#WomenInScience: Anna-Maria

I shall also be one of the women that will not quit her dreams…”

“At the Polytechnic University I became aware of how ‘male dominated’ the sector is and during my studies on education/teaching I experienced the ‘female domination’. It is unbelievable that even today these sex differences exist in the choice of studies and thus, professions”.

This is the opinion of Anna-Maria, one more woman who loves technology and science and shares her story with us in the context of the tribute #WomenInScience, concerning her experience as a student in this field.

Raised by a father who is a forestry expert and a mother who was a traditional homemaker, Anna-Maria grew up in a large suburban town, showcasing her inclination towards technology and computer science (IT) from an early age. After excelling in her final exam on IT, her teachers encouraged her to study something closely related to IT. She ended up completing her university diploma at the Department of Primary Education at the University of Ioannina, she then pursued a graduate degree at the University of Piraeus in the Department where she received a master’s degree in digital systems, with a focus on e-learning.

And she continues to amaze. This year she decided to enroll at the Vocational Highschool, and she reboots her relationship with IT, and her innate need to expand and further her knowledge. “I always loved technology and IT. I believe it is the future in the field of education. In education, gender or other barriers should not exist”. Her love for technology in conjuncture with her need to further her knowledge paved her way for her to reach SolidarityNow; where she followed and graduated from the educational program IT Essentials, which was implemented by SolidarityNow in partnership with Cisco.

Anna-Maria remembers that at all levels of education she confronted social stereotypes that directly or indirectly affected the direction of her studies, profession, and the life path she would follow, one that is “ideal for a woman”. As she recalls “when I was completing my thesis, even the subject choices were limited if you were a woman. I was treated by others like I could never been successful in the field of technology, without being ever given the opportunity to prove oneself. Male professors especially looked at us quite disparagingly.

I believe the time has come for the deeply rooted stereotypes to change. I believe there have been a lot of improvements compared to previous years, even though I am still caught by surprise when I hear parents advising younger girls to become teachers, as this is among the professions best suitable for women. Men are still more free to decide what their profession will be leading to disciplines where the racial inequality remains huge”.

Anna-Maria remembers her IT teacher sharing with her students her worries about their professional future, explaining her own difficulties in establishing herself as an equal “partner” in a field that rejected her for a long period of time due to her gender.

“Things are tough out there, especially when you are a woman and your wish is to do something “different,” but I truly believe that we can finally change this. I shall also be one of the women that will not quit her dreams due to the anachronistic perceptions”.