Presentation on theme: "Women and Science: The Regional Perspective"— Presentation transcript:
1 Women and Science: The Regional Perspective Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam Ph.D.Professor of PharmacologyHead Drug Monitoring UnitKing Fahd Medical Research CentreKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddah, Kingdom Of Saudi ArabiaInternational Conference on Women Leaders in Science, Technology and EngineeringJanuary 8-10, 2007Kuwait
2 Acknowledgment Many thanks to: Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and to all the authorities behind this event for inviting me to present & document the progress and opportunities of Arab womenThe King Abdulaziz University & King Fahad Medical Research Centre for their SupportAndAll, who in one way or another helped during the making of this presentation.
3 Please Note:Having extensive geographic area and a population of 321 million, the Arab world cannot be viewed as a single monolithic community in term of endowment or human development.It consists of 22 Arab countries, 50% of the population are below age 15.At certain points one or more countries are selected as representatives or used as examples.Some names/projects maybe mentioned for demonstration, this does not imply that others, which maybe even more important, do not exist.Unless specified, the term “science” is generally used to express all scientifically and technically based disciplines.
4 Presentation Objectives To bring to the attention of the authorities concerned with human resource development, decision makers, industry, media and public in general:The potential capabilities of Arab women in various fieldsThe high level of commitment which Arab women in Science have demonstrated, which qualify them to take leading roles in the advancement of R&D.The Steps which have already been taken to encourage more girls to enter Science and further steps needed to empower them.
5 The Status of Women in the Arab Region In no region in the world do women have equal rights to men (economic, social or legal)Status of women in the Region differs from country to country but commonly controlled by the Sharia Law (except Tunisia)Currently 17 out of 22 Arab nations ratified the CEDAWDefined by factors such as:Fertility rate 3.8 live birth (world average is 2.7)6Education (Illiteracy rate decreased to around 40% 22Involvement in the labor force - 33% (world average is 56%) 22Political Participation – Average Arab women in parliament in Arab Region was 6.9% 22
6 University EducationIndicators show that tertiary education represents 25% of the eligible population, which is high compared with gender balance in higher educationIn Egypt women have attended university since the 1920’sMore women than men are registered for higher education in the Gulf States 4
7 Women Graduates in Science Women Graduates in Engineering Science EducationArab women have not been discouraged from studying scienceStatistics show that Arab women Science graduates form a high percentage of the total science graduate populationWomen Graduates in ScienceWomen Graduates in EngineeringBahrain74 %Eritrea4%Lebanon47 %Morocco25%Qatar71 %Compared to:U.S.A43%U.S.A.19 %Japan25 %13 %In , U.S. & Japan fall behind 3 Arab countries in the percentage of women graduating in Science to the total science graduate population.Morocco exceeds the U.S. and Japan in the ratio of women Engineering graduates as a percentage of the total engineering graduates20Source: UNESCO Institute of Statistics 2005
8 % of women in Science disciplines to total students in some Arab universities in 2001-2002 A: Enrolled%B: GraduatesGender Statistics Program modified from ESCWA Social Statistics Datasets, 2005
9 Careers in S&T for Arab Women In principle there are equal opportunities for either gender in Arab States but social perception determines which type of employment is “appropriate”.Opportunities for women are not limited to teachers, doctors and nurses.Female scientists excel in teaching, health and research.Although there is an increasing pool of highly qualified women scientists in some Arab countries, few hold high ranking positions in science institutions.More women work in the education sector than the health sector.
10 Professional opportunities In Arab Countries, career opportunities for female science graduates are considerably more limited than those for men. Egyptian and Saudi women constitute:40% of the faculty in Pharmacy and Dentistry25% of the faculty in Natural scienceless than 10% in engineering & technologyPatterns are similar to those seen in some U.S. universities, where women constitute:50% of health sciences faculty23.8% of biological sciences faculty6.1% of engineering faculty
11 Research in the Arab Region Institutions that focus on research and knowledge development include:Higher education institutes and their affiliated research centresFreestanding specialized centres of scientific researchResearch and development units links to industryBased on the number of scientific publication per million people, Arab countries fall within the advanced group of developing countries.The number of papers published in specialized global journals increased from 465 papers in 1967 to 7000 in 1995 (10% per annum) 2222 ِ Arab Human Development Report 2003
12 Researchers Arab Region VS other countries Full time equivalent (FTE) research scientists and engineer per million population in the Arab Region is far lower than the average of the countries of the world.According to UNESCO’s report in 2003 expenditure on R&D by Arab countries does not exceed 10% of that spent by industrialized countries.FTE researchers per million population
13 GERD per researcher (U$) Research FundsGERD per researcher (U$)There are relatively few FTE researchers in the Arab region. Even though, because of the low level of spending on R&D, the GERD (General expenditure for R & D) (US$) per researcher is still less than the EU, the USA or even the world average.
