The FARI Brussels Conference returns on 18 November at Studio Flagey in Brussels, find out more.

An Initiative of

Supported by


FARI's FOTIF2023 session entitled "The Story behind Women in Academia" was held on 22 November at BeCentral in Brussels.


Michelle Gay Nidoy

Brussels, Belgium – Four remarkable female researchers in the academe shared their journey in FARI’s event, “The Story Behind Women in Academia”, on 22 November 2023, as part of The Future of Tech is Female celebration with BeCentral.

The event started with a video introduction by Barbara Trachte, State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, who emphasized the urgent need for more women in science and technology. Mrs. Trachte highlighted the gender disparities in academic positions where there are fewer women professors than men, and in the academic ladder, women make up only 26% of full professorship positions.

These figures must change. That’s why at the policy level of the Brussels Capital Region, we encourage women to have high ambitions.”, the state secretary underscored the importance of programs and initiatives and that the policy level must be amplified with actions from the fields, which this FARI event is an excellent example of.

As a mean to encourage women, the event featured compelling testimonials from the speakers, each sharing their unique journey in academia.

Anastasia Karagianni, PhD Candidate at VUB Law Science Technology and Society & FARI Institute on gender discrimination in AI, further focused on gender inequality and inclusivity. Karagianni emphasized embracing femininity to foster inclusivity in the tech landscape. She highlighted the critical importance of self-definition and personal opportunities, citing the lack of female role models in technology and academia as a significant hurdle.

Miriam Doh, PhD Candidate at IRIDIA Lab (ULB) – ISIA lab (UMONS) in Explainable AI applied to Computer Vision, dived deeper into the importance of advocating representation and building networks. Doh shared her journey of transitioning from humanities to computer science, facing challenges along the way, especially with respect and skepticism about her choice. Undeterred, she became a student representative, actively seeking connections with other women in academia. Doh stressed the significance of community and how networks provide support for change.

Samira Bakkali, PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant at Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management (SBS-EM) – ULB, shared her inspiring story as she balanced parenthood and academia. Bakkali’s narrative brought forth the challenges faced by mothers in the academe, juggling teaching, research, and parental responsibilities. She highlighted the societal prejudices and professional isolation often accompanying this balancing act. Bakkali emphasized the importance of perseverance, resilience, and the support received from colleagues to overcome these prejudices.

Finally, Aleksandra Zaniewska, PhD Candidate at VUB BUDA & FARI AI Accelerator, highlighted the need to embrace failure, change, and diversity. Zaniewska’s journey spanned career transitions from medicine to AI. She underscored the strength in uniqueness despite facing inappropriate inquiries in professional settings. Advocating for a culture of embracing failure and change, Zaniewska emphasized the need to promote diversity and different perspectives in the workplace.

The challenges presented by the speakers were not merely personal but reflected broader issues within the tech and academic realms. Collectively, the speakers proposed solutions ranging from promoting inclusivity and encouraging self-definition to actively advocating for representation and building support networks. They emphasized the importance of raising awareness, showcasing options, and embracing failure and change to foster diversity in the workplace.

To provide an avenue to build a network and community, the event concluded with a networking session, providing attendees with the opportunity to engage in discussions and explore potential collaborations in a supportive ecosystem for women in tech.

FARI extends its heartfelt thanks to the speakers, participants, BeCentral, and everyone involved in the organization for their valuable contributions to breaking down barriers and shaping a more inclusive future for women in academia and technology.

FARI, AI for the Common Good, has a network of over 300 researchers. Get in touch with us!


Other news

All news

All news