International fellowship for postgrad

06 August 2012

Fatema Thawer-EsmailMaking a change: Fatema Thawer-Esmail's award that recognises the contribution of African women to science.

UCT doctoral student Fatema Thawer-Esmail was one of 10 African women whose work in the scientific field was recently acknowledged with a major international fellowship, complete with handsome prize money.

The L'Oréal-UNESCO Regional Fellowships for Women in Science (FWIS) in Sub-Saharan Africa is given to women scientists up to age 40 who are working towards their PhDs. The fellowship seeks to remove one of the major obstacles to women pursuing a career in science - access to money.

Thawer-Esmail hails from Dar es Salaam and qualified as a medical doctor in Tanzania before coming to UCT to study dermatology.

Here she is a full-time research student, facilitates undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Division of Dermatology, and is in the process of completing a clinical-education course.

"This award means a lot to me, being a non-South African studying in South Africa," she says. "It will enable me to complete my PhD by assisting me to cover my research costs.

"Furthermore, it motivates me to encourage other female scientists, both in Tanzania and in South Africa, and to serve as a role model to them."

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