HvAll Inclusive Award for Women’s Network FemIT

13 Jan 2021 10:18 | Communication

Software engineering lecturer Lisa van der Plas of the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries is the winner of the HvAll Inclusive Award. Together with students Hamnah Butt, Liza Darwesh, Kimberly van der Kooij, Linh Nguyen and Sarah Rehman, she founded the women’s network FemIT, for female students and IT professionals. This is the second time that the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’s (AUAS) Platform Inclusion has presented the award to a lecturer or student who has made a special effort to promote inclusive education.

Van der Plas is delighted with the recognition for the women’s network. When she started in 2019, she immediately realised there was a great need for such a network among female ICT students. “I studied ICT myself, and although it was a lot of fun with all those guys, I often missed the inspiration of other women around me. When I was hired as a lecturer, the first thing I did was to set up a network. The first event I organised drew fifty women right away, so there is obviously a considerable demand for it.”

Making female students feel more welcome

FemiIT was selected on 12 January following a pitch in an online meeting in which the six finalists presented their work. The jury of seven student ambassadors praised FemIT for its practical applicability. Chair of the jury Angelo Meijvogel: “FemIT shows how you can involve a group that is a minority, in this case women, in a certain degree programme, in this case HBO-ICT (Information Technology and Computer Science programme), in order to help female students and lecturers feel more welcome. The project can be easily translated to other programmes with one-sided enrolment when it comes to gender, such as some degree programmes in the Faculty of Technology.”

In addition to FemIT, two other initiatives received HvAll Inclusive Awards. Second prize went to Cindy Warmerdam and Mohammed Skori of Student Affairs. Together with Fiona Veraa they developed Tune In, an introduction programme for first-generation students. Third prize went to Rian Harmsen who is researching the extent to which lecturers consider the creation of an inclusive learning environment in the Communication programme.

Diversity as a priority area

Diversity is one of the priority areas of the new strategic plan recently presented by the AUAS - The AUAS in 3 Dimensions: Sustainable, Inclusive and Digital. This is the title of the Strategic Plan 2021-2026 (available soon in English). The strategic plan describes the strategy of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences for the years 2021-2026. It provides direction to the work of all those involved in the AUAS, in education, in research and in support roles.

In order to strengthen its ambitions with regard to diversity, the AUAS also signed the Amsterdam agreement last year, for diverse, inclusive and socially engaged higher education. By signing the agreement, all of Amsterdam’s higher education institutions declared their joint commitment to creating an inclusive and just society in which there is no room for racism and discrimination.