Meriem Chadid: the story of a Moroccan stargazer
By: Hajar EDDARIF
October 24, 2012
My role model is Meriem Chadid, a professor and explorer at the University of Nice and an astronomer for the “the National Center of Astronomers” in France. She grew up in Casablanca. Meriem’s father was a blacksmith and her mother was a housewife. Her parents didn’t have much money, but Meriem was independent and worked hard on her studies to pursue her dream.
Meriem overcame many obstacles to become an astronomer. While most people revere movie stars and musicians, Meriem is my Moroccan pop star. Her humbleness and success as a self-made woman inspired me. Meriem’s passion for astronomy triggered when her oldest brother, Mustapha, gave her an astronomy book in her 12th birthday.
I first knew about Meriem Chadid when I watched Aljazzera program “Pioneers” in 2007. As a young Moroccan woman who is trying to find myself in this world, I felt proud of Meriem because of her accomplishment as a scientist and what it symbolizes for women in Morocco classmate and the rest of the Arab World.
The French Institute Paul – Emile Victore designated Meriem as the leader of an expedition to the South Pole, she was the first woman to set foot on the South Pole. I am impressed that Meriem didn’t allow her gender to prevent her from achieving her goal. Her ambition and dream superseded any concerns about race, gender or ethnicity. She has definitely proven that women in the Arab World are just as capable as men and can pursue careers in the scientific field.
“I think that the fact of being a woman provided a necessity for me to do the job seriously and to surpass three times the effort of my male fellows.” States Meriem to Aljazeera Chanel (Pioneers 2007).
Meriem has taught me that I too can achieve my goals if I am determined and I work hard. In the Arab World where women are viewed as second class citizen, Meriem’s story should empower young women to believe that the sky is the limit.
Visit Hajar’s blog at hearttomind.