Assoc. for Women in Science

Winter 2015

AWIS Magazine covers topics important to women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine fields. Topics include career advancement, work-life balance, the state of science and technology, women’s wellness, and AWIS’ political and

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22 association for women in science | winter 2015 W hen most people think about famous scientists they tend to remember Albert Einstein, but forget important figures such as Jane Goodall or Marie Curie – and it was that fact that experts at the Eye on Earth Summit want to change, as they en- couraged women to get involved in the environmental sciences. Several leading figures at the summit and within the global environmental movement are women, they said. Razan Al Mubarak, secretary general at the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, said that it was important to keep open the possibil- ity for women to occupy all roles throughout the environmen- tal movement. "Across gender, across societal and economic dimensions, the environmental movement needs to be adopted by all of us, because it influences all of us," Ms. Al Mubarak said. At the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Ms. Al Mubarak said, 50% of the management was female and that women were well represented in the agency's scientific teams as well. "We're quite proud of our gender diversity, because we believe it adds to the diversity of thought, perspective and approach," she said. "I believe that only brings strength to the organization on social, environmental and economic movement." She said the government needed to be able to support women in science and contribute to the empowerment of women – which she said was evident in the United Arab Emirates. "It's no longer a few women that are being highlighted, it's the scientist in Bahrain, it's my coral reef diver who posts on social media, it is this aspect that brings to the public real stories of women in the field," she said. "I hope that will engage the public and encour - age other women into the field." Tahera Abdul Aziz, a recent graduate from Bahrain Polytechnic and a member of the environmental citizenship program in Bahrain, said that she looked to Arab figures for encourage- ment. When you see that women, and particularly Arab women, are in fact leading the way, it gives me a lot to look forward to," the 22-year-old said. Her colleague, Nada Al Saffarf, a student and also a member of the citizenship program, said that such encouragement allowed her to look towards a profession in the environment field. "You find out that there is in fact a future for us and one that can progress us to the higher levels, that is something to work towards," the Bahraini said. Dr. Hayat Sindi, the first Saudi woman to graduate from the University of Cambridge and a visiting scholar at Harvard University, agreed that more women needed to be involved in science. "If you go to the core of the problem, women like to go into medicine, because for them it's directly helping people, but they don't see most of the time that the effect of science is significantly more than just medicine," she said. Dr. Sindi said that this had a lot to do with the general percep - tion of women in science and technology, especially when it came to environmental sciences. "The perception must change. When I went to a school and asked the girls to draw a scientist, they drew a bald man, because that's the image they get in Hollywood and that's Einstein. "That's my job, to provide a role model, to make it attractive to women," the United Nations Edu- cational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) goodwill ambassador said. "Science has now become more human and that's what we need." Naser Al Wasmi is a reporter for Abu Dhabi Media and the public relations & electronic marketing senior officer for ABYAT, the largest retail store in the Middle East. Before that he was a fellow with Soli- ya and a media coordinator and project manager at Lothan Youth Achievement. Mr. Al Wasmi earned his two bachelor's degrees from the University of Southern California in print and online journalism and international relations. = Source: The National Women Must Play Bigger Part in Environmental Science: Abu Dhabi Summit By Naser Al Wasmi Journalist with Abu Dhabi Media careerplaybook environmental citizenship

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