14 National institutes providing research grants: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences. (KFAS)Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR),The National Board for Scientific Research (NBSR) in Libya.King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) in Saudi ArabiaWomen’s share of the total number of researchers (headcount) in some Arab countriesCountryYearPercentageJordan200318 %Kuwait200220 %MauritaniaSaudi Arabia17 %Sudan200430 %
15 Average Budget/project (SR) Women remain under-represented in the scientific research and those in the field receive less support and fewer promotion than their male counterpart.KACST funded research till 2006Grant categoryEstablished YearNo. of ProjectsAverage Budget/project (SR)MaleFemale% of FemaleNational1981951,422,9849411.05Grand1979689810,045671182.61Small199637080,340337338.9Graduate Students199184028,42046437644.76To encourage young women researchers, intergovernmental institutions and private sectors are working together to:Enhance development of women in the regionEncourage the advancement of knowledge to womenJoint projects to support women in Science[Source: UNESCO Institute of Statistics, May 2006
17 Students in science discipline (2005/06) EducationFormal schooling for girls started in 1960The first university in Saudi Arabia (KSA) was established in 1957Saudi women were admitted to formal university studies inPresently there are 11 major universities in KSA that teach Scientific disciplines, 6 admits women i.e. :-UniversitiesLocationEstablishment yearStudents in science discipline (2005/06)% FemaleTo the total enrolledMaleFemaleUmm Al QuraMakkah19795884276932King SaudRiyadh195721602621022King AbdulazizJeddah19679529555836.8King FaisalAl Ahsa19754042283141.1King KhaledAbha1998382645510.6Mohd Bin Saud197470292356.8In the year 2004/05, graduated in Science discipline, 8662 were women (44.7%)
18 Postgraduate degrees Granted by Saudi Universities: Graduates in Science subjects ( )372 M.Sc. 39% were women.52 Ph.D. 79% were womenJoint Supervision Programs (JSP)A successful example of international academic collaboration.Women enrolled in the participating UK universities while working and supervised by the Saudi Staff at their labs at KAAUA total of 34 women gained Ph.D. through the JSP, 68% in the Science disciplines.Advantages:Ph.D. from a UK university/iesAllow the students and her family to remain in KSAFacilitates the transfer of new techniques and technology to KSAInternational academic interactionOpens up access of under research regions to the UK faculties
19 Saudi Government staff promoted in the year 2002 EmploymentSaudi women constitute 18% of the total Saudi workforceHowever Saudi women are restricted in achieving key positions such as the 12 & 13th. government ranks, yet their contribution, if not equal is even more than their male counterpartSaudi Government staff promoted in the year 2002Number of staffMale FemalePosition RanksIn the year 2003, the total basic science faculty members in KAAU was 439, 14.2% are women yet men & women students are almost equalThis reveal the the greater burden women faculty members have to bear
21 Why are there so few women Scientists in the workforce? Socio-cultural perceptions of women’s ability to master S&T.Reluctance of talented women to introduce their own values and visions into a working world dominated by menProfessional success requires networking with male colleague which is not easy for Arab womenOpportunities for Arab women to enter technical fields are far less than men as parents prefer to spend money to male child than femaleMarketing oneself as “women” in the Arab world is generally ridiculedWorkplace policies penalize women for fulfilling their domestic responsibilities
22 Ongoing Efforts to Encourage Women in S&T Individual Support by Powerful WomenQueen Rania of JordanFirst Lady Suzanne Mubarak of EgyptSheikha Sabeeka Al Khalifa of BahrainHH Princess Al Jawhara Bint Bin Ibrahim of Saudi ArabiaNursing AwardScience AwardEstablished the Center for Molecular Medicine, Genetics and Inherited Diseases in Bahrain
23 Local Companies & Organization King Khaled Charitable Foundation endow SR1 million annually to support post-graduate research by Saudi womenANWST, sponsored by Al Nahda Society, endow young Saudi women scientist scholarship for graduate & post graduate study abroad 21Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)In 2006, King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz International Prize for the promotion of Scientific Research45 recipients, 9(20%) are womenAl Marai Prize for Scientific ExcellenceOpen to both men & women.In 2005, Established a category exclusively for women researchers.34 recipients, 4 (11.76%) are women
