New forum launched for Arab women in science and engineering

New forum launched for Arab women in science and engineering

May 22, 2015

A new forum called AWSc (Arab Women in Science and Engineering) was launched at the Technion on April 30th. The Forum, initiated by a group of Arab women entrepreneurs and Technion graduates, connects Arab women in the fields of science and enginieering to "advance excellence and technological leadership among Arab women, provide tools to lead in the world of technological innovation and entrepreneurship, to break down barriers, and to support their careers."

AWSc was initiated by Technion graduates, phD students, and Amal Ayoub, a Technion graduate and founder of Metalo-therapy, considered by many to be the first Arab woman hi-tech entrepreneur in Israel. Arab women comprise Israel's most underemployed demographic, with labor participation rates of less than 35%. Of these, far fewer work in high quality, advanced professions. The women who break through cultural and societal barriers to succeed in science and engineering serve as important role models for Arab society, and trailblazers for the Israeli economy as a whole. 

The launch was marked by a special event attended by approximately 100 Arab women who heard talks by successful women entrepreneurs from Arab society. Among the issues discussed were how an idea becomes a technological reality, how to protect an invention, business and work plans, accessing incubators and accelerators, and more. 

Amal Ayoub shared her academic journey and how, at 29 after completing her phD, she became exposed to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur through mentors that helped her maintain the tenacity and persistence needed to reach success. Nora Nosir, founder of Nurami Medical, talked about her childhood dream of studying science at the Technion, and advised women to be focused and not let fear dissuade them from pursuing meaningful goals. 

Other speakers included Technion professors, representatives of the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy, and representative of the US Embassy in Israel. Professor Yusef Jabarin, the Technion's Senior Vice President on Minority Affairs, emphasized the Technion's commitment to advancing Arab students in science and engineering. Though they have been successful in increasing the numbers of Arab students in STEM and will continue to do so, "there remains a large gap between their educational achievement and the livelihood they glean from it, and this must be reduced."

Coinciding with the launch, AWSc opened a Facebook group for continuing dialogue that already has well over 300 members. 

 

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