“When you have a diverse, unique team, you’re going to do better science.”
That’s how Dr. Rana Dajani perfectly summed up the importance of empowering women in science.
As an influential role model for Arab women in science, the SASTA President and Molecular Biologist was a proud panelist duringthe “Mind the STEM Gap” international conference. Organized by the Bracco Foundation, the conference emanated from the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 to shed light on gender disparity in STEM fields.
To the surprise of some, Dr. Dajani highlighted the data thatup to 70% of girls choose STEM subjects in some Arab countries. This percentage is significantly higher when compared to that of Western countries, and hence is a sign for the West to learn from the Arab world about how to engage women in science. Additionally, the aforementioned percentage extinguishes the stereotype that Arab women have no presence in science.
Rather, the real misfortune, as Dr. Dajani highlighted, is that Arab women struggle to reach leadership positions in STEM. Subsequently, she proceeded to outline a few strategies to address this issue.
Firstly, Dr. Dajani emphasized the need for women to establish their own frameworks to fit their priorities. Women must have the freedom to design their own STEM careers without having to abide by the system enforced by men for men.
Integral to that equation is visibility. Though plenty of female trailblazers are flourishing in STEM, they are not celebrated enough. If these success stories are brought to the public eye, more women will be inspired to blaze their own trails and the cycle will continue.
Since the media might be behind on featuring women in STEM. Dr. Dajani also advises all Arab female scientists to take up writing. Staying vocal is how they can take the reins and create the change they seek in the science ecosystem.
You can watch the eye-opening “Mind the STEM Gap” conference in its entirety below: