Can you imagine that women in Armenia play an important role in science? We are Hasmik and Shoghik, young scientists from Armenia and we believe that women are the engines of science in our country. We study and work in an environment where women are involved in scientific initiatives on an equal footing with men, holding senior positions. Democracy increases gender equality in various fields, making Armenia one of the few countries where the involvement of women in science is significant. In this article, we speak about our professional path as young biologists, and how EU-funded programmes have contributed to our professional development.
I am from the cultural capital of Armenia, Gyumri. Although I am inspired by art and music, I chose to follow the path of science. Now I am a 4th-year student at Yerevan State University, in the faculty of Biology. My every experiment is something new that I create, as artists do. As a biologist, my current fields of interest are bioinformatics, genomics, entomology and ecology of species. In my third year of studies, I had the opportunity to participate in an Erasmus+ credit mobility exchange programme at Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. In the process of learning new methods in entomology and genetics, and doing fieldwork, I found what I really wanted to do in science after returning home to Armenia. The cooperation with European scientists had an enormous impact on my path as a professional, and more importantly, even after the programme, this cooperation continues. Currently, I am working on my diploma studies, which are mainly focused on the investigation of invasive ladybird species, what impact they have on the ecosystem and how the dynamics will change. At the same time, I am working in bioinformatics, and I am proud to have the opportunity to work in a field that is in the developing stage in my country.
I was born in Yerevan. My love for science began at a young age when I watched various programmes on TV about scientists and their unique research. As I grew up, my interests expanded to various professional fields, ranging from urbanism to political science, but my dream of doing science and contributing to this field was unchanged. I believe that science is also a part of art since the planning and implementation of experiments are very creative processes. Studying the diversity of life and organisms makes me enthusiastic about the world, and studying the environment and identifying its problems reveals the role of balance in the world. Currently, I am in the process of creating maps, and analysing the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem change due to climate change. The identification and investigation of scientific methods of environmental protection and study have allowed me to use resources and products more consciously in daily life and activities to propagate these ideas among family and friends.
I am studying in the 4th year of my bachelor’s degree, and in the summer semester of the 3rd year, I participated in the Erasmus+ credit mobility, I was a student at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where I studied global climate change and its impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. After returning to Armenia, I continued to work in the same direction, but this time paying attention to the change and loss of local flora and fauna. Currently, I am engaged in the study of endemic endangered species, mapping their habitats and the dynamics of their ranges.
The EU and the EU-funded programmes in which we participated had an important role in the development of our professional path. The main driving force was the Erasmus+ mobility programme, which played a crucial role in narrowing our professional orientation. The programmes and grants implemented with the support of the EU are an incentive for the development of science in Armenia and, in particular, for the active involvement of women in STEM, since regular international conferences create active ties between local and foreign partners. The involvement of various EU structures in local scientific processes provides an opportunity for young women scientists, like us, to actively develop in their field and already have small achievements.
For centuries it was thought that science was a field only for men, but now we feel confident in an environment where women are involved in scientific processes and where there are no stereotypes that science is not for women. The best examples of that are our women scientific heads, who are an enormous inspiration for us.
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