13 February 2019

Women and Girls in Science Podcast Series: Mathematician Hasibun Naher

According to the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum, 16 per cent of women globally, compared to 37 per cent of men, graduate with a degree in a STEM field of study (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  This exclusion of women and girls has important implications not only for scientific research, innovation and development, but also for women’s economic participation and inclusion.  A 2017 report estimates that 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet, many jobs that exist today will be lost to automation and most jobs of the future will require some facility in STEM-related subjects. If women are to be included in the employment and economic future of tomorrow, they must be included in STEM fields today. 

To promote the empowerment of women and girls in STEM and raise awareness about the need for gender inclusion in science and technology, in 2015 the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

United Nations Academic Impact sees STEM education as an integral part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the participation of women and girls as vital to the success of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  In this series commemorating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, UNAI speaks to women scientists, researchers, engineers and tech innovators to find out how they are contributing to their fields and their advice for young women who want to forge a path in the male-dominated world of STEM. 

In the third interview in our series, we talk with Hasibun Naher, a professor of mathematics at the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, BRAC University (BU), Dhaka, Bangladesh with research interests ranging from applied mathematics to mathematical physics, nonlinear evolution equations, and traveling wave equations, among other topics. 

Dr. Naher has published thirty-three scientific papers in international journals, two conference proceedings and three books.  She has reviewed research papers for 40 renowned journals and worked as a member of the editorial boards of 155 international journals in her field of expertise. She also serves as a member on several international scientific committees for international conferences.

In 2018 she received the OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award, which recognizes and encourages women scientists in developing countries who are in the early stages of their careers, for her research on the application of numerical methods to the prediction of natural disasters such as earthquakes, storm surges and tsunamis. By simulating these events she hopes to improve forecasts, warn the population earlier and save lives.

Dr. Naher received her Ph.D. from the School of Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang, Malaysia. She completed her B.Sc (Honours) as well as M. Sc in Mathematics from the Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Bangladesh and secured first class in both.

In her interview, Dr. Naher talks about why failure is an important part of learning, how her name predicted her career path, using math to save lives and why being a scientist is one of the most exciting jobs in the world.


The following resources provide more information on initiatives for women and girls who aspire to work in mathematics and other STEM fields:

- MIT Women in Math

- Association of Women in Mathematics 

- Women in STEM Resources 

- Committee for Women in Mathematics 

15 Female Mathematicians Whose Accomplishments Add Up