The right to ask why as essential ingredient for better equity in science

Alice680United Nation Volunteer (UNV) Alice has been volunteering for UNFPA office located in Gaziantep for the last 7 months. Alice grown up in Italy and always liked to the concept of volunteering. Alice’s first academic and professional path was in Political Science and International Cooperation. However, when it comes to picking a career path, she picked maternal and children’s health. Alice managed to enroll to a midwifery school in Bologna. After graduation, Alice worked in Africa on a maternal health related project. Then her path crossed with UNFPA and she has been doing some volunteer work for UNFPA since then.

Here is Alice’s story telling her story with her own words:

“Empowering midwives to improve quality of care in the midst of the Syrian crises, to encourage an evidence-based, structured and scientific approach to women’s health.

This is one of the actions I have the honour to support while serving as United Nations Volunteer (UNV) at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

In order to have more women and girls in science, we need to offer them better access not only to knowledge and information, but also to that ‘way of thinking’ that leads to one question after another in the beautiful search for a comprehensive understanding as a base for learning.

It might seem obvious, but it is, instead, a big challenge in many places of the world.

Whenever we were presented with a new piece of information, my teachers at the Midwifery School used to encourage us to ask why at least 3 times:  to have more women and girls in science, we need to engage for a world where they have the right to ask why 3, 30, 300 times or at least as much as their fellow men and boys.

My professors at the faculty of Political Science gave us enlightening lectures on how the balance of power depends to a great extent on the access to knowledge and science….is it perhaps why it is so strictly controlled, especially for women?

And why, after all, do we need more women and girls in science? Is not, what is already there, enough?

I was trying to do my homework for this story and I came across a beautiful article in National Geographic, perfectly illustrating how we need more women in science to have more science for women, to shape -or reshape- the agenda for research, healthcare, environment policies and so on[1].

Volunteering at UNFPA allows me contribute to the vision for a world where everybody has the right and the means to think critically, to choose for him or herself and to realize their full potential.

I proudly believe this will contribute to a more equal access and participation of women and girls to science.”

Many thanks Alice for your invaluable contribution to UNFPA