Webinar: Harnessing innovation and technology for empowering women in agriculture and science
Every year 8 March is celebrated globally as International Women’s Day. It is an occasion to draw public attention to the important role of women and girls in society and celebrate their achievements and contributions in different sectors. But it is also a moment to take stock of and spotlight challenges facing women and girls around the world.
One of the problems is that many women and girls still lack access to digital skills and resources. Ironically, in the digital age 37 percent of women and girls do not use the internet, although they account for nearly half the world’s population. As a result, they cannot benefit from a vast pool of knowledge available online.
Moreover, statistics show that women and girls are still largely underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) around the world as a result of wide-ranging factors, including lack of digital access. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), only about 30 percent of the women students in higher education worldwide choose STEM-related disciplines.
Different forms of gender gap permeate every sphere of social life. Empirical evidence also shows that there is a disproportionately low number of women in science, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. When it comes to research and innovation, the average share of women scientists across the region stands at a mere 17 percent, which is the lowest in comparison to other regions.
As women’s inputs are crucial for research and innovation, just as they are for food security, it is important to provide them with the skills, tools, and opportunities they need so that they can contribute more to agriculture and science in particular and social and economic development in general.
When women are empowered to realize their full potential, economies grow, and societies prosper. And above all, they often act as catalysts for advances in many areas, including agriculture and science.
This is the idea behind a webinar organized by the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
The webinar will serve as a forum for sharing ideas and thoughts on how innovation and technology, and specifically digital technologies, as well as special capacity development programs can help to bring more women into agriculture and science and make the most of their unique skills and perspectives for sustainable agricultural development and scientific progress.
As the digital gender gap has many implications, it is necessary to create opportunities for women to take advantage of online resources and tools for professional and personal development.
Jointly with its partners, ICBA offers a range of virtual and e-learning courses to women under dedicated capacity development programs such as the Arab Women Leaders in Agriculture (AWLA) to develop their research, leadership, and other skills.
In line with this year’s theme of International Women’s Day “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, the webinar will discuss how innovation and technology, and digital technologies in particular, can be used to enable women scientists and professionals to achieve more in agriculture and science and what can be done to address the digital gender gap.
The webinar will also showcase some achievements and highlights from AWLA as well as research and development projects led by ICBA which have used digital technologies to reach a larger number of women and provide them with tailor-made learning opportunities.
More importantly, it will feature personal experiences and insights from successful women leaders, scientists, and professionals.
The list of speakers includes women leaders, scientists, and other professionals.
- Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, Director General, ICBA, UAE
- Dr. Charbel Tarraf, Chief Operations and Development, ICBA, UAE
- Ms. Cristina Petracchi, Leader of the FAO eLearning Academy
- Mr. James Carty, Deputy Director Middle East and East Asia, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Mr. Rami Farran, IT Academic and Applications Services Director, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
- Dr. Sumitha Thushar, Post-Doctoral Fellow - Plant Genetic Resources Scientist, ICBA
|10:00-10:05||Welcome remarks - Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, Director General, ICBA, UAE|
|10:05-10:15||AWLA presentation – Dr. Charbel Tarraf, Chief Operations and Development, ICBA, UAE|
Panel discussion: Innovation and technology for the empowerment of women and girls in agriculture and science
|10:55-11:00||Concluding remarks – Dr. Charbel Tarraf, Chief Operations and Development, ICBA, UAE|