What needs to change for more women to work in the science, research and innovation sector?

If you know an amazing women scientist, tweet her story using the #Championsofscience hashtag!

Women remain under-represented in the STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) industry in almost every region.  According to a UNESCO report for Women in Science, women represent 23% in the East Asia and Pacific region, 32% in North America and Western Europe, 47% in Central Asia and 35% in the GCC region. In the Gulf, while a lot of progress has been made in a short period of time, there is still a low re-presentation of the Women segment as part of the labour force in the STEM industry, and on February 11th the International Day of Women in Science – many different groups will be using the opportunity to talks about some of the challenges that still exist, as well as opportunities for change. 

EY’s recent report ‘Tapping into the talent of our women in the Middle East’ identified a couple of challenges that women encounter at their workplace that range from the responsibilities of raising children, to societal constraints and striking a work-life balance.

In the GCC as in many other countries, women are finding it difficult to sustain their positions and to continue working in the STEM industry, as they have to undertake responsibilities of raising children and balancing their family life at the same time. While they may have had a passion for science from an early age and even pursued a university degree in the subject – a large percentage of women drop out in early to mid-career stages.

 There is also a need for more role models that can inspire and connect with the next generation – sharing their passion for science & research and talking openly about their experience of working their way up the STEM industry. This is why we launched the #Championsofscience campaign – to shed light on some amazing untold stories of women from Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman who are working every day both to advance research and to encourage more women & girls to follow and stick to a career in STEM.

 The stories we’re highlighting are just a few we were lucky to meet through our Gulf-UK science programme, that supports women working in science with leadership courses – but there are many more amazing stories out there. If you know an amazing women scientist, tweet her story using the hashtag #Championsofscience!

Simple steps organizations can take to be more inclusive are:

•             Flexible work timing and working from home

•             Professional Development and training opportunities

•             New platforms for networking

•             Mentoring schemes for the younger generations, who need guidance and support especially at the beginning of their careers

We hope you will join us in celebrating the International Day of Women in Science by sharing some of the stories on #Championsofscience on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


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