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The Interaction of Arab Women with
Science and Technology

Doha (United Arab Emirates), 24-26 April 1999

Abu Dhabi Declaration

General Union of Women in the United Arab Emirates
UNESCO Regional Office for the Gulf Area in Doha
Ajman University of Science and Technology
Technosphere Centre of Excellence Dubai

Contents
Preamble
Legal issues
Education
Research
Recommendations
Contacts

Preamble    Back to top

We, the participants in the present Conference held at the headquarters of the General Union of Women in the United Arab Emirates (UAE):

Express our sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, President of the UAE, for his wise leadership, piercing vision, his exclusive and uppermost interest in human development, his continued support for the efforts of human development based on his belief that man is both the end and the means of human development and the best type of long-term investment. This support for sustainable human development is coupled with the support of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President of the UAE, Head of the Council of Ministers, Ruler of Dubai, and that of the Members of the Supreme Council and other rulers of the UAE,

Extend our thanks and gratitude to Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of His Highness the President of the UAE and President of the General Union of Women in the UAE, for her patronage of the present Conference and for the comprehensive speech given on her behalf,

Express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of those who participated in the Conference, particularly the General Union of Women in the UAE, UNESCO, the Technosphere Centre of Excellence in Duabi, Ajman University of Science and Technoloy (AUST), particularly His Excellency Dr Saeed Salman, President of AUST, Chairman of the Private Arab Universities Association and Chairman of the Technosphere Centre of Excellence in Dubai.

StrategyAll levels of the education system must be developed and its constituents reformed with a view to enhancing its economic, cultural and social output and accelerating the rate of comprehensive and sustainable development. This particularly entails:

  • realizing the 'education for all' principle and translating this right into good and equal educational opportunities for both sexes and for all areas and regions; this would necessarily lead to the spread and universality of basic education among the young, as well as the eradication of adult illiteracy, especially among women.
  • providing support to the scientific research centres in universities and the HTCs, and relating them to the production and services establishments with the aim of transfering technology, developing production and utilizing research findings to serve development. This necessitates increasing resources and funds allocated to scientific research, on one hand, and enhancing interaction between universities and industry, on the other.
  • the participation of women specialized in science and technology (S&T) in applied collective basic research and also in technology development and technology transfer activities, besides encouraging women to lead these research teams.
  • creating new job opportunities for women in S&T fields. Employing women should not be neglected and job opportunities should be balanced with educational and training opportunities.
  • creating professional information systems in the field of S&T and supplying these systems to educational and training establishments to circulate them among women specialized in S&T and encourage these women to enter the job market in this area through a package of financial and spiritual incentives.

The participants stress the importance of the relation between S&T and national development; women need to prepared to enter S&T fields in view of the fact that S&T is essential to the development and advancement of society.

The participants consider the contribution of women to an institution and the work performed by women as an important factor in the overall success of an institution.

The efforts of Arab countries to improve technical and scientific education systems, especially in programs and subjects related to needs, should continue to be supported.

Legal issues    Back to top

New laws or amendments to existing laws should be passed that establish the following:

  • Equality between men and women in terms of wages and incentives, keeping in mind that women should be able to perform their familial duties,
  • Provision of a safe working environment and safety precautions in manufacturing companies,
  • Provision of incentives to encourage research and technological development and innovation,
  • Provision of a suitable reward system and retirement plan for women,
  • Measures to encourage the private sector to employ women in the field of S&T.

ImplementationArab countries should be assisted, through the provision of technical and financial support, in carrying out all suggestions made in the present Declaration to enhance the role of Arab women in S&T, especially in matters concerning the development of information networks and science clubs for women.

Education    Back to top

Children should be exposed to S&T from early childhood onwards to promote both boys’ and girls’ awareness of the S&T environment around them and to stimulate their aptitude for further learning and research. In this connection, attention must be paid to the development of laboratories so as to encourage empirical education.

Female and male students should be encouraged to study S&T at all levels of general education and to develop a positive tendency to specialize in the same at the higher educational level.

The quality of the educational process should be improved by drawing up advanced educational objectives, curricula, modern educational materials and teacher training in light of the most recent teaching, guidance and assessment methods. The educational process must focus on the learner to develop his/her intellectual potential, in particular the person’s faculties of innovation, creativity, invention, decision-making and self-expression.

Technological methods and devices such as computers, Internet, educational satellite channels and multimedia should be introduced at kindergarten level so as to encourage self-learning and promote faculties for research, discovery and interaction with S&T.

Science clubs in schools and universities should be supported and girls encouraged to join and participate in the activities of these clubs. The participants also recommend establishing science clubs in the General Union of Women centres and in clubs for girls.

The problems of academic failure and ‘drop-outs’ must be tackled in order to ensure that male and female students pursue education to the higher levels. Careful attention must be paid to improving the quality of education and relating education to the labour market.

Research    Back to top

Arab women should be encouraged to continue their post-graduate studies to obtain Master degrees and PhDs and to join post-doctorate professional development programs.

Research centres concerned with women's affairs should be encouraged and supported, and information and documentation centres established to monitor the situation of Arab women in S&T, record laws and regulations related to women and evaluate Arab women's activities in this area.

Innovation and creativity centres should be set up and women should be encouraged to join these centres. In addition, research should be rewarded, including the award of prizes to excellent researchers.

The participation of women in international conferences, seminars and meetings in the Arab world and elsewhere should be supported to increase their interaction with other Arab and non-Arab international experts to improve their own skills.

Data bases for Arab women specialized in S&T should be created and a periodical bibliography giving their curriculum vitae and achievements should be prepared. The information gathered should be circulated between Arab countries and international organizations through information networks such as the Internet.

All means of communication, including the mass media, and professional promotion must be utilized to support women’s participation in international conferences, seminars, and meetings in the Arab world and elsewhere, to increase their interaction with other Arab and non-Arab international expertise to improve their own skills.

A safe working environment should be provided for women working in S&T, in order to protect them from any harm or injury, and clean technology should be used by manufacturing companies.

Nurseries, homes for the elderly and health services should be provided for working women and their families.

Assurances should be provided to enable working women to practice Arab and Islamic traditions.

The participants:    Back to top

request UNESCO to present the recommendations of the present Conference to the World Conference on Science, taking the needs of the Arab world into consideration when preparing recommendations to be approved by the aforesaid Conference,

call on UNESCO, the General Union of Women in the UAE and Ajman University of Science and Technology to organise a meeting to discuss models of Arab women through a local social and cultural framework that will result in the complete interaction of women with science and technology,

call on UNESCO, the General Union of Women in the UAE and Ajman University of Science and Technology to conduct a study on the possibility of offering educational scholarships to outstanding performers in S&T and formulating rules and regulations concerning the provision of such scholarships,

call on national societies to support girls’ and women’s science clubs, and to encourage girls to study S&T fields by presenting them with the advantages and disadvantages of studying the different S&T fields,

call on women's societies to establish communication networks in the Arab World to increase the awareness of women in S&T fields,

call on national societies and non-governmental organizations to organize more effective women's sectors, especially in matters relating to the participation of women in politics and decision-making, thus enhancing the role of women in S&T and providing more job opportunities for them,

call on women's societies and unions to establish a number of science clubs for girls in cooperation with governmental and non-governmental organizations, so that these clubs are inaugurated by establishing a model club in the General Union of Women in the UAE, in cooperation with UNESCO, Ajman University of Science and Technology, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This club should also have a multimedia centre aimed at demystifying science for young women.

 

Contacts    Back to top
For further information, please contact: uhdoh@unesco.org

 

 

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