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Better networking together – German and Turkish female computer scientists are ready for action

© Informatica feminale, University Bremen
© Informatica feminale, University Bremen

The German-Turkish Year of Science supports young women from both countries in an international IT summer school.

Building bridges and breaking stereotypes have been the objectives of the University of Bremen's "Informatica feminale" for almost 20 years. Across lectures, field trips and experiments, networking is a key principle of the summer university, which runs for almost ten days and is also open to interested female students from Turkey this year.

Veronika Oechtering, Scientific Director of the "Women in Science and Technology" centre of excellence at the University of Bremen, and her fellow campaigners aim to support women pursuing careers in computing and inspire students at their annual summer university with academic discourse on bits and bytes in a relaxed atmosphere. The scientists from Bremen are once again inviting students and interested working women to the University of Bremen in the last week of August. This year, as well as women from Bremen, ten young scientists from Istanbul and Ankara will also make the trip to the university.

Building bridges through networking

Over the past twenty years, the Bremen summer university has evolved into a highly successful project. Around 50 female trainers and lecturers now run one-week and half-week sessions on a wide range of socio-political issues such as data protection and cyber-security, as well as on the conventional sub-disciplines of computer science:  programming languages, database systems and network architecture.

The term "network" is central to Informatica Feminale's fundamental philosophy. As well as the technical side of things, encouraging personal exchange between the participants and helping women break into the increasingly male-dominated world of technology are key objectives for the annual summer university.

German, Turkish and the common "21st-century foreign language"

A project idea which, just like the global data stream and science and technology transfer, finally transcends borders. So far, the "Informatica Feminale" concept has successfully spread through Germany and Austria, having been established at institutions such as universities and advanced technical colleges in Freiburg im Breisgau and Salzburg.

As part of the German-Turkish Year of Science, the project "Professional Networking for Women in Computing" is now building bridges between east and west. These are sustainable bridge-building efforts, as they go further than simply passing on the enthusiasm that the annual event in Bremen has inspired since 1997 to the participants. Veronika Oechtering and her colleagues are also helping Turkish lecturers to bring the fundamental concept of "Informatica feminale" to universities in Istanbul and Ankara, efforts which have allowed them to establish an exchange programme this year and next year. Language barriers are a thing of the past.

While Turkish guest workers of the 1950s and 1960s, the grandparents of today's Turkish students, once grappled with German, nowadays Turkish and German students share a common language: computer code, a gender-neutral, transnational "21st-century foreign language".

Information on the project: www.informatica-feminale.de/

Further information on the German-Turkish Year of Science

Further information about the German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation 2014 can be found at www.deutsch-tuerkisches-wissenschaftsjahr.de.

About the International Science Years

With the German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation 2014, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is continuing a series of International Science Years with strategically important partner countries. Since 2007, the Science Years, which focus on education, science and research, have been carried out successfully in cooperation with countries such as China, Brazil, Russia and, most recently, South Africa.

Press contact:
German-Turkish Year of Research, Education and Innovation 2014
Email: kontakt@deutsch-tuerkisches-wissenschaftsjahr.de
Phone: +49 (0) 308 18777 124

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