ITU Holds a Special Celebration on International Women’s Day
Mar 09, 2016

ITU, the first technical university in Turkey, a reputable institution known for its history, science, technology, art and sport achievements over the period of 243 years, celebrated the 8th of March, the International Women’s Day at Suleyman Demirel Cultural Center by holding a panel discussion and a concert.
The discussion panel titled “ITU Women, Steps that Inspire” jointly conducted by ITU and Women’s Studies Center in Science, Engineering and Technology (ITU WSC in SET) was followed by a concert of Turkish Classical and Western Music from the Romantic period to the present times composed and performed by women.

Dr. Orhan Öcalgiray Molecular Biology-Biotechnology and Genetics Research Centre Director and Molecular Biology and Genetics academic member Prof. Arzu Karabay Korkmaz, Computer Engineering Department Prof. Zehra Çataltepe, Environmental Engineering Department academic member Assoc. Prof. Didem Okutman Taş and Urban and Regional Planning Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Günay shared their experience of working in such male-dominated fields as science, engineering and technology during the panel discussion presided by Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences Director and Management Engineering academic member Prof. Şebnem Burnaz.
“Being a Woman in Academia”
Prof. Şebnem Burnaz offered the panel participants to share their opinions on being a woman and being a woman-academician.
Prof. Zehra Çataltepe stressed that the employment rates of female university graduates have decreased. Çataltepe pointed out that being a mother and academician at the same time is a diffucult task for every woman academician which can be accomplished only with the support of family members.
Assoc. Prof. Zeynep Günay emphasized that men and women academicians should be equal and it is essential for women to express themselves freely. “In my opnioin the system and the academia in our country protects women more than men. Women in academic cirles sometimes become an obstacle because of such overprotection. Personally I find my male colleagues more supportive. Female academicians use their maternity privileges. It is high time they abandon this type of behaviour,” said Günay.

Prof. Arzu Karabay Korkmaz stressed the place of children in the academic career. The emotional speech by Korkmaz, who compared being a woman academician to a “Survivor Adventure”, was given a round of applause.
Assoc. Prof. Didem Okutman Taş shared her opinion on the difficulties encountered by women in such male-dominated fields as science, engineering and technology. Taş also recommended female students who plan to pursue an academic career to be wise and careful while choosing their thesis advisors.
The panel continued with a concert of Compositions Written and Performed by Women given by the academic members of ITU Turkish Music State Conservatory. The concert provided an opportunity to meet closely with the female composers of different periods and cultures introducing Neveser Kökdeş, a Turkish composer, Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler, two composers of Western romantic music, and a young modern Turkish composer Deniz Demirel.


ITU TMSC academic member Assist. Prof. Sinem Özdemir, who performed the compositions of Neveser Kökdeş, was accompanied by Assist. Prof. Ayşegül Kostak Toksoy playing the zither. ITU TMSC Teaching Assistant Fidan Kurt Kasapbaşı, who performed the compositions of Clara Schumann, Alma Mahler and Duygu Deniz Demirel, was accompanied by Teaching Assistant Mehru Ensari playing the piano.