Ethiopian Women Urge to Bridge Gender Gap in STEM Fields

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Addis Ababa ENA July 16/2019 Ethiopian women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) urged to bridge the gender gap and end disparity in the fields.

Though Women have shown greater skills in science related disciplines, the gap in completions pertinent to science, technology, mathematics and engineering fields remain wide at a substantial rate.  

Aster Tsegaye, an Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University, College of Health Sciences is among the founding members of the Society of Ethiopian Women in Science and Technology (SEWiST).

She shared her story with ENA on how she was attracted to science fields “Just like any other child, I was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor and treat people but after joining biology I started working in a science laboratory and doing some researches.”

However, Aster said, it was not an easy task for a girl like her to carry on science especially in higher education as she becoming homemaker.

She is reminiscing about the hard time in the university when she had to choose between her education and homemaking responsibility.

She underlined the burdens women carry and expected to succeed “I even got suspended from the university due to the problem back home but I never gave up.  I had gone through re-admission and rejoined the university. I learned not to give up and be strong to achieve my goal.”

“I joined SEWiST as a volunteer in order to repay for what I have gained from my society and resolved to encourage women to join and be successful in the science fields.”

Aster noted that although women are outstripping men in overall abilities and various subjects, the number of women in science fields remain low.

SEWiST is doing utmost efforts to close the gender gap through inspiring female students at all levels to encourage them to end gender disparity in science fields, she pointed out.

A mathematician in the Faculty of Science at Addis Ababa University, Dr. YirgalemTsegaye, said on her part that the world belongs to everyone but given the enduring idea of science is more suited to men.

“I grew up realizing that my friends were having problems even to try science fields as they were scared of the stereotype to which they were subjected,” Dr. Yirgalem said.

She asserted for a concerted efforts and engagement in the fight to put a stop to inequalities faced women in science fields and creates a balanced world.

Betelhem Blata, one of the few female instructors in physics at Debre-Brhan University, is currently a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute.

She appreciated the chance currently being given to women to participate in decision making and other levels although their number needs to increase in science fields.

Betelhem emphasized on the need to have role models saying “What’s challenging is, not seeing many women in these fields would frighten many of them thinking that they might not be successful if they join science fields. So, self-esteem is important to fight such outlook in society.”