24 UNESCO – L’Oreal Joint Support “For Women in Science” AwardOut of the 42 female laureates, 4 (9.52%) are Arabs. 12UNESCO – L’Oreal Fellowship ( )Grants for young women scientist to pursue their research in Laboratories outside their country of originThere were 130 young women grantees from 20 countries, 21 (16.15%) are Arabs. 12
25 Multinational companies Most countries in the Arab region adapted gender diversity in most business entities in either government or private sector:SchlumbergerOperates in 80 countries, employing 80,000 of 140 NationalitiesIn 2003 the women employee were:15% research scientist, field engineers and managers,9% operation and section managers,4% R&D, global directors, 7% executives 18Saudi AramcoMain operation in the KSA and has global overseas affiliates.In 2005, 2908 were women employee, 40% are professionals
26 Regional Organizations for Women in Science Saudi Science club, formed women’s division to support pre-university science students.Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF - Sharja, U.A.E.) recently formed the women’s committee in support of women members.Prominent women scientist representing Arab researcher around the globe were nominated to the ASTF board of directorsWomen comprise 8.7% of the total ASTF scientists and technologists
27 International Organizations for Women in Science International organizations whose members are mainly women in science:Arab Network for Women in Science & Technology (ANWST), BahrainInternational Network of Women Engineers and Scientist (INWES)International Organizations that support women in science:ESCWAUNESCOSTMRNUNIFEM
28 Women achievements is internationally being recognized International AwardsWomen achievements is internationally being recognizedNobel Prize (1901)Out of the 773 Laureates, 34 are women (4.46%)Of these women 12 (35.29%) are in science 19King Faisal International Prize(1977)Out of the 161 Laureates, 4 (2.6 %) are womenOf these women one is a scientist. 13
29 Proposed Future Developments for Women’s Career in S & T Realizing the “education for all” principleOvercoming the Language barrierBudget allocation for women activities in R & DScience clubs in schools & universities are to be supportedIntroduction of computers, Internet, educational satellite channels and multimedia to promote self learning, research & discovery in S & TAttention should be made to upgrade the laboratories to facilitate empirical educationEncourage women to continue post graduate studies and post doctorate professional development programs
30 Encourage women to specialize in S&T and lead the research teams Participation in scientific conferences and meetings within & outside the ٌregion, to increase interaction with experts and improve their skills and profilesResearch centres concerned with women’s affair should be encouraged and supportedCollaborative research between the Arab region and countries of the developed world to be establishedTo establish information and documentation centres to monitor the situation of Arab women in S&TCreating S&T professional information system to be provided to educational and training establishments for networkingEmployment for women in S&T should be balanced with educational and training opportunitiesMarketing and capacity building systems for women’s research products should be activated
31 Exemplary Arab Women in Science Fayza Al- KhorafiKuwaitDistinguished scholar, professor and accomplished chemistThe first Arab woman to be appointed Rector of Arab University (Kuwait University)Sara AkbarA Petroleum Engineer, member of Kuwait Oil Company since 1981Played an important role in extinguishing the oil fires after the Gulf war and cleaning up one of the worst environmental disasters in historyRecipient of “Globe 500” Award from the UN Environmental ProgramZaha’ HadidIraqA diva of World Architecture having design and execute major architectural projects e.g. Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts (Cincinnati)), BMW plant (Leipzig), bridge linking Abu Dhabi to the mainland of UAEAwarded the Pritzker Prize (Arhitecture’s equivalent to Nobel Prize)
32 Hayat SindiKSAAt the young age of 20, Inventor of the device combining the effect of light & ultrasound for use in the field on BiotechnologyHuda ZoghbiLebanonThe first Arab women scientist to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS- Houston, USA)Her studies have broadened understanding of diseases of the neurosystem, e.g. Alzheimer,s and the role of neuron particularly implicated in neurodenerative behavioural disease e.g. ataxia or loss of balanceMaha Ashour AbdallaEgyptHer research spans a range of theoretical problems in the field of space plasma physicsShe conceived and developed the approach of using large-scale kinetic (LSK) calculations for studying the magnetotail
