Female involvement in science and technology is a must

Participation of more women in science and technology is imperative for the country in transition towards a knowledge-based economy, a new study has found.

However, the study conducted by researchers at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi has identified several challenges that prevent women to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering.

Social attitudes and misconceptions about scientific jobs and what they mean are the main sticking points, according to the study. The majority of UAE women are enrolled in social sciences, arts or business administration, while 72 percent of male students are enrolled in engineering UAE.

"Students represent over 50 percent of higher education in the country, but only one of these operations in the labor market," said Dr. Georgeta Vidican, assistant professor of systems engineering and management Masdar Institute, which conducted the study with Noor Ghazal Aswad, a research assistant, and Diana Samulewicz, research associate at the Institute Masdar.

Dr. Vidican said one of the main reasons why few women found in the job market for scientists was the "mobility". Although men could more easily move to other emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, she said, it is socially unacceptable for women to do so.

She added that most of the scientific and technical jobs were available in the private sector, which was not attractive for Emiratis. "This is true for men and women. Very few people are interested in employment opportunities in the private sector. We found that many women are unaware of suitable employment opportunities in the private sector. "

Dr. Vidican added that jobs in science and engineering have often been perceived as men's. "The jobs available in these areas are [considered] not socially and culturally appropriate for women," said Dr. Vidican. "The families have priority in developing plans for higher education."

The study included 2,600 female students from 17 campuses across the country. The aim of the study, the researchers said, was to highlight women's attitudes toward the areas covered and how to increase their participation.

Sixty percent of students disagreed that men are naturally better at math and science, and most of those who agreed that women could do as well as men in these areas if they worked hard. Most students expected a woman of science to "aggressive" and very confident of success.

The study also showed that students from higher income families are less likely to enter these areas. "Students rely on richer connections to find top jobs, regardless of their major," the study said. "The poorest students feel need a" high "level scientists to obtain positions job. "

The main challenges identified by students included being difficult, demanding workload, the fields are dominated by men, and inadequate employment. The family was cited as a major reason why married students do not intend to work after graduation. The students wanted a job that would offer them a pleasant work environment and enable them to make a difference in their society. Non-Emirati students, however, wanted a job that would offer the personal and professional development.

"Abu Dhabi's transformation into a knowledge-based economy should involve the participation of men and women," said Dr. Vidican. "We believe these studies will help to guide policy makers in developing regulations that will address the gender gap and enable women to achieve even more in the fields of science, technology and engineering. "

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