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Special Speaker Panel Held on February 11, International Day of Women and Girls in Science Day!

Being a woman in the world of science and technology was discussed at the International Panel on Women and Girls in Science.

Organized by the Aydın Doğan Foundation to raise awareness about equal rights and opportunities in all fields together including the scientific world, The February 11th International Women and Girls in Science Day Panel was held on Thursday, February 11 at 20:00.

Aydın Doğan Foundation President Hanzade Doğan Boyner and Turkish Doctor Dilek Gürsoy, who was deemed worthy of the Victress Award, one of Germany's most prestigious awards, were guests of the panel, moderated by Şirin Payzın and broadcasted live. Aydın Doğan Foundation which has been continuously working on drawing attention to the obstacles young girls of Turkey face on the road to achieving full potential, organized a panel with distinguished guests on February 11th International Studies in Women and Girls Day. The panel, aiming to raise awareness about equal rights and opportunities in all fields together with the scientific world, was broadcasted live on Thursday, February 11 at 20:00. Turkish Doctor Dilek Gürsoy deemed worthy of the Victress Award, one of Germany's most prestigious awards, and Boğaziçi University Computer Engineering student Şefika Akman, one of the scholarship students of the Aydın Doğan Foundation, and Sevdenur Demir, a student of Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, also attended.

Successful role models shared their stories to inspire young girls.

At the panel moderated by Şirin; Aydın Doğan Foundation President Hanzade Doğan Boyner and Dr. Dilek Gürsoy shared their success stories with students that were listening to the panel and all audiences watching the panel online. Saying that she went to the dormitories for girls, which were opened years ago during the Dad Please Send Me to School Campaign, Şirin Payzın started the panel by mentioning that in this exemplary and pioneering project she had the opportunity to observe what difference it made in the lives of girls.

Hanzade Doğan Boyner, as one of the first entrepreneurs in Turkey's technological and digital transformation, said that gender equality is a human right. Hanzade Doğan Boyner continued her words as: “It is against the basis of modern life to say that one of the two genders who come to the world deserves to study, work and access health care, while the other should not have any of these and should stay at home.

We never saw the Dad Please Send Me to School as a simple project, which we started with the Contemporary Life Support Foundation; it was a full-on activation campaign for us! In those years, when we looked at Turkey's problems; we realized the 10-15% gap in sending girls to school vs boys. We thought it looked bad for the country. This gap has closed significantly, but the problems with women's equal participation in life are not over. As a foundation, we attach importance to empowering girls. I care about this not only in the Foundation but also in my business life.

In high school, girls generally do not choose engineering. In the new world, those who are afraid of technology and science and who believe that they are masculine jobs will be left behind. More women need to be involved in law, medicine, and engineering. At Aydın Doğan Foundation, we said that we will bring role models to high schools, we will organize campaigns and we have started to give scholarships to those who choose these departments.”

"There are still those who don’t think a woman can become a cardiac surgeon, in the middle of Europe!"

In the panel, Dr. Dilek Gürsoy, as the owner of the title of Europe’s first female artificial cardiac surgeon, explained what obstacles she faced while achieving this success and how she continued on her way regardless. ”My mother came to Germany at the age of 17 and started to work, an illiterate but a very smart woman. I have never heard from my family that because I’m a woman, I can’t do something. I proceeded with the self-confidence that my mother gave me. In the hospital, when I had not decided on the department yet, in the operating room they were saying that 'cardiac surgeons are men, they have long working hours. You cannot stand it'. With my mother's encouragement, I was not afraid at all.

A strong and confident woman stands out everywhere. I am in the heart of Europe. I am strong and I know what I do very well. This can be a problem in areas where men are dominant. I was doing my surgeries, I was making money, but my vision was different. I left my comfort zone, took a risk, took action to establish an artificial heart center. I believe women make a difference in these areas. There are female engineers I work with. For example, women can look at the artificial heart and how it will fit with the female breast, and take into account the needs of women. Artificial hearts have always been studied for men. How can they work in the smaller rib cage; that should be studied as well.”

Participating in the panel with her questions, one of the Aydın Doğan Foundation scholarship students, Şefika, a computer engineering student, grew up going to school at a village in Tire, Izmir. "I have been a scholarship student for 4 years. I grew up with my father. My father raised me without distinction between men and women. I was saying that I would be an architect at school, I would be an engineer. At that time, there were not a lot of educated people around me. But I had a teacher, who told my father to buy me a computer saying, ‘she should grow with a computer’. Since then, I have always been chasing technology. When I said that I will study engineering, people other than my family reacted."

Sevdenur, another student who asked questions to the panelists, was born in a village in Niksar district of Tokat. Sevdenur, who stayed at the Aydın Doğan Foundation's dormitory in high school, said that this changed her life. "Thank you very much to the Aydın Doğan Foundation for creating this chance for me. I always wanted to be an engineer in high school. My goal was not very high, and my self-confidence was low. But I finished high school at the top of my class. During the college degree selection process, my heart was saying engineering, my mind was medicine. Because engineering is mostly male; everyone, including my family, said I should go to medicine. I chose medicine with the idea of a guaranteed profession. But I want to combine my future work with engineering."

"We will continue to fight to ensure young girls have the same opportunities as their male counterparts."

The panel, which lasted an hour and was broadcast live, ended with final words of wisdom from Hanzade Doğan Boyner and Dr. Dilek Gürsoy to the young ones. Dr. Dilek Gürsoy said that she believes that women who have accomplished important things have to support young people and continued as follows: "We should help young people and encourage them. Women should support each other. Young people should follow the work they believe in, not be tired of difficulties, work hard to reach a decision-making position, listen to success stories. And I recommend them to follow their role models and learn from them. "

Hanzade Doğan Boyner, on the other hand, said that the Aydın Doğan Foundation's work changed the lives of girls and concluded: "I was born lucky, I have to do my best to ensure that girls have equal opportunities. I want to help every girl I can touch the lives of, not just me, but our fellows have to do the same. Both Sevdenur and Şefika will do this. We will continue to fight against this inequality altogether. "

You can watch the Aydın Doğan Foundation February 11th International Day of Women and Girls in Science panel on Youtube through this link: