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An inspiring message for a new generation of women in Science: Sayyora Rashidova, Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan
On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science Sayyora Rashidova, Director of Polymer Chemistry and Physics Research center at the National University of Uzbekistan, Honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Doctor of Chemistry, professor answers questions for young girls thinking about a career in science.
Why did you choose a career in science? What was your motivation and your gratification?
In few words – I would say a ‘quest for understanding’. In the years of my adolescence and youth, we read a lot. And when people read, they wonder, and ask many questions and they need answers. If a person is curious, she would need to explore and investigate. This is exactly what moved me in my decision to study chemistry, which defined the journey of my life. Later, I found newer sources of motivation. For example, I really wanted to take my laboratory, my institute, my colleagues and later my students to a higher level, and when I achieved what I wanted, it was a gratification for my efforts that took me a lifetime.
Did you face any difficulties or obstacles? Were they connected with your gender? How did you cope with them?
I never thought about obstacles. There are always difficulties in every sphere. However, when a person is purposeful, she does the best she can to overcome the hardship without complaining. I think it can be explained by classifying hardship in two categories. The first one is the complexities the person creates or imagines. These are laziness, lack of confidence or knowledge, or excessive shyness, which mostly happen at a young age or due to the lack of experience. And the second is obstacles created from outside such as envy, antipathy or rejection by the people around you. I was lucky to have a positive nature and was able to avoid the second category of problems.
What come to woman’s gender-related complexities of course, they affect a woman’s work a lot. It’s really hard to do well on both family responsibilities and scientific research. Nevertheless, I can surely state that a confident woman who possesses willpower and perseverance can manage it all. Of course, supporting family plays an important role.
What message can you send to young girls and women interested in science from your position of great achievements and experience?
I think that girls need to be absolutely clear about their dreams and future. Even in science, they can choose from many fields – it might be pedagogical work or research activity, so called applied and fundamental science. All of these fields have their own positives and complexities. I am sure that it is easier to achieve a goal when it is exactly formulated. When you believe in yourselves and in the importance of your work for the society, you are able to contribute a lot.