AddThis Social Bookmark Button

        The UN declared the 11th of February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and empowerment.

        Science and gender equality is one of the main goals for worldwide development established in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

        However women are still mainly excluded from the field of science. The UN showed that the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in a science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%.

        Project Alba considers gender equality as a very important issue and applies this commitment to the workplace. Among the team 20 employees are female. At Project Alba our Research and Development team manager is headed up by Kathryn Fielder (pictured) working alongside her Marie Fativeau an internee in the R&D services team who is studying agronomy in an engineering school in France. To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science we spoke to Kate and Marie to find out why they work in science related fields and why they love their job!

        Kate told us that, in the next 30 years the world is going to need to produce up to 60 per cent more food to feed everyone on the planet. As such there is a growing demand to change existing food systems, adapt to climate and work with limited land resources. She said that by scientists working directly with farmers we can help produce more food for millions of people.

        Marie added that in agriculture there are a huge variety of different aspects. She had always been attracted to biology and in environmental and social issues which are all directly related to agriculture

        Working in science agriculture gives women and girls the possibility to work on social issues, especially in developing countries.

Women play a key role in Cambodian Agriculture

        In Cambodia, where Project Alba operates, smallholder farmers represent the majority of people. By improving their tools and methods of farming we can have a dramatic impact on their income and therefore their lives.

        Moreover, around 38% of farm managers are female in Cambodia. Working at improving skills of smallholder farmers allows us to move closer to the empowerment of women living near the poverty line in a country where gender inequalities are spread widely. Not only that but empowering women has been shown to have direct impact on production standards, for example, it has been studied than the use of pesticides decreases by 42% when women are in charge in Cambodia.

Agriculture is different to the usual 9 to 5

        Kate and Marie suggested other more practical advantages about their jobs. Kate couldn’t see herself achieving job satisfaction working a desk job and recommends agricultural science as a great option to work outside and avoid a “9 to 5 job”. In her job at Project Alba, she is doing new things every day, facing new issues with the plants and finding new solutions.

        She explained how it is the contrary of a repetitive job and that was something she was really enthousiast about! She laughs when she tells us: “you get lots of free food!” .

Agricultural science allows you to work anywhere, including “the very beautiful country”of Cambodia

        Marie told us; “I’m discovering new things everyday. Finding new solutions, and easier ways to work that does require me to be inventive. Also working with such an international team from many backgrounds has opened my mind to new ways of thinking. Agricultural science is great for working anywhere you wish to, including “the very beautiful country” of Cambodia.

        Kate has noticed for a while that women are not represented enough in Science fields. She gave some advices for girls who are attracted to such fields in this video.

        In order to participate in the reduction of the gap between men and women in science education she chose to volunteer for women and girls in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, math). She collaborates in “Skype a Scientist” a platform to connect scientists with kids and teenagers.

        The aim is to provide the youth with inspiration, mentors, or advices. Kate aims is to bring more women and girls into Science that way.

        “ I am a pretty creative thinker and have a lot of diverse background experiences and I think a lot of other girls and women do as well, and that makes a really good scientific researcher”, Kathryn Fiedler

        And what are the top five words Kate and Marie would use to describe their job? Find out here:

Marion Vieira, 09th February 2018