Furthermore, the European Union supports the equal participation of women scientists in society, education and the workplace through specific funding schemes. Since 1998, DG Research at the European Commission had created a special committee of experts for women and science, http://cordis.europa.eu/improving/women/documents.htm before the relevant Directorate was established. For many years, funding was provided to information and support networks for women scientists; today, the 7th Framework Program (2007-2013) includes a number of programmes that focus on gender participation in research and technology. Finally, in Greece, the General Secretariat for Research and Technology recently created a network of Greek women scientists to work on educational, research and employment issues (PERIKTIONI network). At Aristotle University, the “Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program on Gender and Equality Issues” EPEAEK ΙΙ/4.2.1Β was created in 2003, and is housed at the Faculty of Engineering, School of Architecture.
Is there still a need then, in the mature democracies of the 21st century, for such actions? The answer is ‘Yes’, since it is not yet clear whether the personal and professional life of our students lives up to their expectations, and whether gender is still a decisive factor in this development. And while the legal framework in European democracies successfully deals with the consolidation of equality issues, the long-standing formulation of social stereotypes still helps to maintain a “glass ceiling”, that prevents the professional advancement of young women researchers, even in “model” societies such as those of Scandinavia.
The Center’s actions mainly focus on the following areas:
The Center is open to all members of the Faculty of Engineering and will function for as long as the Faculty members continue to respond to and enrich its activities.