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SLU-Madrid Celebrates Women and Girls in Science

As part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, SLU-Madrid held a week-long series of talks and workshops related to the role of women in science. This worldwide United Nations initiative aims to "support and promote the access of women and girls and their participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, training and research activities at all levels.”

Jona Bojdani

SLU-Madrid first-year student Jona Bojdani spoke on the underrepresentation of Balkan women in STEM fields, despite the fact that they often outperform male science students in school. Bojdani is originally from Albania and she is pursuing a major in computer science.

Female SLU-Madrid faculty and students presented on topics ranging from the underrepresentation of women in science to profiles of current female role models who are breaking barriers in science-based careers.

The statistics and facts they shared were eye opening. Contrary to popular belief, women are thriving in the world of science, though much work is still to be done. Speakers highlighted the fact that the scientific contributions of women are often undervalued and overlooked.

Carmen Morera, a SLU-Madrid sophomore who is majoring in physics, argued that women do not need to be the next Marie Curie in order to pursue a meaningful career in science. She emphasized the importance of not labeling science fields as only for “geniuses.” Fellow students Ivanna Rusic, Patricia Meneses, Eva Gierloff Romera, Radiet Kebere, Mary Conley, Khadidja Djebairia, Hyacinth Childs, Jona Bojdani and Leila Martin Saad all gave insightful talks on topics such as Balkan women in science, society’s views on African women in science and ways to work toward closing the gender gap in STEM fields. Hailing from Albania, Algeria, Ethiopia, Spain, the United States and Venezuela, the student speakers conveyed a broad range of international perspectives.

SLU-Madrid faculty Fairouz Medjahed, Ph.D. (computer science), Belén López Martí, Ph.D. (astronomy), Ana Granados, Ph.D. (mathematics), Ana Portilla, Ph.D. (mathematics) and Susan Basow, Ph.D. (psychology; visiting from Lafayette College) also delivered lectures, calling for increased access and opportunities for women and girls in STEM.