LCA4Climate Research

Women in Science: “we cannot accept bias”

Didem Civancik-Uslu
Didem Civancik-Uslu

La desigualdad de género todavía existe globalmente. Este es un tema muy complejo, sin embargo, se ha avanzado en el camino hacia la igualdad de género. Mientras tanto, esta situación no ha desanimado a Didem Civancik-Uslu, investigadora de LCA4Climate.

The PhD Candidate at the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF,  decided to study Environmental Engineering at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. Since the first moment that she decided to study engineering and enter in one of the best universities in Turkey, she set herself up to never give up and try to achieve her goals.

When she was a high school student, her main goal was entering in one of the most relevant universities in the country, and thanks to her commitment and passion, Didem accomplished her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree studies on Environmental Engineering at METU. During this period, the researcher points out that her department at METU was women-dominated with a significant lack of men, and she worked in an equal gender environment. “I constantly observed a pleasant environment in my department that motivated me as a student but also as a teaching assistant, surrounded by a positive relationship between students, teaching assistants and professors,” she highlights.

Women’s empowerment

“When I think of a scientific, I do not imagine a man, maybe because I am coming from a background driven by women,” stresses Didem. Nevertheless, she recognizes that gender differences are a reality in a diverse day by day contexts: “There are more men in the upper echelons of science. From what I see, there are some challenges faced by women in science and technology fields, as the difficulty in combining a demanding profession with family commitments.”

“Our work in the research group does not finish at the office since it requires a lot of self-sacrifices. Therefore, combining the academic labor and the private scene is a difficult challenge, and I admire the women who are capable to do it as my PhD Thesis co-advisor, Rita Puig, who is an environmental engineer and professor at the Universitat de Lleida,” explains Didem.

“It is important for us to remember what is obvious: both women and men can provide results, both can teach, both can make publications and lead congresses,” says Didem.

To achieve gender equality “we cannot accept bias on the basis of gender. It is important for us to remember what is obvious: both women and men can provide results, both can teach, both can make publications and lead congresses, both can do everything they propose. The key is in our minds,” according to the researcher. “I have never thought that a man could be more successful than me for being a man, I think it is all about believing in yourself.”

She also highlights that progress on the path to gender equality has been made, but it still insufficient:  “If you look at the long term, women in the past did not have the right to choose almost anything. In contrast, I have all the freedom to do whatever I want and I do not have to justify it to anybody else.” Finally, addressing a clear message to encourage women and girls interested in science, she goes on to says (brief and concise): “Believe in yourselves, you can do it.”

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