Shaesta Waiz: Innovation and Science to Promote Gender Equity
International Women’s day, a day celebrating what has been achieved and what has to be achieved regarding women’s rights, took place all around the world on March 8th. This is an opportunity to take a look at women who freed themselves from stereotypes minimizing their role in society. Shaesta Waiz is one of them. Portrait of a woman with an immigrant background who never gave up on her dreams and encourages others to do the same.
Women and Science, a Story of Stereotypes
In 2019, International Women’s Day focused on “Think equal, Build smart, Innovate for change.’ Science as an accelerator of gender equity is something to go on. Women are underrepresented in the sciences. According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, less than 30% of scientific researchers are women. This under-representation can be explained by the numerous stereotypes between science and women. In the collective imagination, women are less interested in technologies and their “female intuition” destines them to literary careers.
As well as Marie Curie, Rita Levi-Montalcini or Brenda Milner, Shaesta Waiz overcame those stereotypes. Born in an Afghan refugee camp, Waiz traveled to America from an early age to flee from war. She grew up in a working-class neighborhood in California and studied in a school where dropping out was ordinary. Waiz got out of this traditional pattern thanks to her passion for aviation. Following her dreams, she became the first certified civilian female pilot from Afghanistan. Shaesta Waiz founded the organization Dreams Soar to prove girls all around the world that there is no forbidden dreams.
Dreams Soar, Promoting Science to Women
She thus launched in 2017 the “Solo Flight Around the World” program to inspire women to study sciences. Waiz travels the world aboard her little plane and during stopovers, she meets with women and young girls. The aviatrix shares her story to reshape the negative image of science with women by overcoming stereotypes.
Sources: UN, UNESCO, Dreams Soar
Photo credits: Dreams Soar
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