British Federation Women Graduates
The little we knew about what laid ahead for the Year 2020 when we wished Happy New Year. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has been devastating, globally. With the casualties rising against an invisible enemy, war-chest opening, worrying press conferences, small businesses shuttering, and an over-extended health service, there has not been a positive news to come out of the pandemic, naturally!
There are many negatives of the current situation but looking at the positives, this shall pass soon. While practicing ‘social distancing’ we may feel stuck at home, but we are safe at home. We might feel bored or sad because we can’t see our family and friends, but the best things come from having the time and space to think and be creative. The future generation will study the time of Covid-19, learn how rainbows were a sign of hope and hear how everyone came together to cheer and clap for the amazing people who saved lives to keep the country going. A time where the world slowed down, polluted skies cleared, and animals reclaimed the spaces. A time when families spent time among themselves, met friends on screen, treasured their one-walk a day and got to know their neighbours. When schooling went online, parents became teachers and the world went a bit crazy to stockpile essentials! We are a part of history, so shall we create a time capsule?
If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies! I am concerned and worried for the difficult and unprecedented times we all are facing. But, at the same time it has given me an opportunity to reflect and enjoy this unique time. A life-time opportunity, if I say so, we get once in 100 years! I am treasuring the 24/7 time with my girls and loving husband: be it home schooling, watching movies together, fun-dancing, living-room workouts with nations favourite online PE teacher, clapping for NHS every Thursday at 8 pm, trying new recipes, painting rainbows, creating tunes or making up a funny song, photographing random acts, skipping in the garden, working from home in shifts, video calling to extended family and to people we hardly had enough time to share everything before. It took a week to settle into the new routine. Interesting to hear the video chats of my 6 years old with her friend planning what games are they going to play when they meet! My younger one having no idea what is happening around and for few days after the lockdown started, she kept putting on her jacket and boots every morning pointing to the front door to go walk to school. Now, she is happy going only to the back door where we set up something new to play in the garden. I am fortunate and thankful to God for whatever I am blessed with. Many people in the world have their own struggles. To quote the British Chancellor’s concluding remarks at the press briefing when the nationwide lock down was announced by the PM (I wish him a speedy recovery): “Now, more than at any time in our history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion. Our ability to come through this won’t just be down to what the government or businesses do but by the individual acts of kindness that we show each other.” Amidst all this, technology is playing the greatest role than ever before!
To all my friends across the globe: we have a key role to play while writing history, to make the best we possibly can, of each and every day.
Stay Safe, Stay Positive.
Together in solidarity,
Editor – British Federation Women Graduates
Proud of our Association of the Year 2018, post – the last UWE Conference on ‘ Women in STEM professions‘ in Rome which many of us attended, was included on the list of “The Best STEM Organizations For Girls & Women (& How To Donate)”. Girls Who STEM (GWS) is a free resource for parents, providing everything from in-depth product reviews to expert STEM for girls advice, 40 institutions nominated, BFWG is no. 39 on the list.
You can see the full list here: https://girlswhostem.com/best-stem-organizations-for-girls-and-women/
Congratulations for this well – earned recognition which is testimony to the hard work and dedication!
Vice President Carrie de Silva, representing the Federation, was invited on 20 February to lead an inspiring broadcast about the development of the fight for women’s equality, the current career progression issues, beyond the ‘ glass ceiling’, the strength of networking and the importance of the inspiring new film On The Basis Of Sex. The film’s content will encompass Women ‘ Firsts’ in the Law in the UK , through to the first Q. C. (Queen’s Counsel ), first Judges , Attorney- General , first in the Supreme Court to the majority female Supreme Court.
We had conference, annual general meeting, enjoyed opera moments, italian food, impressive tours in the eternal city and around.
First day of the Conference, presidents of UWE and FILDIS welcomed almost one hundred university women at the beautiful building of Spazio Europa (European Parliament affiliated venue). Key note speakers, women in STEM professions were giving their speeches sharing the positive steps and highlighting the challenges on this important topic. In the afternoon we all continued with the workshops on solving the issues women are encountering in such professions and increasing women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and math with additional focus on how to create opportunities and assist systems for women in STEM professions.
GWI President, Mrs. Geeta Desai, provided a video message expressing her concern about STEM fields becoming increasingly male centric, failing to serve half of the global population without female contribution, the overwhelming number of women who are currently unable to take advantage of STEM opportunities because, from an early age, they have been discouraged from studying these male dominated subjects.
Next day at the AGM we enjoyed a very pleasant atmosphere, a new President Anne Negre giving a presentation and update about collective complaint on the pay gap has been elected , thank you Edith Lommerse for all your work and inspiration as UWE President. The delegates voted unanimously that I will stay for another 3 years as SG keeping up the good work the Board has done, thank you all for your trust, it meant a lot to me. Another special presence at this special reunion was Israeli delegates giving a wonderful speech about gender inequality.
Later on we gathered for gala dinner on a wonderful luxury roof top one Michelin Star Restaurant to share impressions, gifts and say thanks to our host from Fildis: Gabriella Anselmi and Pina Foti.
British Federation Women Graduates were awarded the prize of 2018 UWE Association of the Year for surviving for 111 years and providing hundreds of post graduate research scholarships to women since 1912.
Congratulations and thank you all for being with us in Rome for another UWE Conference.
More pictures in our google album: UWE Rome Conference 2018 and facebook album: UWE Rome AGM . Feel free to share tag yourself and please let us know about your experience in Rome filling this online Evaluation Form UWE Conference Rome Survey
For the board,
Roxana Elena Petrescu
Secretary General UWE