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Arab women at the forefront of science

In the United Arab Emirates, women are particularly encouraged to pursue a career in science. The focus of our show in Dubai was at the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Young Talent Awards.

Arab women play a vital role in the development of scientific research and innovation in the Middle East. According to UNESCO, 57% of STEM graduates in the Arab world are women, while women represent 61% of university students in the same fields in the UAE.

However, Alexandra Balt, director of corporate responsibility at L’Oréal and CEO of the L’Oréal Foundation, says women scientists face various obstacles at all stages of their careers. “We see women dropping out of school at different stages of their careers,” he told Euronews. They may not be encouraged by the environment, parents, family, or teachers. Then there’s gender bias and discrimination.”

In order to raise awareness and promote the achievements of women scientists, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Women in Science Young Talent Awards were held in the MENA region this year at Expo 2020 Dubai. The results of 14 Arab scientists from the Middle East and North Africa region were recognized, two of them from the United Arab Emirates. They have been honored for their pioneering research and remarkable discoveries in photonics and transplantation.

Dr. said. The research we do is very special and requires a lot of resources and great dedication from us. But because I live in the UAE, I am honored that many universities have provided us with a suitable environment for research.”

Women in the emirate remain a permanent figure in medicine, accounting for at least 35% of the country’s health sector workers. “As an Emirati woman, she encouraged me to graduate with a degree, as many mentors from the government and university assured me of their support,” said Halima Al Naqbi, the UAE winner.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges, including increasing scientific demands, and the role of women in the UAE and Dubai is more important than ever. Another example of women’s contribution to science is the Mars mission to the United Arab Emirates, which began in Dubai. Women made up 34% of the mission and 80% of the entire science team.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates and Head of the UAE Space Agency, was a guest at Expo 2020 Dubai. She said, “I had the honor of working with distinguished women, especially the scientific team of the UAE Mars Exploration Mission.” “No one is there because we were going to impose a quota, but because they started with terms right now. We have picked the best people for the job because we can’t bargain for development.”