Campus and Community

Helena Pereira and Maria Teresa Parreira win Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo Award (5th edition)

The award ceremony took place this Monday, 6th December.

The Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo Award ceremony took place this Monday, 6th December, at Técnico – Alameda campus. Técnico created this award in 2016 to promote Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo’s outstanding contribution as engineer, alumna and national leader with a decisive role and impact on Portuguese society. The award aims to promote gender equality and to recognise the crucial role of women in engineering areas.

The winners of the 5th edition were the Técnico alumnae Helena Pereira (Role Model category) and Maria Teresa Parreira (Young Alumna category). The event brought together friends and family of the award winners, professors, researchers, students and several personalities from academia and business.

Maria Teresa Parreira expressed her honour to be one of the recipients of this award and highlighted her admiration for Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo. The alumna also underlined the beauty of the ceremony, which honours an academic and professional path but, above all, focuses on “one of the most controversial topics in society”. “We can’t lean back in our chairs thinking that progress is in the right direction and that the future doesn’t need us, because it does. The active participation of everyone to stop gender inequality is important, essential and we all have a role to play”.

Professor Helena Pereira shared her career journey and her most important career experiences. “I cannot avoid mentioning the privilege of leading Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), which allows me to participate in building the country’s future, namely in the fields of science and technology. The great challenge today lies in the relationship between Science, Higher Education, companies, administration, valuing knowledge and applying it to society”, she said.

“I have always liked to teach, to supervise, to do research and to manage. If I can be a role model to someone, it will certainly be because I work with pleasure and with a genuine interest in what’s going on”, said the president of FCT.

Professor Rogério Colaço: “There’s still a long way to go for gender equality”

The president of Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, recalled Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo’s historical, civic, political and human legacy and highlighted her countless accomplishments as a woman. “However, there’s still a long way to go for gender equality”, he stressed.

Professors Beatriz Silva and Alexandre Bernardino, coordinators of the Gender Balance@Técnico group, highlighted the under-representation of women in STEM fields. “Increased female participation in STEM fields is key to tackle the current and complex challenges of our society”, said professor Beatriz Silva. “Unless we have a broader and more proactive approach to this issue, mitigating gender stereotype will take many generations”, she added.

Professor Alexandre Bernardino recalled the winners of the past editions and stressed their important role, so that “young women know that the STEM fields offer many career options, even in male-dominated areas”. “The mission of Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo award is to recognise the work of female engineers so that all future female engineers can aspire to fulfil their dreams without limits and prejudices”, he said.

Filstone sponsors Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo Award

“4 years ago, Filstone didn’t have any women in its production process. Today, we have 221 employees in the production process, of which 39 are women”, said engineer Miguel Goulão, executive administrator at Filstone. “Our desire is to reach gender parity. I can assure you that we had an increase in productivity”, he added.

“Women inequality should shame us all”, said engineer Miguel Goulão. The United Nations data indicate that globally, about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced violence of some form during their lifetime because they are women. On this regard, the executive administrator at Filstone said “this is not only unacceptable but also reveals a huge lack of intelligence”. “Gender equality needs to be a priority and, therefore, we are all summoned”.

Leonor Beleza and Manuel Heitor highlight the importance of the award

Dr Leonor Beleza, president of the Champalimaud Foundation, stressed the importance of this award, remembered Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo, whom she had the pleasure of meeting and for whom she had the greatest admiration, and highlighted “the outstanding academic and scientific career path” of professor Helena Pereira, who is part of her generation and whose professional paths crossed several times.

“We’ve evolved a lot and today our society is far more equal than it was many years ago”, said the Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, professor Manuel Heitor. “We must not, however, be content with this”, he added.

According to the Minister “deconstructing gender stereotypes is a complex social process. The debate around this issue requires greater depth”.

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