Istanbul event pushes call for more Turkish women to take up the sciences.
Ilgın Karlıdağ - ISTANBUL (AA) – When 16-year-old science student Doruk Dorucu was asked why there were no girls in his classes or school projects, he couldn’t find an answer.
But on Tuesday, Dorucu was among dozens of other students and academics calling for more women to take up the sciences.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency during a conference on gender equality at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University, Dorucu said young women were not taking part in the sciences because of a “lack of encouragement to do so”.
"If the world is going to progress and if Turkey is going to progress then we need more women scientists," Dorucu added.
Nilufer Narli, a professor at the Sociology Department of Bahcesehir University, said there are "limited women role models" for girls that may be interested in science.
"Young women must be psychologically supported and encouraged to join the field of science," she said.
According to a 2009 report by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, female representation in mathematics and computer sciences is over 40 percent in Turkey.
The countries above Turkey in the same report included, Italy with 52 percent and Mexico with 42 percent.
Although Turkey has supplied several renowned female scientists, most of them are currently pursuing their careers abroad. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) listed three Turkish women on its list of ‘35 innovators under 35’ last year.
The list included Canan Dagdeviren, a junior fellow at Harvard University who created a device capable of diagnosing skin cancer and Gozde Durmus, a scientist at Stanford University who discovered a method which detects a cell’s physical characteristics.
Duygu Ayaman, a visually impaired Turkish scientist who invented an app which makes it easier for people with the same disabilities to reach news and have access to an education, was also on the MIT's list.
Dorucu said the solution is to encourage women at a young age. As a science student at Bahcesehir High School, Dorucu said his own interest in the field began when he was a child.
"Girls should be given the opportunity to learn biology, physics and astronomy in the first grade to set their hearts on science and to eventually become scientists," he said.