On the occasion of February 11 – International Day of Women and Girls in Science, at the initiative of the Wife of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Elizabeta Gjorgievska, a panel discussion was held on the role, representation and visibility of women in science, and the challenges they face.
Panel discussion participants were women scientists from the country and presentations were delivered by professors Jana Klopcevska, Jadranka Blazevska – Gilev and Emilija Fidancevska from the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Marina Stefova from the Institute of Chemistry at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Arieta Aliu, vocational teacher at the “Nikola Stein” School Medical Center in Tetovo.
Gjorgievska stressed that gender equality and imbalance are still a challenge in terms of full and equal access of women and girls to science and participation therein.
“Women usually receive smaller research grants than their male counterparts. Although they represent 33.3% of all researchers, only 12% of all members in national science academies are women. Women still make up a small percentage of graduate engineers, and often have shorter and lower paid careers, and their work is underrepresented in scientific journals,” Gjorgievska said. She added that achieving global gender equality and development in science are two key aspects of the international goals for sustainable development by 2030.
According to Gjorgievska, it is necessary to network and connect science with the business community in order to increase the innovative potential in the country.
“I agree that education is important, it is important to print papers and see how much we have done in the field of science, but, in the end, science per se is not enough. However, there should finally be some outcome from what we have been doing, that is, linking science to industry and producing the models that we have studied by applying scientific methods. I think that is the final outcome we should obtain,” Gjorgievska said.
She assessed the need for greater participation of women and girls in public debates, expressing hope that through such open discussions and greater involvement of the relevant institutions, women and girls will be part of the solutions to overcome the challenges we face.
Despite the efforts made in the past decades to motivate and include women in science, Gjorgievska added, they are still insufficiently involved in science.
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science this year is marked under the motto “Equality, diversity and inclusion: water unites us” and in that regard the panel discussed the impact of science in tackling climate change, in terms of conservation of water resources and providing access to clean and safe water, in order to protect and prevent diseases.
Aspects of the impact of science and technology in improving the quality of life, the need to invest in science and environmental technology in order to find solutions to improve the environment, as well as ways in which women can scientifically contribute to improving accessibility of clean potable water and water for hygienic needs were discussed.
Assistants Marija Proseva, Iva Dimitrievska, Despina Kostadinova and Emma Stojcevska also participated in the discussion.
Gjorgievska praised the scientific achievements of the panel participants and the domestic and international cooperation established, adding that it is especially inspiring to hear young girls achieving results in the field of science.