Female leadership: reality & social chance

Our previous post described how, in some contexts, the relation of women and technology is perceived almost as a deviation of the conventional ideas of femininity. But technology is not the only field in which women are still underrepresented. A similar situation is found on leadership positions.

According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015 elaborated by Development Dimensions International (DDI): “Even with a greater academic achievement and an increased presence in global workforce, women are underrepresented in leadership and are more likely to be found in lower-level than higher-level leadership roles”.
This statement is clearly supported by Catalyst’s Women in Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. In the main US companies, women only hold the 4% of CEO positions.

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Women, Evil and Technology vs Conventional Ideas of Femininity

women and technology


The mermaid, the witch, the femme fatale (…): these are all representations of evil women or women who have subverted the conventional ideas of femininity. Kept alive in oral tradition and hidden in the unspoken rules of society, the dangerous, evil woman lives on to define what we believe a woman should be


These words belong to the overview of “Perceiving Evil: Evil, Women and the Feminine” edited by D. Farnell, R. Noiva and K. Smith in the frame of the alternative, unconventional, and multidisciplinary approach promoted by the Evil Project. This year, the Project will hold its 8th Global Meeting in Oxford (UK) on 23-25 September. Its main aim will be to analyse which was and which is the characterization of women with regard to evil. In their own words: “We are fascinated by stories of real and fictional women who perpetrate evil deeds, experience evil as victims, fight against evil and take the blame as scapegoats for evil that exists in the world”. Proposals for various forms of contributions should be summited by 22nd April 2016.

Beyond the idea of evil, it might seem that nowadays the relation of women with the technological world is almost a deviation of the conventional ideas of femininity. In many contexts, mainly in Europe and in the US, the participation of women in this field is completely minority and in some societies women are even perceived not to be “natural technologists”. However, this has not always been the case. As Sarah Murray describes in the Financial Times: “In the US and much of Western Europe in the 1980s, (…), women collected almost 40 per cent of computer science degrees. Today, however, the figure is 15 to 20 per cent”. Leer más

In Homage to Joe Bower, The Teacher from Red Deer

The night of January 3, Joe Bower, a teacher from Alberta, Canada, died of a sudden heart attack, a few days after his 37th birthday.

Too early, inexplicably, tragically. Still, the light and inspiration Joe radiated will far outlast him.  His death is a tragedy for the family, friends, students and colleges who were close to him. But it also moved many people to express their deep mourning for this special person – a person who worked to not only create better schools but also a better world. Joes work, writings and his blog demonstrated his courage in single-handedly taking on the system  and challenging the status quo. It also inspired many teachers around the world.

Members of this Chair‘s work, his fellow speakers and other participants in a conference in Barcelona in December 2014 had known Joe for only a few days. But we all immediately knew what a jewel was amongst us. His talk was so wonderfully down to earth and practical in application. In fact, it was less a speech and more of a conversation with the audience who he so naturally engaged with his logic and thinking processes – and led to joint conclusions. It was a real joy to watch him capturing attention, empathising with his audience and directing this academic forum as if it were a high-school class session! Clearly, here was a high-calibre pedagogue, a real master.

Cena bona

But this alone does not make a great teacher. Love and respect for children, compassion for their personal struggles and achievements, for their pain and joy – these were the qualities which made him great. As Cathy Davidson wrote, he set the bar for humanity and for our profession as educators sky high.

Joe’s human qualities, his profound honesty and his modesty are revealed by little details. He told the conference that he was not born a good teacher; in fact, he had started out a terrible teacher! On being asked why it was so difficult to get in contact with him, he confessed that when he received the invitation to come to Barcelona as a keynote speaker, he thought that was a (bad) joke and he had deleted the letter! And after all, how he could just leave his 126 students and go to Barcelona?

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Premios Manuel Castillo 2015

Premios Manuel Castillo 2

El Patronat Nord-Sud de la Fundació General de la Universitat de València convoca la séptima edición de los premios Manuel Castillo sobre Cooperación y paz. Estos galardones buscan premiar la labor investigadora y divulgadora de la cooperación para el desarrollo humano, la paz y la cooperación, realizadas desde las instituciones académicas españolas, así como a través de los medios de comunicación.

La convocatoria 2015 de los premios se estructuran en 4 categorías con sus respectivos premios.

