Abibifuo nkwa hia

I was born and raised in Ghana in West Africa, before my parents moved to Italy, because my father found a job there. For my master internship I moved to the Netherlands and I am still living there and I am in the final year of my PhD.

At first I fully focused on my scientific career and once I got married during my PhD, me and my husband decided to have kids. Sadly, I feel there is still a stigma around having kids during your PhD and I was really scared to tell my supervisor and my colleagues about being pregnant. My colleagues told me that I was crazy and that it will be really hard to combine being a mom and the career in academia. However, my boss, who is also a father has been very supportive ever since and helped me a lot.

We raise our son, who is almost two, multi-cultural and multi-lingual in English, Dutch and our African dialect “Twi”.

I hope that he growing up can choose any job or career he would like to and that he can also become a scientist, if that would be his wish one day.

Throughout my life and my academic career as a black woman, I felt that I had to prove twice that I belong. The academic world is still very white and at my institute I am the only black female scientist and besides that I am also a mom. My group is quite international and my supervisor has created a great work atmosphere for us. However, I am aware that this is not everywhere the case.

I wished black women and black girls would be more encouraged to work in Science and in particular in the field of STEM. There is still a stigma around black women in STEM and we are still quite underrepresented and I hope that will change in the future.

by Linda Ofori Atta


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