Commissioner Gabriel opens online exhibition on outstanding women in the arts and sciences

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, today launches an online series on remarkable historical women in the arts & sciences, in close collaboration with Europeana. Once a week, from mid-January until International Women’s Day in the first week of March, Europeana will publish the story of an extraordinary historical European woman.

Commissioner Gabriel said:

How much better would Europe be if girls and women felt empowered to dream big and aim high across professional fields from art to science? Having role models will help them build these dreams. The online exhibition I launch today in cooperation with Europeana is about pioneering women from our history whose stories are vastly different, but have one thing in common: these fearless women changed the world with their passion and hard work. Today we need to empower and inspire girls and women everywhere in Europe to innovate, discover and create especially in the digital sector. And all of us, we have a role to play.

Every story will feature outstanding achievements in the arts or sciences, from a mix of famous and less known but equally brilliant women. The first story, published today, kick-starts the online exhibition with one of the biggest names in science: Maria Skłodowska-Curie. The online collection will culminate with a final special profile foreseen for the first week of March, which also marks International Women’s Day. The ‘Pioneers: Trailblazing women in the arts, sciences and society’ exhibition will afterwards be permanently available online on Europeana.

It is part of the Commissioner’s strategy to increase women’s participation in the digital economy and to empower them to play a more active role in the digital age. In response to the reported decrease in the already small number of women that study and work in ICT related areas, the strategy focuses on making progress in three areas: challenging gender stereotypes in the digital economy, promoting girls’ and women’s digital skills and education, and advocating for more women entrepreneurs and innovators.

With International Women’s Day approaching, the online exhibition, which will use high-quality, openly licensed data from Europeana Collections is a unique opportunity to discover achievements of great and pioneering European women across the centuries. It seeks to raise awareness of women’s historical contributions to the arts and sciences, and provides a platform for representation of emblematic professional women in Europe. It also illustrates how digital technology can be used to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Throughout history, there have always been women who have overcome the odds to make important contributions to social, economic and technological domains. Many of these stories, however, are not widely known. Fortunately, European museums and libraries that kept precious records of these women’s actions and contributions to society have opened their archives for digitisation. Europeana, a European Commission initiative as Europe’s digital platform for cultural heritage, provides access to such digitised resources.

Europeana actively supports online accessibility of cultural heritage resources and their use and re-use across EU countries. Building on ten years of working towards increasing the visibility of Europe’s digitised cultural heritage, Europeana currently provides access to over 58 million cultural items from more than 3,700 libraries, archives, museums and collections. Its collections cover a variety of themes from art and fashion to photography and sport, reflecting European cultural history from pre-history to the present day.


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