‘Promoting women in science’ hypocrisy

I saw an prestigious opportunity’s deadline being lengthened on nano-pore sequencing fellowship. At first, I thought, it didn’t get enough applicants for the 12 positions. Turns out, there aren’t enough qualified women applicants. There is a low likelihood that women didn’t see the advertisement. So, why didn’t they apply?

All the women I know that might qualify for the said position lack one thing, Organisational and Societal support, Most of all her own instincts’ support.

This reminds me of a discussion in one of the cafes during the ABBC 2019 conference, South africa. It was a room full of accomplished women in science across africa mainly. I was the only kid in the room. The discussions were more of laments of how programs that helps advance someones career are not curated for women. Some were grateful of opportunities that paid for the nanny to take care of her kids while she studied.

Men are great. They are good husbands, taking care of the family and all. They can easily pluck themselves from one place to another either leaving the family for a while or plucking the woman to go with him. On the other side of the fence, its not the same.

Forgetting what the societal or a man’s views of a woman leaving her family behind for a couple of months, leave alone years, to go study in a foreign country , A woman’s instincts fights her thoughts of leaving her family behind even for a day.

Look around you, women who have succeded in science have had to beat a huge family hurdle. After a bachelors degree in science in Africaaa, most of them end up in marriage and hide behind the taking care of the family tag due to lack of science careers. They hardly further their studies to a masters program in science. Her responsibilities in the home only allow careers that allow her to get back home everyday. Few women if any work far away from home.

Just the other day, Dr. Grace Ituni defended her PhD away from home. On her linkedin post, she insisted on the fact that the program allowed her to move from her home country Nigeria with her family to German for her PhD in maths. This is after doing a short program that forced her far away from family attributing it to her husband.

We do take for granted the few men who have taken up the actual role of a parent so that their wives can have equal opportunites as them, however, a woman still wants to be with her family. Its high time we craft opportunities favorable for women to crave to be in. Otherwise, we will still be trying to add #womeninscience in out tweets and still not get applicants.

Assuming you never read the whole post: How many African research organisations do have a masters in biological sciences female employee who will support her project when she comes back after 4 months of being away, if a 3 months maternity leave is usually followed by ” There isn’t enough funding this time round”.

Photo source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2193119-dont-believe-women-in-science-face-huge-inequality-heres-the-proof/amp/

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