On the occasion of International Women’s Day last week, the National Nanotechnology Research Center (UNAM) held a celebratory event, during which the integral place of women in the Bilkent community and their contributions to the university and to society were highlighted.
The program, which took place on March 8, began with a mini concert by the FMPA Quartet, with Elif Ece Cansever, İlayda Ünalan, Deniz Çağlarcan and Özgür Deniz Kaya performing pieces by Alexander Borodin.
Next, Prof. Hilmi Volkan Demir, UNAM’s Director, offered introductory remarks and highlighted UNAM’s leadership position in materials science and nanotechnology and reviewed UNAM’s high-impact contributions, which are the results of women and men working closely together across the campus. Following Prof. Demir, Rector Abdullah Atalar took the podium. As background, he presented general comparative statistics regarding the literacy and employment rates of women and men in Turkey, before focusing on women at Bilkent University.
Prof. Atalar noted that 46.7 percent of undergraduate students and 44.6 percent of graduate students at Bilkent are women; the figure is 45.8 percent for PhD students. As for female employment at the university, 45.2 percent of the administrative staff and 45.4 percent of the academic staff are women.
The honored guest speaker for the program was philanthropist Aysel Sabuncu, who offered her thoughts on the true meaning of the day. “March 8 should not be a day to gush over women,” she stated. “Rather, it should be a day to bring up issues such as violence against women or women’s rights for discussion.”
In closing, Ms. Sabuncu referred to the historical legacy of women’s rights in Turkey. “Women in our country received equality in cultural, social and legal rights courtesy of our great leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. As he said, ‘Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women.’ Happy Women’s Day.”
The program ended with a short tour of the UNAM facilities.