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CURRENCY

MAKING THE SCIENCE

Pros and cons of gender equality in science in Azerbaijan

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15.02.2017

Science and gender equality are integral elements of the process of achieving development goals. Over the past 15 years, the world community has made significant progress in the involvement of women and girls in science. Despite this, they still face restrictions in this area. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, 18%, 8% and 2% of women are likely to obtain bachelor, master and doctor degrees, respectively, while the percentages for men are considerably higher: 37%, 18% and 6%.

In order to achieve full and equal access of women to science, and to ensure gender equality and empowerment of their rights and opportunities, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 70/212 proclaiming February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. What is the position of the female scientific thought in Azerbaijan?

 

From nuclear physics to applied mathematics

It is impossible to imagine any region or areas of our life without women. Science is no exception. One of the first women scientists in Azerbaijan is Dilshad Elbrus Talybhan born in 1916 in the Karabakh province. After the fall of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the establishment of the Soviet regime, Dilshad-khanum was among those people who was deprived of their homeland. She has worked in Turkey at the Aegean University in Izmir, was the first Azerbaijani female who received doctor’s degree in nuclear physics. She was infinitely attached to Azerbaijan since her early ages but he did not accept the Soviet regime. In 1961, Dilshad-khanum became a professor and became a recognized expert in Turkey and Europe. Due to the specifics of her profession, she has worked in the UK and the US for many years. She was fluent in German, English, and French. According to her friends, besides being an outstanding expert in nuclear physics, Dilshad-khanum was an excellent connoisseur of the Azerbaijani literature, folk music and folklore. She died on April 11, 1979.

Zarifa Aliyeva achieved an outstanding success in a field more familiar to women, the medicine.

It is likely that her path to medicine was predestined: her father, Aziz Aliyev, was one of the first leaders of the Azerbaijan Medical University, People's Commissar of Health of the Azerbaijan SSR.

Zarifa Aliyeva has followed her father's footsteps in ophthalmology, and has achieved major success in this field.

In the years following the end of the World War II, she started a fight against trachoma, which was widely spread back in those years, and focused on the treatment of infections in the villages and orphanages.

For her PhD thesis, Zarifa Aliyeva has collected meticulously scientific data thus making a significant contribution to the methodology of combating trachoma.

She defended her doctoral thesis in Moscow in 1976 and was among the first ophthalmologists, who have launched a new diagnosis of diseases based on the nature of the iris changes, i.e. iridodiagnostics.

Professor Zarifa Aliyeva has published more than 140 scientific papers, including 10 monographs, one invention and 12 rationalization proposals.

She became the first ophthalmologist woman in the USSR awarded one of the prestigious awards in this field of science named after academician M. I. Averbach, founder of the Helmholtz Central Research Institute of Ophthalmology.

Oil and oil production have traditionally been considered masculine professions while it is much easier to imagine a woman scientist in any humanitarian or philological field. But the first woman corrosion specialist in Azerbaijan is Anakhanym Khanlarova, Doctor of Technical Sciences, has broken this stereotype. She was well acknowledged in different countries and her scientific achievements in the field of metal corrosion and protection have been highly appreciated by the scientific community. Creating ways to protect metals from corrosion, she has succeeded in increasing the life work of oilrigs. During the Second World War, she worked together with her colleagues under the same slogan "Everything for the front, everything for the victory." She has developed and tested tools for night vision to notice the adversary ships in the darkness of the night.

Speaking about women in science, it is impossible to forget the contribution of Aida Imanguliyva, the first woman to obtain a doctorate in the field of Oriental Studies. In 1966, after defending her doctoral dissertation, Aida Imanguliyeva began working at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. She has devoted all her life to this scientific institution leading it up until 1991.

Professor A. Imanguliyeva is the author of three monographs and more than 70 scientific articles. She has represented oriental studies of Azerbaijan in many countries.

As far as her organizational activities are concerned, A. Imanguliyeva has paid great attention to the training of highly specialized Arabists. Under her leadership at the department of Arabic Philology, she had educated more than ten scientists in a short time.

The first Azerbaijani female mathematician, Doctor of Mathematical Sciences Tamilla Nasirova is still teaching. Her research talent was evident even during her school years. After graduation in 1958, Tamilla-khanum was enrolled in the Institute of Cybernetics of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences. At the peak of her scientific career, she has developed the ergodic theorem for the Semi-Markov processes, which are of great practical importance. Tamilla-khanum has created a connection between the three different types of Semi-Markov processes. She is the author of 64 scientific articles, 3 monographs and 4 textbooks about stochastic processes. She is currently teaching mathematics probability theory and mathematical statistics at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics of BSU.

The number of women who glorified the Azerbaijani science is great. These include Professor and Doctor of Philological Sciences Zarifa Budagova, first Azerbaijani female scientist, teacher Zumrud Akhundova...

 

Stepping into science in 25

Currently, there are five full members and eleven associate members from among the women working in the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan. But even today, the tradition of female scientific thought is alive in Azerbaijan. A brilliant example of this is a young scientist, specialist, PhD, Associate Professor Tubukhanym Gasimzadeh.

Everything in her life led her to become an outstanding scientist. Family of hereditary intellectuals and scholars strongly stimulated the interest of girls in science and education. The main areas in which working Tubukhanym Gasimzadeh, - ecology, botany, soil science, environmental genetics; the second formation of the young scientist - lawyer. It helped her to get involved also in the sphere of environmental and land rights. According to Tubuhanym, science - it is a creative process. There is no age limit for researchers, a brilliant doctor of science can be in 28 years. But if the world age limit of youth is defined in 29 years (that is, it is the age of "youth", when a person can take part in various youth projects receive funding from the Youth Fund), the Azerbaijan youth age was 35, and now extended to forty years. This fact demonstrates that in science we have, unfortunately, there has been a process of "aging", is rare to find a young candidate of sciences. "I defended myself in 25 years in the field of ecological genetics, and my age of its kind was something out of the ordinary", says Tubukhanym Gasimzadeh.

