Dr. Hala El-Khozondar teaches at the Islamic University of Gaza. In 2008 and 2009, she was a Georg Forster Research Fellow at the Technische Universität München.
Cover Story: Careers with Obstacles - Women in Academia
Career Against the Odds
Hala El-Khozondar, Physicist, Palestine
I think there are not enough programmes to support female academics. Most programmes support academics in general, and most of the time they support men. I’ve faced many difficulties during my academic career mainly because I am a woman. I had a hard time convincing my family to support my study and Ph.D. Then I could only continue my education outside Palestine, an idea my family did not like at the beginning at all. Finally, I decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship, which I got. At that moment of my life many things changed. I had the opportunity to go to the USA to pursue my education. During my study in the USA, I found it very challenging to be a woman in science from the Third World, especially a Muslim woman with a headscarf.
However, I managed to overcome all the challenges and finish my degree in physics to come back to Gaza. In Gaza, many factors played against my career including the fact that I am a woman who got a degree from the USA in physics and with a prestigious scholarship. I had to face a lot of opposition to get a job in physics departments which are dominated by men. In the end, I got a job in the Electrical Engineering Department.
I have recently become a member of TWOWS, Third World Organization for Women in Science. It is a society to promote scholarship for young female scientists. I think through such a network I can help the next generation.
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