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Women in STEM Field and the Awards For Young Korean Female Mathematicians
[385호] 2017년 05월 03일 (수) Reporter Kim Su-min kimsm@
According to the reports Center for Women In Science Engineering and Technology (WISET), the percentage of women among graduates in Science & Engineering colleges increased from 27.7% in 2011 to 28.4% in 2015 and the percentage of women in the newly employed Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce increased from 22.5% in 2011 to 24.2% in 2015. These figures show that the number of women in STEM fields is increasing. The percentage of female graduates exceeds the percentage of new female employees. This means that women in STEM fields have difficulties in the market of employment. The percentage of women among research project managers in the STEM workforce is 8.6%, which means that women in STEM field have difficulties in the research field, too.
There are several supporting policies to combat these difficulties. In the field of mathematics, the ‘KWMS-NCSOFT Cultural Foundation Awards For Young Korean Female Mathematicians’ has been established recently. The Korean Women in Mathematical Sciences (KWMS) presents this award to female mathematicians under the age of 40 who have outstanding research results and strong growth potential. The winners in pure and applied mathematics will receive monetary prize and qualification to hold an invited lecture at the international academic conference. The Postech Times interviewed Professor Jeong Ja-a from department of Mathematical Sciences of Seoul National University.
Q. What is your expectation of this award?
Because it is only given to female mathematicians, it has the message that we should actively support and encourage not only the prize winners, but also all young female mathematicians. Therefore, we expect that it will contribute to making a culture that accepts research activities of female mathematicians positively, and this change will have the effect of giving motivation to female mathematicians to devote themselves to their research more confidently.
Q. For the growth of the Korean science, what role should women in STEM field take? How about in the Korean society?
We should continue to inform and persuade the public that we can make a contribution, and strive for the right policy of science and technology personnel as well as do our best for our research as scientists and engineers. And it is necessary to provide opportunities that excellent female human resources can contribute to this society in long-term and diverse ways.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to say to the female students majoring in science and engineering?
I think it is most important to do what you enjoy. If you are doing something rewarding, fun, and meaningful to you, you have the power to overcome any hard work that comes along while you live in the world. I hope that you actively find out the meaning of what you are studying has in addition to what you learn in the classes, and study harder than anyone else. By doing so, you will be able to have the confidence and courage to open up your own way.

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