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August 3rd, 2018 / SciDev.net

Contrary to stereotypes, women scientists often fare better in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) than they do in other parts of the world, says Rana Dajani, a biologist from Hashemite University in Jordan. Statistics from the OECD, from UNESCO and elsewhere show high percentages of women in scientific fields.

The picture of gender inequality is complex and has deep historical roots globally, she says.

Dajani, who recounts how she came to carve a niche in world-class science in an article published this week in Nature Middle East, has won multiple international honours, both for her contributions to genome-wide association analyses of disease and for her broader influence as an Arab woman in science and education advocate. A book she wrote about gender equality and notions of success, which charts her personal journey, was published earlier this summer.

SciDev.Net spoke to her about misconceptions around gender inequality, and how measures to boost the numbers of women in science are missing a key piece of the puzzle. Read more