Campus and Community

Alumnae return to Técnico to show that success has no gender

The 14th edition of the “Alumni Talks – Women Edition” brought together male and female students from different courses.

The 14th edition of the “Alumni Talks – Women Edition”, held today, March 8, brought together inspiring women and dozens of male and female students.

Amélia Santos (Co-founder and Executive Director at Innuos), Ana Cláudia Sá (General Manager at Bel Benelux Cluster), Diana Morais (Lieutenant Colonel, Head of the Office for Equality, Ministry of National Defence, and Chair of NATO Committee on Gender Perspectives), Joana Arina, (Data Engineer at Portugália Airlines) and Sofia Vaz Pires (CEO/Chairwoman at Ericsson Portugal) shared their inspiring career paths.

The alumnae recalled their academic journey at Técnico and highlighted the importance of training opportunities and taking risks, and the challenges in today’s job market. “There’s no such thing as a fixed career path to be successful. What really matters is that you feel that you have the opportunity to learn at each stage of your career path”, highlighted Sofia Vaz Pires.

“We have to break stereotypes. Nowadays, girls are starting to gain more confidence, but there is still a way to go. The education of the younger generations ones in this sense is crucial”, highlighted Diana Morais. “How do you deal with the fact of working and being a leader in a world that is mostly male?” was a question that constantly came up during the session. The alumnae shared that, with effort, women can thrive in a male dominated workplace and be happy doing what they set out to do. “I ended up getting used to having few women around me, I learnt to deal with sexist jokes, but I must confess that I never felt an exaggerated gender differentiation”, highlighted Amélia Santos.

Professor Beatriz Silva: “We are all role models to someone, whether we are men or women”

The president of Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, welcomed the alumnae and highlighted the work that has been done at Técnico in terms of gender equality. “Técnico has around 32% of female students and 68% of male students. Although this is a good number compared to the one that exists in similar institutions in Europe and in the world, we are committed to improving these numbers in order to capture female talent, which is not fully seized in the technology and engineering areas.

“At Santander, we also have these goals and concerns related to gender equality. Santander is an example of diversity in business and encourages the presence of women in leadership positions”, said Ines Oom de Sousa, President of the Santander Portugal Foundation and Head of ESG at the Santander Group in Europe.

Professor Beatriz Silva, Co-coordinator of the Gender Balance@Técnico group, praised the importance of these initiatives. “We are all role models to someone, whether we are men or women. So, even if we don’t think we’re an example of something, we’re a great example. It is important to show that someone has made it, that there is a possibility, and that there is a wide range of opportunities for women”, she said.

“The International Women’s Day remains absolutely current and useful to help us keep our eyes on the immense achievements of Portuguese society over the last few decades. It is even more important to encourage us to continue building a more egalitarian, more democratic and more inclusive society and, therefore, with the full participation of women”, said Diana Morais. “I am aware that much remains to be done to achieve gender equality and that current achievements are always at risk of being reversed. This is also why it is of the utmost importance to celebrate the victories and to reiterate the commitment to continue pointing out ways of progress with regard to equality in Portuguese society. We count on all of you”, she added.