A 24-year-old Azerbaijani girl in STEM!
March 3, 2023

A 24-year-old Azerbaijani girl in STEM!

I am Fidan Huseynova, a 24-year-old Baku-based human being. I sometimes thought that I was late for some stories. I did not have enough dreams, passion…

A B.A. in English translation, working as a receptionist or document controller, but a well-paid job – huh, all the expectations and dreams of others, not mine.

In my childhood, there was an old computer at home; after some time, it just stopped working, but every time I came home from school, I tried to turn it on and hoped it would work.

But I know there was one inside me called “Hope”. Now I have researched “Women in STEM”, and guess what I found?

There is just a small proportion of women in STEM worldwide, which is not surprising but should be for all.

Do you know why?

Research has shown that women are no less capable than men in science and mathematics. But, according to the AAUW (American Association of University Women), external factors, like a lack of role models, cultures that tend to exclude women, and persistent stereotypes about women’s intellectual abilities, reinforce a wide gender gap. Even today, teachers and parents underestimate girls’ STEM abilities from a young age.

In most communities, as mentioned above, teachers and parents play an essential role in this process; there is just one holy career for girls – marriage.

– Oops, no.

I don’t want to lie; I was one of those who thought that STEM was only for men and that women couldn’t do it. When I started an internship at a tech company, I saw some of the IT employees were women, and it made me believe in myself to build a career in ICT.

There are lots of women in STEM whose stories inspire me: the first one is Marie Curie. Wooah, sounds familiar?

– Yeah, she was the first woman who won the Nobel prize and the only person who won that prize twice in two scientific fields.

Inspirational, yeah?

But the most inspirational part is to be an Azerbaijani woman in STEM. It sometimes sounds weird,

– Azerbaijani women in STEM?

– Really?

– Why not?

Reyhan Jamalova is an Azerbaijani woman in STEM, whose work is geared toward sustainable energy in rural areas. Reyhhan has a company called “Rainergy” which produces electricity from rain. She made the world-famous Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list!

This is not all! There is one more person, especially in ICT, she is Zumrud Huseynova. I got a chance to know her at that tech company where I was an intern. I follow her on the Linkedin platform and read her blog posts, I find my inspiration in her blogs. These three women make me always believe in my way and destination.

Now I try to learn and then share my learning stories, experiences, failures, successes after storms, and newly-discovered competencies with people in my community who need support and inspiration. I am doing some online and offline consultations with them, answering their questions, and supporting and helping them to reach out to new networks.

After some time, thanks to those women, I believed in my strength, decided on my passion, bought a computer, and pursued my dream. My passion is to make a career in ICT and inspire other women to reach their goals, not to forget that it is never too late to start a new career.

Why programming?

Programming is like the magical universe, everyone sees the stars or the Moon, and the Sun, but few know the magical part behind it. I have been self-studying for four months in WEB development and reporting about my day-by-day improvement, and when I feel it, there is not anyone happier than me.

In November 2022, I applied for the “Technest” scholarship, which is funded by the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan, and whose goal is to contribute to creating a bank of specialists in the ICT field in the country and to meet the needs of the labour market. I passed the three-level process exam and grabbed the opportunity to study “manual and automation QA in Software development”. It is one of the most miraculous changes in my life!

I will be a role model and change-maker for the people who need help, and who want to change and discover. The time will come soon when women and men are equal in all life stages.

And in the end…

“Women can do what they want if they really want. We are stronger than society thinks.”

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