Portrait of the month: Women in Science  

Women are still underrepresented in the sciences; they make up only a third of all scientists globally. According to the most recent UNESCO World Science Report, the so-called “gender divide” is especially clear in the field of artificial intelligence, where only 22% of the workers are women. With 22 percent of professors being female, there is still a lot to be done in the German higher education landscape as well.

Equal opportunities and the advancement of women are central concerns of the DAAD. In its selections, the DAAD pays attention to diversity and to balanced support, especially for young female scientists. The DAAD is proud that 50% of its grantees are female.


In this portrait of the month, we are pleased to introduce to you three women in science: Prof. Yalemtshay Mekonnen from Ethiopia, Prof. Suhaila Hashim from Kenya, and Prof. Beatrice Tarimo from Tanzania.

Professor Yalemtshay Mekonnen from Addis Ababa University was one of the first women in the natural sciences from the Global South to get a grant from the DAAD. She was also one of the first women to work as a professor in Ethiopia. She was given the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Prize in 2015 for outstanding contributions made by women in science.

Questions for Yalemtshay Mekonnen: Addis Ababa University

  • Please introduce yourself! What position do you hold, and what is your area of expertise?
  • Please tell us more about your academic journey. You were one of the first women to pursue an academic career at a time when it was not common. How did it work out for you as a woman? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
  • How did you manage to balance family, work, and studies in your life?
  • You have received many awards from different organizations, including the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, for your hard work and for being a good example of a scientist. What do these awards mean to you?
  • You have been a full professor since 2009. What advice would you give to aspiring women in academia?
  • What are your future plans?


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