Women In Appalachia Conference Focuses On Issues Affecting Our Region

by Mackenzie Stasko on October 18, 2013 at 6:46 am

Ohio University-Zanesville held a conference to discuss pressing issues involving women in Appalachia.

Women, men, students and faculty were present at the Women in Appalachia: Sisters in STEM Conference. Although there are other conferences that aim to better the Appalachian region, this conference is designed to focus on topics and issues that affect Appalachian women.

"There was a niche missing, you know, gap, that focused on women and especially when it comes to their vital role in educating and raising children and starting families," said Mawadda Al Naeeli, Asst. Professor of Biological Sciences at OUZ. "So we’re now trying to focus on how women in Appalachia should get more involved in science and education in order to push forward and inspire new generations of Appalachian students."

Al Neaeeli says that although STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math are primarily male-dominated fields, the conference encourages women to learn more about those fields.

"We’re trying to understand the barriers; why is it there are fewer women and female students getting involved? Although it goes both ways, because of the region, it’s always difficult to have science and people don’t understand what career or employment or job-related opportunities that science-education would offer."

The conference also focused on health problems in the region, including diabetes, a disease Al Naeeli says is an epidemic in Appalachia.