The Greek Innovation Lab for Women (#GIL4WA) started to operation in the “Athena” Research Center on Friday, to support and promote research, innovation, and entrepreneurship for and by women in Greece.
Opened on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, #GIL4W is an initiative of Deputy Labor & Social Affairs Minister Maria Syrengela, responsible for Demographic Policies and Families.
In a statement, the Labor Ministry said the unit brought together 20 agencies, ministries, research centers, academic institutions, chambers of commerce, and the private sector, and will serve women nationally. Its comprehensive plan includes a series of interventions including supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula and encouraging girls to follow directions toward new highly specialized skills (e.g. artificial intelligence, biotechnology). It will also provide information on funding for female entrepreneurs.
#GIL4W’s model will be founded on examples and good practices from countries with a strong tradition in female innovation and entrepreneurship like Norway, and includes collaboration with international agencies such as the European Centre for Women and Technology (ECWT).
Syrengela said the aim of the unit is to “encourage women to get involved in sectors traditionally dominated by men,” and to rectify the underrepresentation of women in science, encouraging girls to follow STEM studies.
Deputy Development & Investments Minister Christos Dimas, responsible for Research and Technology, underlined that the unit will highlight “the decisive role of women in research and the sciences, going back eons.”
Athena’s head, professor Ioannis Emiris, noted that the new unit augments the center’s purpose to support innovation and ensure the research results trickle down to society and the economy.
The Athena Rsearch & Innovation Center was founded in 2003 as the “IRIS-Integrated Research for the Information Society” to consolidate and further expand the Greek R&D activities and initiatives in the area of information and communications technology.