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Posted on May 4th, 2014, by

Today women scientists have the amazing impact in the Arab world. They are an aspiration to males and females, and are true superheroes of STEM fields. To provide an example of current female scientist in the Arab world, it is necessary to mention Faiza Al-Kharafi. She is a prominent female scientist who has studied in the Ain Shams University in Egypt. Faiza has been involved in science since a very young age. She won the 2011 L’Oreal-UNESCO Awards for Females in Science for the work on the corrosion of metals, a trouble of basic significance to water treatment and oil spheres. In 1993, she became the president of Kuwait University, becoming the first female to head such a large educational institute in the country. For lots of young girls and females with ambitions in science she became a symbol and stimulation. Nowadays, she is the vice-president of Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, and a supporter of women scientists in the Arab world (Yahia). Another Arab woman, the first to obtain the L’Oréal Awards for Women In Science, is Nagwa Abdel Meguid. This Egyptian geneticist won this award for the investigation in same blood marriages and their impact on the higher rate of genetic disorders and birth defects (Yahia).

Legally there are no obstacles for women to work in the fields of science and math. However, sometimes female scientists are under-represented in Egypt even in the 21st century. Every award in STEM fields is a huge step for women in the Arab world. In spite of the fact that during the last centuries many things have altered in Egypt, ladies still have a long path to go towards gender parity. Thousand years ago, the Muslim part of the globe made extraordinary inputs to science. Muslims introduced novel ways of observation, experiment and estimation. Yet nowadays, the amount of original research papers issued by scientists in Muslim nations is 0.1% of the amount issued by scholars in the USA and Europe. It is to be hoped this tendency is set to change, with lots of Muslim nations opening universities and introducing new educational programs to advance the abilities in STEM fields. For instance, of Egypt’s 18 universities, which together register approximately 1,000,000 students, 5 have opened within the past four years. But even with these evolvements, there is still inequality between Muslim males and females when it comes to education in science (Glater).

In Muslim states, gender-based bias, combined with social and cultural obstacles, limits participation of females in science education. Some individuals attribute these obstacles to the teachings of Islam, but this is wrong. The teachings stress, that obtaining of knowledge is responsibility of every Muslim (Schmidt, A24). Science education in the Muslim nations starts between six and seven years of age and is taught as an included obligatory subject to young boys and girls till the age of 15. The main disciplines are then learned separately in the last 3 years of high school education. Fewer girls than boys are registered in high school science program as a bias encourages young girls to study the humanities and arts. There are different grounds for this related to gender stereotyping, false ideas that science is a subject more appropriate for boys, and the failure of program to relate technology and science to the everyday living of females.

States in the Arab world vary greatly in the culture, customs, and social systems, and there is a broad range of attitudes toward educating females at the university level. For instance, in Egypt, females have attended university since the 1920s, whereas in many other nations a university education for young ladies is a recent trend. Though females in Muslim nations have the right to the university education, those in more customary rural regions usually don’t use that right, whether for economic, social or family grounds.

Females usually register in the life sciences and chemistry, with fewer learning physics, math, and engineering. This situation appears to be more the result of female students selecting these subjects than active discrimination by an education system. This tendency is also noticed among American and European women students – for instance, in the EU, ladies constitute 40 percent of natural science undergraduates, 28 percent of computer and math undergraduates, and 20 percent of engineering undergraduates (Thornburgh, 32-40).

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