KARACHI – Women scholars at all stages of their careers gathered in the Multipurpose Hall of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi (UoK), to shape, establish collaborations, and talk about women’s progression in chemistry.
The event held as a part of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), “Global Women’s Breakfast” which aims to empower women in chemistry. The event was also associated with “the International Day of Women and Girls in Science”, established in 2015 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to empower women in science and technology.
Highlighting the importance of the occasion, Prof Dr M Iqbal Choudhary said that at the same time this Global Women’s Breakfast was being held in many countries all over the world. He said that this event was organised to address the challenges women in chemistry faced.
He expressed serious concerns over social compulsions that restricted Pakistani women to work freely for the progression of the country. He regretted that Pakistan was one of a few developing countries where women were deprived to have basic human need of clean toilets in the public places. This deprivation also lock up women at their houses, he pointed out.
We have every reason to celebrate women empowerment, Choudhary said, adding that in previous times, only elite class was sending their women for education, but in recent times the situation is clearly flipped. It is observed that females are in great numbers than males in our higher learning institutions, he said.
As a matter of fact, educating a woman is impacting more important than educating a man, as the female has to take the lead in training the kids of her own, he observed.
Choudhary pointed out that challenge in this situation was higher ratio of females in equation, but they are rarely seen on leading posts in academia and industries. Then there are number of other challenges which both male and female have to find the solution for, he said.
In an open discussion, female members of the ICCBS faculty, including Prof Dr Bina Siddiqui, discussed about the primary causes of why women weren’t more self-confident. The female chemists said that the Global Women’s Breakfast intended to assist women chemists to expand their network of contacts, both locally and internationally.
They pointed out that the common perception of society was that women were delicate and not equal to men as they are not able to carry out hard work like men do. They asserted that as far as inelegance was concerned there is no difference between men and women. Women are equally capable of performing tasks as men do, they said.
In fact, there are few responsibilities which nature gave only to women, like bearing a child, giving birth of a child, nursing and taking care of child and family, the chemistry scholars observed. The nature has made women very strong but what they need is a supportive attitude from family, spouse and society to continue their carrier after completion of education, they said.