Librae aims to promote and stimulate gender equality among students in STEM by providing female students with a network that connects them to inspiring role models, each other and themselves.
Fay de Waal
Materials Science Engineering/Industrial Ecology
Over het initiatief / About the initiative
In welke fase zit jouw initiatief? / In what stage is your initiative?
Heb je jouw initiatief al gevalideerd? / Did you validate your initiative?
Meer informatie over jouw initiatief / More info about your initiative
Who we are
There’s a high demand for more women in technology and leadership positions, and the number of female students at the TU Delft has been increasing. To ensure female students get the most out of their time at university, are confident and well prepared when they enter the job market, we have created a network to support female students in STEM. Role models are essential for the network to inspire and teach students by sharing their experiences.
How it started
Two years ago, Fay de Waal started exploring what her opportunities might be after graduating from the TU Delft by attending a series of conferences and events that aligned with her interests. She became entwined in a network of working women who were all supporting each other in pursuing their ambitions by sharing experiences and offering advice. She discovered how prevalent issues on gender equality and diversity are and how much attention these topics are receiving at company level (e.g. Women in Tech, Female Tech Heroes in Eindhoven, Lean In Circles). At university however, it occurred to her that these topics are hardly discussed among students, let alone how these factors might impact their career ambitions and opportunities. Three years ago, she did an internship at a private equity company in a team of 15 white men. Their response to her question as to why there were no women in their team was “there simply aren’t any qualified women or we just can’t find them” shocked her. As a result, together with Simone Hilhorst, she founded Librae, a network that aims to promote and stimulate gender equality and diversity among students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) by supporting female students in their preparation to enter the job market.
Students are looking for a better way to orient on the job market, find out what their opportunities are and where they might fit in. By meeting role models from different industries or pairing a student with an inspirational mentor who they look up to and may aspire to be one day gives students the unique opportunity to gain insights into how the industry works, what the company is truly like and choose the right career path.
- Access to a network of inspirational women from different industries/backgrounds.
- Personal and genuine way to meet women from the industry/company they are interested in.
- Advice and guidance in making the right career choice.
Women are unlikely to apply for a job if they don’t meet all the requirements, whereas men will apply to a vacancy if they meet only 60% of the requirements. We want to boost student confidence as they start applying for their first job, by providing students with a series of workshops and training sessions in parallel with the mentorship programme. In addition, our events offer students the chance to ask inspiring role models personal questions to learn from their experiences and ask for guidance.
- Personal identity & branding (who am I, how do I want to be remembered and how to present myself to others)
- Develop leadership skills such as listening, speaking, negotiation, conflict resolution.
- Practical skills such as writing a good motivation letter, setting up your CV, networking, and job interview preparation.
What we do
During a three-course dinner, 50-100 students will connect with inspiring role models from a wide range of backgrounds (corporates, start-ups, academia, politics, etc.) in a close and personal setting. Students are seated in small groups of 4-6 students accompanied by 1-2 role models per table, which will rotate after each course. Before each course a guest speaker will share their knowledge and experience on diversity and gender equality with the students.
In the mentorship programme 10-20 students in the final phase of their studies are individually matched to a mentor that matches their profiles based on their study background, interests, and ambitions. Throughout the programme the students will receive 3 training sessions on themes such as personal development, leadership skills and soft skills. In addition, we will organise a kick-off dinner, Librae circles (moments for mentees to connect), and closing event for the students.
Wat zijn jouw volgende stappen om het verder te ontwikkelen? / What are your next steps to develop the initiative?
Our next steps are to reach more students in STEM, grow a larger network of rolemodels and companies.
- Expand to reach more students from other universities with STEM related studies
- Grow our social media (Instagram/LinkedIn) to reach more followers
- Engage existing community by managing our online platforms and creating an offline platform
- Quarterly drinks for students and role models
- Mentorship programme alumni events
- Monthly newsletter for students and role models
- Share opportunities with network
- Grow our team
Wat heb je nodig om (nog meer) impact te maken met dit initiatief? / What do you need to make (more) impact with this initiative?
- Financial support
- Support in kind
- Advice with our finances
- Assistance in hosting or developing valuable training and workshops for students
- Venues to host our events and workshops
- Office location for the team
- Partnership with a diverse range of companies
- Platform to reach more students and role models