The State Department and National Science Foundation joined forces with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on June 13 to sponsor a groundbreaking symposium entitled “Changing Mindsets to Promote Women and Girls in Science”. The symposium, a commitment under the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), brought fifteen women scientists from Benin, Jordan, Burkina Faso, Mongolia, Brazil, India, Tanzania, The Gambia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iraq, and the West Bank together with more than 100 scientists, educators, and representatives from the private sector and foreign governments.
Participants examined programs and policies that are making a positive impact on attracting girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, keeping them interested in STEM through college, and providing concrete tools to retain women scientists at every level of their scientific careers.
At the symposium the OIC announced that it will host a visit by RAISE Project leadership in OIC member states within the coming months. The visit will offer opportunities to adapt RAISE programming in OIC nations. The RAISE Project, sponsored by the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), is a campaign to increase the status of professional women through enhanced recognition of their achievements in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and mathematics. Its searchable database of professional awards is an invaluable resource for scientists wishing to nominate women for professional recognition.
At the conclusion of the symposium, the State Department and the OIC agreed to hold a similar symposium in the Middle East/North Africa region.
The symposium was supported by additional partners, including NASA, the National Institutes of Health, USAID, the Iraqi Women’s Fellowship Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and Novus International.