Rose-Marie Moreno : Spotlight on women and girls in science

Every year, a day is dedicated to women's rights (March 8). Another highlights the participation of women and girls in the field of science (February 11).

Every year, a day is dedicated to women's rights (March 8). Another highlights the participation of women and girls in the field of science (February 11). However, every day, women and girls stand out, surpass themselves, establish themselves at the heart of this discipline which is gradually becoming their way of life.

For my part, this career choice did not present itself as the first. I had a natural facility for the arts and letters. Every opportunity was good to write and express myself through words. However, one thing haunted me, that of wanting to change the world, to bring my talents to the benefit of my fellow human beings. As I was reserved and shy, it was difficult for me to imagine working with people. It was then that enlightenment came, I was going to help my neighbor, but behind the scenes, in the laboratory. From the first science classes, I was fascinated by this marvelous machine that is the human body and its perfectly rhythmic and coordinated systems.

In secondary 3, I gave an oral presentation which focused on blood. In my preparatory research, I became aware of the composition of this blood and living product, its role, its pathologies. The erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells), thrombocytes (platelets) which are bathed in a protein-rich liquid, called plasma, had completely caught my attention. Not only mine, but also that of my audience. What can we say when we can visualize blood cells by microscopy? The shape and composition of each cell must be respected, as well as their number and their level of maturity in circulation. It was at that moment that I realized that nothing is left to chance. Everything must live in a determined and perfect order, otherwise, the disorder that is then created leads to an anomaly (anemia) and even a pathology (hemophilia, leukemia).

Beyond training in chemistry, physics and mathematics, I also had the need to study, in a more concrete way, the human body and its different systems (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, reproductive). I therefore embarked on the study of biochemistry, hematology, hemostasis, microbiology and pathology. All these disciplines are as captivating as each other. It is “the living” in its richest, most beautiful and simple expression.

These materials have continued, over time, to surprise me, to fascinate me and above all to please me! Their daily practice allowed me to bring my personal and human touch to meticulous and cold gestures.

Like any journey, it was not always simple and without pitfalls, quite the contrary. Since I wasn't necessarily good at science, my high school teachers tried, at the time, to dissuade me from pursuing these subjects, for fear that I would fail. All it took was for me to jump in with both feet, to prove to them, while also proving to myself, that I could do it! A little later, meeting teachers, passionate women who inspired me and passed on their love for science, definitely and certainly encouraged me on this path. It is this inspiration, amalgamated with my curiosity, my stubbornness, my relentlessness, my courage and my ambition, which led me on the path to success. I am living proof that when you want, you can!

Today, women in science continue to innovate with freshness and originality. They have a dual role since they work both in the sciences, but at the same time, they continue, through the centuries, to carry and give life. They make it possible to ensure, over time, a succession of future scientists!

I would like to encourage all women and girls to follow their dreams, to never let themselves be discouraged by various everyday circumstances, by obstacles of all kinds, by temporary failures. Besides, failure does not exist, it is just one more opportunity to surpass oneself, to shine. You have to follow your passion. You have to live your passion. You have to have a clear vision and put all the necessary effort into achieving it. To keep myself focused and vibrant, I like to always keep in mind this motivating phrase from the great Nelson Mandela who says “I never lose. Either I win or I learn.”



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