West Virginia University School of Pharmacy
Professional Member since 2013
What region or country do you see making the most headway in the gender bias and inequity issues women in STEM face? Why?
Living in a rural place like West Virginia, you find many traditional views about women in the workplace. Fortunately, much of the gender bias is disappearing, thanks to the efforts of West Virginia University and K–12 school educators. Across the world, I can see how countries in the Middle East, Africa, and India are also moving forward toward gender equality, thanks to incredible and brave women, like Malala Yousafzai.
What do you see as being the biggest factor in female equity on a global level? Why?
I feel that social media has opened doors for female equity in STEM. Different organizations are trying to instill and reestablish self-esteem and other important values to counteract the effects that the “current expectations” have had on the female population, especially young girls. These movements are finally having a voice and can be heard across the globe. It is a challenge, though, since the role of women and the expectations that society has placed on them have been static for more 10,000 years, since the Neolithic period. Even though women are taking part in STEM, there is still a lack of connection between the actual needs and reality of women in the workplace and what society has been “programmed” to do for so many centuries.
What advice would you give to women entering STEM in any country?
Believe in yourself and follow your PASSION. Listen to yourself. Feel the excitement, no matter what, whether you are in the laboratory, in robotics or educating others about science, and go for it. Know yourself, know your strengths. Find women mentors, in or out of your field. Do not listen to those who say women in STEM cannot have everything (career and family). Just keep focused on your priorities, and manage your time wisely. Don’t forget how much fun you had learning when you were a kid. Keep that spirit with you always. The journey will be more enjoyable, if you follow what you believe in. I know in some countries, a woman’s role is already predetermined. Become the change you want to see in the world: become a role model for your daughters and a source of inspiration for younger generations.