Campus and Community

“Being a woman will never be considered a hindrance”

These are the words of Helena França, one of Técnico alumnae who participated at another session of Alumni Talks, exclusively dedicated to women.

Starting the International Women’s Day among outstanding women was the goal of another session of Alumni Talks, an event organised by NAPE-IST– Student Support Unit at Instituto Superior Técnico, held this Thursday, March 8. About 70 Técnico female students registered in the event but only 35 could participate.

“I’ve never done anything to celebrate the International Women’s Day, but this year I decided that I would celebrate it as best I could, surrounded by women with so much to tell,” says Nadeja Licova, an aerospace engineering student. The multiple skills of someone with an engineering background, the curricular enrichment, the experience at Técnico and the challenges of the labour market were some of the topics addressed in this session. “It’s only a matter of time and slowly we discover where we are happy. It’s something that you learn over time”, said Khairunissa Jafar, one of the alumnae.

Besides Khairunissa Jafar, Head of Digital Delivery at Grupo Ocidental, also Carla Quental, Director at Hospital Lusíadas, Inês Leitão, Coordinator of the Quality Department at TAP, Isabel Viçoso, CEO at LOGIC, Ana Ramos, Head of Corporate Quality and HSEQ Audit at GALP energia, and Helena França, CEO at Portway shared their career paths.

A potential disadvantage of being a women in the labour market was totally demystified by the alumnae. “Throughout my short career I was lucky because I had leaders who didn’t care whether their employees were male or female, but instead motivating and encouraging them”, stresses Khairunissa Jafar. “When I entered Técnico there were 3 women attending my course, but today there are a lot more, and this will have a positive effect on the labour market. There will be more women working in these areas and holding management positions”, adds Inês Leitão.

“But then what? Will we have the opportunity to reach our personal goals?”, asked one of the young students. “You are a privileged generation, if you are flexible and have the ability to adapt you can do anything”, said Helena França. “Being a woman will never be considered a hindrance”, adds the alumna. “And what about children? Will we have time for them?”, asks another student. “Maternity should be seen as a part of your life”, answers professor Helena Geirinhas, coordinator of Gender Balance@IST.

The alumnae gave a lot of advice during the morning. “Make sure to always challenge yourselves at work and don’t stop learning”, says Carla Quental. According to Nadeja Licova: “”We must always trust ourselves, because that will make the difference. That’s what I have been told and I could not have been more convinced”.