|Job Title: Undergraduate student
She is an Astronomer: What stage have you reached in your career?
Sara Khalafinejad: Actually, I am an undergraduate female student. I love astronomy and I intend to continue my graduate studies in one of the universities abroad.
SIAA: Do you think it will be more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?
SK: As you may know, Iran does not have proper facilities in observational astronomy, so most of the students like to continue their postgraduate studies abroad. Except for the military service, boys have almost no problems continuing their education abroad. But girls are limited in many aspects of their education (especially by some traditional customs) and usually prefer to stay in their country and preferably in the city where their family lives.
SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?
SK: In my country, Iran, there are few women that have a permanent job in academic environments in astronomy. Maybe just 5% of astronomers are female
SIAA: How do you think women could be supported in studying astronomy?
SK: I believe that it would be helpful to provide a situation for female students in which they can feel completely safe to continue their education abroad and get their PhDs, then come back to their own countries and work alongside men. For example, by providing special scholarships just for women, making sure that they have a safe place (like a dormitory) to live and perhaps some grants to sometimes travel back to their homes and see their families.