Pursuing a career, particularly in health research is a difficult task for most women. More complicated is when such women have to manage their career with family life and the society, which have a stereotype belief towards young women who are interested in the scientific domain. It is within this backdrop that the 5th annual workshop of the Higher Institute for Growth in Health Research (Higher Women Consortium) is holding in Yaounde under the theme “Women in Research for Health: Career, Family and Society.”
The Founder of the Higher Women Consortium, Renowned Researcher, Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke said although men and women begin their career journey in health research on the same starting line, often, their male counterparts move faster than them. According to her, in the African setting, the family and the society play a significant role on the woman’s ability to move through her career path. Studies, Professor Rose Leke said, have shown that no matter how understanding and well intentioned a woman’s partner is, the woman usually ends up taking the bigger role in house work and child up-bringing. So how and when should women researchers find time to achieve as much as their male counterpart? This is the question Professor Rose Leke and her crew of senior and young researchers began answering in Yaounde, yesterday September 5, 2019.
For three days, the women will be using holistic mentorship to encourage young female researchers to strive for excellence in research and in the society. One of the senior researchers of the Higher Women Consortium, Dr Pierrette Essama said while looking at the research landscape in the country, one will realise that there are very few women holding leadership positions. As such, the gathering is out to empower and build capacity for female researchers to hold positions. Through the mentor-protégées programme, senior female researchers who are skilled and established, follow-up protégées who are earlier female researchers on a daily base on their research activities. Special about this year’s workshop is the introduction of fireside conservation; early morning sports sessions and the facilitation of pregnant and nursing mother’s attendance. All this, in a bid to encourage professional development of female researchers and equally re-examining research fundamentals for a female researcher to excel in her career while maintaining a decent role in her family and society’s duties. Present to encourage the female researchers was the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Marie Therese Abena Ondoa, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Higher Education, Nyongbet Gabsa Wilfred, who represented the Minister of State , Minister of Higher Education.