She says the aging of scientists is associated with the research and scientific process. "Wages in the scientific field are small, and many young scientists rather than to continue the scientific activities, are forced to accept jobs in the private sector, where salaries are often much higher. Today, the science of moving only enthusiasts of the business ", says Tubukhanym Gasimzadeh.

This scientist noted positive trends. According to her, over the period of a decade ago young people into science increased flow. And the gender ratio clear advantage towards women - all for the same reason: the young men are more consider themselves responsible for pay and prefer to work in firms scientific career. "On the women considerable influence mentality, environment - says Tubukhanym - believed that education, science - a" female "area, this world - a clean and promising, there is less concern social conflicts and troubles."

Despite the fact that the environment - the area is not easy, it is necessary to investigate the soil profiles, to work in a variety of environmental conditions, the mountains, the fields, still today in ecology has become more and more women.

In the basic sciences, in the meantime, women have little. "But I'm in no way diminishes the labor humanities scholars - says Tubuhanym - any scientific activity - it is hard work, every scientist must have the ability to work" in the field ", and to sit in archives and libraries."

But she believes that the family - this is an important, fundamental factor in a woman's life, whatever success may have been in her scientific field or career, she is still a woman.

 

Women in science is normal

The associate member of ANAS, acting Academician-Secretary of the Department of Social Sciences Nargiz Akhundova is not only a talented scientist and business executive. In order to perform a variety of duties, science lessons and still be attractive woman requires a great talent. "Women in science is normal. Perhaps this is the achievement of the Soviet Union or our own, but it happened so that women are on an equal footing with men. They participate in social activities, social life and science. If a young girl, woman completes college and wants to study science, she has all the opportunities to do so. I believe we can witness gender equality in all areas of professional activity in full. In addition, women in science do not enjoy any favors because of their sex," she said. However, Nargiz-khanum recognizes that women have more difficult times, as they have many ‘womanly’ responsibilities at home as well. "When I defended and became a graduate student, my son called and congratulated me saying "I forgive you my difficult childhood", smiles Nargiz-khanum. She adds that the main difference between a scientist and any other professional is that they often come home from work, switch off their brains and can relax. "We do not. When I return home, I am still surrounded by papers, unfinished books, incompletely read articles… The work goes on all the time." She believes that the ability to set goals, plan your time, step by step closer to the result, formed in childhood and is not determined by gender.

 

"It is in our nature"?

According to psychologist and sociologist Umai Akhundzade, even in the pre-Soviet era in Azerbaijan, women gradually began to have access to education. In Soviet times, education has become more accessible, and there were women in the scientific field. Exit women in the paid labor force, of course, affect the gender system of the society and the dominant gender contract in particular. For example, it is accepted in a patriarchal society, a woman was a housewife, while men are earners. But in Soviet times, there was the emancipation of women because regardless of sex, they had to work hard. At the same time, women still kept their duties as hostesses and mothers. In the 90 years, during the economic crisis, the transition to a market economy led to the fact that some women "left" the domestic sphere. Ideology was not so unambiguous, they did not work outside the home longer to become something blameworthy, rather they revived more traditional images of women. Nevertheless, women are represented in almost all fields of science in Azerbaijan. It is no secret that payment of scientific work in Azerbaijan is very different from say the payment in a similar field in most of the Western countries. But there is a pattern: the more prestigious and high-paying any field of work becomes, the more is the likelihood of pushing women out there. Given that most of the salaries of the Academy of Sciences are low, woman constitute a considerable percentage of employees. While in general women are mostly researchers, at higher positions of directors or persons at their already much less”, says the psychologist.

"In the course of interviews and various conversations with educated, working women in our nation's capital, I found that often, if you ask whether they are sex discrimination feel they answer negative. By law, we do not really care for men and women at work. However, the problem is that for majority of people the fact that the women are "secondary" compared to men is something taken for granted. Many aspects of our everyday life, which will surely be regarded as a manifestation of discrimination in the Western world, are considered normal in our country. For example, I know a lot of women, candidates of sciences, who are married, devoted to their families but left scientific activities", says Akhundzade.

According to the dominant view of society, it is quite a proper lady's biography, because it is believed that for women the work is not as important as for men is far more important - family and children. A similar situation is observed not only in our society, but also in many others where patriarchal values ​​remain valid. In the gender sociology assumed that while woman climbing the corporate ladder, face the "glass ceiling", the man, on the contrary, are on the "glass escalator". Many have stereotypes of our society have moved into the category of "sacred": "From time immemorial, so happened", "woman - the keeper of the hearth," "Nature so laid". These and other such cultural frameworks affect the choice of a woman, her perception of the world, deprived of self-belief. As Umai-khanum notes in fact that we believe some "natural" qualities - nothing but a social construct, that is, the fruit of public opinion and public opinion. The other issue, of course, that society itself is almost as old as man himself. But social norms arose originally as a way of survival of this society, it is not got used to our subcortex and genes, as many believe. Genes, in principle, are not carriers of social ideas. Any scientific, research, notes sociologist, calls the mind, logic, ability to think rationally, and fundamentally wrong to attribute these qualities only to men, but women perceive them more as an exception.



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