– Monografía de investigación: 3.200€

– Reportaje periodístico: 2.000€

–  Monografía de investigación inédita: edición

–  Iniciativas de cooperación al desarrollo de la Universitat de València: “Premis Lluís Vives”

El plazo para la presentación de trabajos es hasta el 18 de diciembre de 2015. Más información sobre las bases de estos premios en el siguiente enlace o contactando con premi.manuelcastillo@uv.es.

Alternative Economic Models for Equitable Online Higher Education

On October 21-22, this UNESCO Chair held a series of events aimed at opening up a new research field on economics of online higher education. This initiative is meant to be our response to widely discussed Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations.  Broadening of access to the higher education and making it affordable and equitable is the new imperative for global policies on education.

We have launched these new activities with a Roundtable, Alternative Economic Models for Equitable Online Higher Education, organized under sponsorship of Obra Social “la Caixa”  (Internationalization at Home Program). Central part of it is a public talk by the invited expert from USA, Burck Smith, CEO & Founder of StraighterLine. As Burck Smith had testified to the U.S. White House´ Committee on improving higher education and the workforce.

“Despite massive investments in technology, higher education prices are rising and quality declining. In every other industry, technology investments yield cost savings which translate to lower prices and higher quality – productivity increases. Why not in higher education?”

StraighterLine has found its innovative and sustainable business model to resolve the apparent conundrum. This video contains the presentation of Burck Smith, while the second part, discussion, will be published later.

Premi Dona TIC 2015


Dona TICA Catalunya, ha estat anunciada una nova iniciativa, el Premi Dona TIC 2015. Aquest projecte està organitzat per la Generalitat de Catalunya, a través d’idigital i per Tertúlia Digital, amb la col·laboració de l’Observatori Dona Empresa. Les candidatures poden ser proposades per qualsevol persona o entitat. Aquest premi s’atorga en quatre categories diferents: emprenedora, professional, acadèmica/investigadora i divulgadora.

El termini de presentació de candidatures és fins el 26 de novembre de 2015. La cerimònia d’entrega dels guardons tindrà lloc el proper 10 de desembre de 2015 a l’auditori de l’edifici imagina de Barcelona. Per a més informació i per accedir als formularis de presentació de candidatures consulteu la web oficial del Premi Dona TIC 2015.

Des d’aquesta Càtedra us animem a presentar les vostres iniciatives i a seguir promovent l’accés de les dones al sector de les TIC.

Conferencia el 22 de octubre en Barcelona

Burck_SmithLa Cátedra UNESCO en Educación y Tecnología para el Cambio Social les invita a la conferencia pública: “Do the Principles of Digital Economics Apply to the Higher Education Market?” a cargo de Burck Smith, CEO y Fundador de StraighterLine, de Baltimore (EUA).

En unos momentos en que el crecimiento de la demanda de educación superior en todo el mundo está retando a la economía global, a las Administraciones y a las propias instituciones educativas, conocer experiencias innovadoras nos puede abrir la puerta a valorar nuevas oportunidades para resolver esta situación que debe tener en la equidad y la sostenibilidad su punto de equilibrio.

En este sentido, StraighterLine ha sido el centro de las miradas de muchos de los principales medios e investigadores en el campo de la Educación (Inside HigherEd, Chronicle of Higher Education, Educause, etc) consolidándose como uno de los proveedores privados de cursos de educación superior online más innovadores y exitosos de los Estados Unidos. Además, B. Smith es autor de diversos capítulos en tres libros sobre políticas educativas para el American Enterprise Institute (AEI), de artículos para múltiples revistas especializadas en educación superior y es un ponente habitual sobre las oportunidades, los peligros y la estructura del mercado de aprendizaje online.

La conferencia se celebrará en la sede de Tibidabo de la UOC (Avenida Tibidabo, 39-43), en la Sala Josep Laporte, el próximo jueves 22 de octubre a las 18:30h.

Esta actividad se realiza con el apoyo del programa Internationalization at Home de la Obra Social de La Caixa.

UNESCO Chairs chart new paths to increasing global and local engagement of universities

Last September 29th we participated in the 1st meeting of the UNESCO Chairs Working Group organized by GUNI. The event, held in Barcelona at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, gathered around 30 representatives of UNESCO Chairs in Education from different regions of the world. They discussed global and local impact that UNESCO Chairs have on higher education institutions. They also analyzed how to contribute to the 17 new  Sustainable Development Goals just passed by United Nations last September 25th, that aim to guarantee an inclusive, equitable, and quality education for everyone.

Read more about the meeting via GUNI press release: