Qatar University (QU) organised the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024 under the theme 'Transition towards Innovation Economy: The Role of Women Entrepreneurs in STEM,' in partnership with the Unesco Office for the Gulf States and Yemen, Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science and Sasol.
The event included a panel discussion led by women scientists and researchers as well as other stakeholders who discussed the breaking barriers in STEM entrepreneurship, navigating the innovation landscape from global to national and regional trends, and building an enabling ecosystem.
Prof Mariam al-Maadeed, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, QU, said in her opening speech: “This celebration is an opportunity to showcase the inspiring achievements of women and girls and to enhance their participation in national and regional development, keeping pace with the rapid global transformation towards a knowledge-based economy focused on research and innovation.”
Sheikha Aisha bint Mubarak al-Thani, head of the Unesco Department, Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, said: “The hopes and future of this country rests upon the students. They must exert effort and utilise the resources provided by the state, including universities and colleges with scientific capabilities, to develop their capacities and skills to join fields that qualify them to lead in the development of this country and elevate it.”
Unesco director of Doha Office for Gulf States Region and Yemen, Salah Khaled, said: “On February 9, 2024, Unesco launched the Call for Action ‘Closing the Gender Gap in Science’. This call includes recommendations towards an inclusive society in which women are not deterred from entering science or held back in their progress. Even minor changes at the societal level, such as increasing the visibility of female role models, can yield substantial differences.”
Sasol Middle East and India country manager, Dr Pat Skhonde, said: “Initiatives led by industry, such as the Sasol STEM focused initiatives, can play an important role in our ability to encourage more women and girls to take on Science, Technology and Engineering roles. However, industry alone will not address the gender gap; this can only be achieved through collaboration and coordination between all stakeholders.”
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