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Advice for Young Women and Girls

These scientists don't let their gender define their ability. And they want to make sure the next generation doesn't either.

Dr. Edna Augustine Akpan, agronomist
Vice Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Akwa Ibom State University and biofortification advocate

  • Be passionate about what you do.
  • Get good mentorship.
  • Be abreast of new technologies and collaborate with others as much as possible.
  • Be inquisitive. Learn and acquire new knowledge with every opportunity you get.
  • Be innovative and creative. It will make you distinct in what you do.
  • Setup pilot projects. 

Destan Aytekin, food engineer
Knowledge Management Specialist, HarvestPlus
My passion and curiosity to learn evolved into a desire to dedicate my knowledge, and in fact my life, to making the world a more equitable place where no child suffers from malnutrition nor where we need a day to celebrate women in science — but only scientists! I would advise girls to always be passionate, work hard in chasing their dreams and never be shy or discouraged to dream big!

 

Jen Foley, nutritionist
Senior Program Manager, HarvestPlus
Malnutrition disproportionately affects women, due to their high nutrient needs. Who better to research and implement solutions for women, than women?
 

Dorene Asare-Marfo, statistician
Head of Knowledge Management, HarvestPlus
It seems young women, particularly in Africa, avoid scientific careers because such careers are not deemed feminine enough. I challenge young girls to rise above this notion, knowing that evidence has shown the key role women play in agricultural and economic development. There is no reason to believe that science isn’t feminine.

 

Carolina Gonzales, economist
Deputy Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, HarvestPlus
I love to resolve challenges! One of them I tackle on a daily basis is the recognition of women’s contributions to agriculture and also to the field of agricultural economics.

 

Ekin Birol, economist
Director of Impact and Strategy, HarvestPlus 
I have been preoccupied with equity — especially for basic human needs like food and water — ever since I can remember. Some of the earliest images engraved on my memory are those of children my age suffering from the Ethiopian famine of early 80s. I decided to study economics to learn the tools and skills to inform policies and programmes for equitable allocation of resources. I joined HarvestPlus because I believe each and every child should have access to nutritious foods to reach their full potential.

Bev Postma, biologist
Chief Executive Officer, HarvestPlus
Women of all ages have been fighting an uphill battle to become equals in the scientific community. Progress is being made but young women still face too many barriers to enter STEM fields and there are still too many hurdles to clear once they enter the workforce. The statistics speak for themselves and must not be ignored. The world needs these women scientists and we need to do all we can to nurture them and encourage a new generation of young women to enter into STEM fields. We must encourage and excite young women about studying STEM subjects, especially in developing countries.  We can do this by profiling more female role models and by ensuring that new and established scientists get their fair share of airtime in publications and on conference panels.