33 Shadia Rifai Habbal(Syria)Contributed to the development of the first spaceship to the closest possible point near the sun in 2007Spearheaded an academic movement for women scientist called “Adventurous women”Leila Abdel Haqq BelkouraMoroccoAn Astrophysicist and science writerAchieved worldwide fame in her book “Minding the Heavens”Habiba Bouhamed ChaabouniTunisiaDevoted her medical and research career in improving conditions for children and families affected by genetic disorder in Tunisia and fought for over 20 years to get medical genetics recognized as an essential discipline in both research medical trainingRecipient of UNESCO/L’Oreal “Women in Science “ Award (Africa)Rafiaa GhubashBahrainPresident of the Gulf UniversityDirector of Arab Network of Women Science and Technology
34 ConclusionIslam promotes the importance of education to both sexes as the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) ordered “Seek knowledge from cradle to grave”In no region in the world do women have equal rights to men (economical, social or legal)Growing number of women’s association and organizations in the Arab world is a positive phenomenonWomen education in most Arab countries only developed during the last 50 years, now the number of women graduates in the fields of Science is more or less equal to menAlthough women have the same opportunities as men in most fields of science and health education, yet there is a limited job opportunities for women.
35 The glass ceiling still exist for women Globally What can we do with this workforce of qualified Arab Women in Science ? Scientific Research is the answerWe need collaboration.Collaborative programs such as the joint supervision program at KAAU need political & administrative support and recognition in order to succeed.Impact of collaboration between scientists from the Arab world and the developed world :Arab world would benefit from the transfer of technologyDeveloped world scientists would gain access to under researched regionGender equality will not be achieved by formal measures only,it must be conquered.And we as woman scientists should ensure,we are in the fore front of such a movement
36 References 2. ESCWA website: www.escwa.org.lb. 1. Forbes Magazine (December 2004), The 50 most Powerful Arab Women in Dubai, UAE; DIT Publishing2. ESCWA website:3. Islam, S.I. (2004); Saudi Women: Achievement in Science.4. Islam, S.I. (2004); Saudi Women: Their Role in Science and Education - Presented to NISTADS Conference, New Delhi, India on March 8 -10, 20045. Hassan, Farkhonda : Islamic Women in science; httb://6. Adnan Badran: UNESCO Science Report 2004.7. United Nations, Where do Arab Women Stand in The Development Process? A Gender- Based Statistical Analysis – Distr LIMETED E/ESCWA/SDD/2004/Booklet.1-January20048. The Role of Women in the Modern Arab World - Enhancing the Human Resource Development of The League of Arab States- by Lema Hamed, Ahmed Suliman, October 2003.9. Women in the Arab World by H.R.P. Princess Basma bint Talal, Geneva, 26 March 1996;10. Al-Qazzat, Ayad: Education of Women in the Arab World;11. Central Intelligence Agency Website:
37 12. L’Oreal website: http://www.loreal.com/_en/_ww/index.aspx King Faisal Foundation Public Relation Department (n.d.) retrieved February 16, 2005, fromMinistry of Higher Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:Health Statistical Year Book, 1421/ Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia.World Bank Report 2002.UNDP – POGAR: Programme on governance in the Arab Region http”// Andrew Gould, Chairman & CEO Schlumberger Ltd. Waking up to the need for women in science & technology fromNobel Prize website:Corey Habbas, Muslim women in ScienceArab Development Report 2005Khaled A. Taki, Ph.D. The current status of Arab Woman in the Arab worldMona M. Kaidbey. Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: The Arab ExperienceMaita Al Shamsi. The uneven path of women’s empowerment
38 Acknowledgment Many thanks to: Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and to all the authorities behind this event for inviting me to present & document the progress and opportunities of Arab womenThe King Abdulaziz University & King Fahad Medical Research Centre for their SupportAndAll, who in one way or another helped during the making of this presentation.