Women around the world deserve the opportunity to participate in STEM innovation but, due to numerous sociological factors, it can be difficult for women to find their place within the community. Opportunities such as the ‘Women in STEM Education and Career Pathways’ conference recently launched by the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), are especially important in the Arab and North African regions to allow growth within STEM.
“As a university, I feel that we have a duty to actively promote progressive values and attitudes. Through the power of education, we are obligated to encourage equal opportunities for women, both within education and the sphere of work,” stated the president of AURAK, Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim.
At the conference, female leaders from the STEM community discussed both their personal experiences and how to improve upon them for those who follow in their footsteps.
Felizitas Sagebiel, a social scientist in the field of education from the University of Wuppetal in Germany, spoke about the negative effects of gender stereotypes on society—and how stereotypes can specifically effect those within the engineering sciences.
The remaining sessions were run by prominent women from institutions in the UAE, Germany, Morocco and Jordan. These sessions focused on the empowerment of women, with topics ranging from ‘Women and Careers in Research’ to ‘Promoting Women’s Entrepreneurial Skills’.
As we move into the future, it is imperative to focus research and resources on the issues that have a global impact. Climate change, increases in energy consumption, and sustainable development are the current focus of STEM innovation. The ‘Women in STEM Education and Career Pathways’ conference is not only about empowering women, it is also about teaching female students about the contemporary research within their field and directing them towards careers that will have a direct impact on their community.
The ‘Women in STEM Education and Career Pathways’ conference was the latest collaboration by the American University of Ras Al Khaimah in partnership with the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA). This event was also sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.