Call to address gender imbalance in science

Lyna Mohamad

Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Haji Azman bin Ahmad yesterday highlighted how the Regional Training Workshop on Developing Talents of Women in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can enhance their chances of progress.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Regional Training Workshop on Developing Talents of Women in Science, Technology and Innovation yesterday. He noted that women make up less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers (as stated in the UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics Data), with North America and Europe at 32 per cent, and Central Asia having the best statistics with an average of 48 per cent.

Gender imbalance in STI starts at graduate studies and it is becoming increasingly apparent in advanced career levels, he added.

“In response, I would like to call Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and its member states to act collectively in addressing this issue and to find ways to further empower and develop women’s participation in STI,” said Dr Haji Azman, who is also the Secretary General of the Brunei Darussalam National Commission to ISESCO.

Having more women in influential positions would in turn give due attention to gender equality issues and eventually help resolve the gender disparity in STI.

ABOVE & BELOW: Legislative Council member Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari joins others at the event; and Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) at the Ministry of Education Dr Haji Azman bin Ahmad delivers his speech. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

“I hope this regional training workshop can become a significant stepping stone from gender inequality, to have more balanced participation between men and women in STI not only in this region, but also among ISESCO member states,” Dr Haji Azman said.

The opening ceremony was held at the Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

The ceremony began with a speech by Programme Specialist at the Directorate of Science and Technology, ISESCO Dr Aicha Bammoun.

She highlighted that there is a need to put more focus on the involvement of women in STI.

The three-day event is funded by ISESCO and co-hosted by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry and UBD, as part of the framework to celebrate Bandar Seri Begawan as the Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian Region 2019.

Legislative Council members Yang Berhormat Hafimi binti Haadi and Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari participated in the event, alongside 80 representatives from the ISESCO Headquarters in Rabat, Morocco as well as other ISESCO member states, and Brunei stakeholders.