unequal power relations” between women and men, which leads to discrimination and prevents the full advancement of women in society.

Because it is “widespread and prevalent in all sectors and all societies, and (…) sexism and sexist behaviour are rooted in and reinforce gender stereotypes,” sexism is defined for the first time ever in a dedicated legal instrument to tackle it, via a comprehensive list of measures and areas where sexism occurs, from advertising and media, to employment, the justice sector, education and sport. The text in particular aims to shed light on what sexist behaviour is and proposes concrete ways for different actors to identify and address them.

It requests that member states monitor progress in implementing its guidelines and to inform the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission of measures taken and progress achieved.

The recommendation aims to address issues with which women, but also sometimes, men, are confronted with every day. Notably, it makes the link between sexism and violence against women and girls, explaining that acts of “everyday” sexism are “part of a continuum of violence that create a climate of intimidation, fear, discrimination, exclusion and insecurity which limits opportunities and freedom.”

Examples of recommended action include legislative reforms that both condemn sexism and define and criminalise sexist hate speech, and provide for appropriate remedies for victims of sexist behaviour.

The recommendation calls on states to use awareness-raising measures including “speedy reactions” by public figures, in particular politicians, religious, economic and community leaders, and others in a position to shape public opinion, to condemn sexism.

The recommendation also stresses that language and communication “must not consecrate the hegemony of the masculine model”.  It calls for the use of non-stereotypical communication to educate, raise awareness and prevent sexist behaviour. For example, it recommends ending the use of sexist expressions, and using gender-sensitive language.

The recommendation focuses, too, on recent technologies. While the internet and social media can promote free expression and gender equality, they also can allow “perpetrators” to express “abusive thoughts” and engage in abusive behaviour, the recommendation notes.

It takes into account artificial intelligence and how algorithms can “transmit and strengthen” existing gender stereotypes and therefore may contribute to the perpetuation of sexism.



Reminder early bird booking Meet & Greet Dundee

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From the information recently received from our organizer Graduate Women Scotland, we’re so glad to hear that many of you will join us in Dundee. Just a quick reminder  that the early bird rate for the Apex Spa hotel is only guaranteed till this Friday (22nd March).  If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, please take that into account.


We’re very delighted to announce you that Prof. Niamh Nic Daeid is confirmed as key speaker on Saturday morning. Prof Daeid, Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) at Dundee,  recently won a European distinguished scientist award, is the first woman to be presented with the honour, and also the first person from a UK academic institution. The award is highly prestigious and is only given once every three years to ‘honour an individual who has performed outstanding scientific work in forensic science, it will be great to have her with us.

Glamis Castle

For those of you who still hesitate to go on visit, the Glamis Castle is a living,breathing monument to Scottish heritage, the family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess Margaret. The gardens surrounding Glamis Castle are beautiful all year round and you have the opportunity to see a wide variety of flora & fauna.


Please see here the programme, costs and booking details: Invite booking form

Registration by email to :
Registration and payment deadline: 30th April 2019

Looking forward to meeting you in Dundee!

For the board,

many regards,

Roxana Elena Petrescu
Secretary General