Looking for real solutions for Arab women scientists

Rehab Abd Almohsen

Rehab Abd Almohsen
Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net

Fostering women’s contribution to science and technology and pursuing careers in science are among the topics that will be discussed during the International Conference on Women in Science and Technology in the Arab region.

The conference takes place in Kuwait next week (21-23 April). It brings women in the Arab countries together, with high hopes that this will be a step forward in building a real network among female scientist.

This type of meetings is not the first in the region: in September 2009 another three day meeting toke place in Dubai in UAE under a slogan ‘Arab Women in Science and Technology: Empowerment for the Development of the Arab World’.

Also in January 2007 Kuwait hosted ‘Women Leaders in Science, Technology, and Engineering’ conference, bringing female science leaders from all over the region for establishing new professional and mentoring relationships.

This time the conference will highlight topics related to science and technology, health and the environment as well as gender issues and leadership.

The Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research is organizing the event in collaboration with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World.

According to a recent study done by the Economist Intelligence Unit, more Arab women than men are now enrolling for science degrees at university — and completing the courses successfully. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women accounted for 73 per cent of the bachelor’s degrees in science in 2010.

So obviously Arab female don’t lack the passion for studying science, but as the study suggested, initiatives are needed to motivate women scientists to participate in the workforce.

The biggest challenge for this conference will be putting a real action plan and suggesting practical solutions that will survive after the conference.

This blog post is part of SciDev.Net’s coverage of International conference on Women in Science and Technology in the Arab Countries which takes place 21-23 April 2013, in Kuwait City, Kuwait. To read further news and analysis please visit our website.

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