UNDP: Engineer Girls of Turkey Meet for the Fourth Time in Istanbul

arman-muhendis-kizlarlaScholars under the project “Engineer Girls of Turkey” jointly implemented by Limak Foundation, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) met for the fourth time in Istanbul.

Having started four years ago to increase the number of women engineers, and ensure that women be more effective in business life and decision- making, the project “Engineer Girls of Turkey (TMK)” continues to grow. Under the project, 110 scholarship students in various engineering disciplines in 35 state universities in 25 provinces of Turkey came together with their mentors, who were experienced women engineers, for the first time in Istanbul over the weekend. In the two-day programme, young candidate engineers got acquainted; told about their social responsibility activities as required by the project, how they were engaged with the project, and shared their dreams.

The event hosted leading figures in the sector including Ms. Gülser Ustaoğlu, General Director of Status of Women; Ms. Ebru Özdemir, Chair of Limak Foundation Board of Trustees; Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative; Ms. Yaprak Yapsan, Founding Director of Ideon; Ms. Serpil Gümüş, Deloitte Digital Lead Consultant; Mr. Agah Uğur, Board Member of Borusan Holding; and journalist-author Ms. Ayşe Arman who conveyed their experience to university students through inspiring presentations and motivating conversation. Students also had the chance to watch “The Crocodile”, a Dostoyevsky adaptation by Tom Basden, a leading figure of British satire; and visited historical sites, museums and exhibitions in Istanbul.

We are leading the efforts to educate women leaders and engineer candidates

Ms. Ebru Özdemir, Chair of Limak Foundation Board of Trustees, stated in her opening remarks that TMK project, in its fourth year and becoming a brand, was leading the efforts to educate women leaders and engineer candidates. She said: “Our adventure started with 40 students in the first year, enlisted 65 in the second year, then 100 in the third year, and 110 this fourth year. Our pool of mentors expanded. Coaches and graduates of our programme joined us as well. We acquired “new friends” to our TMK Family through new partnerships.” Noting that the goal of TMK was to raise responsible, responsive, entrepreneur, leader engineer candidates of tomorrow, Ms. Özdemir emphasised that “our aim is to inspire women engineer candidates who are capable of leading us in the future, and identify women leaders who will guide the future of our country, and shatter the so-called ‘glass ceilings’.”

Mr. Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Resident Representative, gave various examples of outstanding women who had contributed to scientific advances through the history, and asked the girls to find their own sources of motivation.

20,000 High-schoolers outreached

Engineer Girls of Turkey has granted tertiary scholarships to 310 students since 2015, and provided internships to 80 students at Limak Group and other firms. Currently, 110 students from 35 universities are actively enrolled in the project. The high school component of the project reached out 20,000 high- schoolers in 10 provinces in 2018 through the educational content in three subjects, awareness raising plays and virtual reality applications, and role- model meetings at every school. The high school component will continue in 25 schools in 10 provinces in cooperation with the Teacher Academy Foundation (ÖRAV). In addition, the cooperation with the People Management Association of Turkey (PERYÖN) further strengthened the TMK Project in terms of educational programmes and career opportunities.