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ALM Feature

'Discrimination will not stop us!': How Arab women scientists are fighting to learn

The controversy surrounding diversity and gender-based discrimination in the sciences is continuing, but Arab female scientists persist in what they started.
The head of the gynecology department of the in vitro fertilization unit at Aziza Othmana hospital, Fethi Zhiwa (L), speaks in the egg and sperm processing and freezing laboratory with the medical biologist and associate professor in reproductive biology of his service, Khadija Kacem Berejeb, on February 9, 2022 in Tunis. - Under Tunisian law, single women can only freeze their eggs if they are facing medical treatment, such as chemotherapy, "that could affect their ability to procreate". Under the country'

From Sudan to Germany, passing through Oman, Sudanese researcher Marwa Shumo has endured discrimination to pursue her dream to become a successful scientist and open her own lab to teach women.

Shumo received a bachelor's degree in biotechnology from the University of Nizwa in Oman in 2009. She was unable to continue her studies as a Sudanese expatriate in another country, and the Sudanese government doesn't support postgraduate students who pursued their undergraduate studies abroad.

She decided to continue her studies in Germany. Despite the sexism and discrimination she suffered, Shumo graduated with a master’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Cologne in 2012, a doctoral degree in agricultural sciences from the University of Bonn in Germany in 2019 and an international doctorate in development studies from the Center for Development Research in Germany, where she got a job as an associated researcher at the center in 2020.

“As a migrant woman and not a citizen, I worry whether they will discontinue my contract. [If they do] I would lose my residency permit and my career. In addition, many of the professorships are still limited to German citizens,” Shumo told Al-Monitor.

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