Celebrating the International Day for Women and Girls in Science with AIGHD women in science

The International Day for Women and Girls in Science is celebrated each year on February 11 and is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls across the globe. Established in 2015 by the UN, this Day is meant to promote gender equality as a global priority.

At AIGHD, we are celebrating this important day by highlighting women in science research at different stages in their career, from intern to chair.

As an intern at AIGHD, Joeri Buis is just beginning her career in global health. Joeri explained, “I’ve always wanted to be involved in health at an international level. I wanted to work on various projects around the globe, continue to learn and have an impact.” She said, “I never thought that being a woman had an influence over my academic choices. I never felt that I was not going to achieve what I set out to do from the people I surrounded myself with simply because I was a woman.” Joeri sees the gender imbalance changing and she is part of that change. While less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women, these figures are changing. This can be seen by the overwhelming number of female students in AIGHD’s master’s classes, the number of female interns and the number of female researchers at AIGHD.

Marjan Molemans, a PhD student and Junior Researcher at AIGHD, began working in science because of her curious personality. “At AIGHD, you get to question things and ask why rather than do as you’re told.” Marjan works in epidemiology research in HIV and TB. She hopes that eventually, her research will create a better world and a better future. She says, “the best part about working at AIGHD is that you don’t just do research for the sake of doing research. You hope that your research serves a direct goal to change policy and improve the world.” She believes that seeing women in higher positions in scientific research helps other women realize their full potential.

“The further along you go in your career, the more you become aware of the gender gap.” AIGHD professor, Constance Schultsz, is a medical microbiologist and a professor of global health. Her research is focused on emerging infectious disease and antibiotic resistance. As an experienced academic researcher, Prof. Schultsz has observed that women “at some point stop climbing the ladder.” She believes it’s important that people are more aware that they can be more effective with the inclusion of women. In any field, it is more effective to have a gender balance so that women are not behind the conversation, but a part of it.

Roughly 60% of AIGHD employees are women and AIGHD currently supervises 50 PhD students, 46% of which are female. Our team continues to undertake innovative global health research projects and seek advocacy positions that promote equal rights and ensure equal access.

Photo credit: UNESCO