Equal Opportunities Award 2023
Institutional Communication Service
18 September 2023
Awarded ex aequo to Parwiz Mosamim, a PhD student at the Institute of Communication and Public Policy, Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society, and to Simone Rava, a recent graduate from the Master's programme in Informatics, Faculty of Informatics, the Equal Opportunities Prize for scientific contributions on issues of equality and diversity 2023 at USI, now in its sixth year.
A special mention was awarded to Luisa Weber, a recent graduate of the Master of Architecture, Academy of Architecture.
Each year, Università della Svizzera italiana, through its Equal Opportunities Service, promotes a competition to award a prize worth CHF 2,000 for a master's thesis, doctoral dissertation or scientific article (pending or published) on equality and diversity issues.
The aim of the award is to stimulate interest and make visible the commitment of the student body and the junior academic body at USI to address issues of equality, diversity and/or inclusivity, intended in all possible aspects, including but not limited to: gender, age, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, culture, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status.
The sixth edition was entered by 18 high quality papers from the five USI Faculties and the Faculty of Theology, by PhD and post-doctoral researchers and USI Master's graduates.
The Delegation for Equal Opportunities awarded the 2023 Prize ex aequo to two works plus one Special Mention:
- The scientific article: Women in government: the limits and challenges of a representative bureaucracy for Afghanistan (2001-2021), written by Mosamim Parwiz, co-authored by Prof. Jean-Patrick Villeneuve and published in Policy Studies (2023).
The paper stood out among the high quality submissions for its focus and direct relevance to the terms of the award. The paper examines governmental diversity measures after the fall of the Taliban in 2001 until 2020 through examinations of policy documents and interviews with female civil servants and activist. It provides important insights into how these measures were limited by institutional and non-institutional factors, including sexual violence, discrimination, corruption and patriarchal culture.
- The Master's thesis: "Exploring Inclusive And Engaging Ways To Teach Computer Science To Young Students In Primary Schools: A Lesson From A Field Study (2022-2023), written by Simone Rava, a recent graduate of the Faculty of Computer Science
Simone Rava's master thesis explores inclusive and engaging ways to teach computer science to students in primary schools. His work takes into account existing preconceptions regarding computer science, stereotypically perceived as a male-oriented field, and the fact that it is often seen as a subject that should not be taught in the early stages of the academic path. Simone's study, supported by a thorough field study with children at a primary school, explores these challenges by analysing the academic computer science curricular (in particular, comparing different teaching methodologies), and by looking into the current gender inclusion issues while highlighting the importance of integrating computer science education in elementary schools and providing evidence that computational thinking is a necessary ability for everyone, not just for those who want to become a computer scientist.
- A Special Mention of CHF 300 was also awarded to Luisa Weber, a graduate of the Master of Science in Architecture at the USI Academy of Architecture, for her Master's thesis: 'Gender in the Urban Public Space' (2022-2023).
The thesis was praised by the Equal Opportunities Delegation for the richness of the topics covered and the high level of theoretical and critical reflection of a topic of great importance in the context of the Equal Opportunities Award. Through a meticulous study of surveys and scientific texts, the author examined how gender norms are reflected in the perception of urban public space. The author also discusses strategies for implementing gender in planning using the example of Vienna, considered a pioneer city in terms of gender-sensitive planning.