Assalamu alaikum wa rehmatullahi wa barakatuh
Islam and even the Muslim society have never restricted women from acquiring knowledge.
I have mentioned some female Muslim scientists here.
1. Dr. Sameera Moussa – The Atoms for Peace Champion, Egypt
2. Prof. Nesreen Ghaddar, FIAS (‘07) – The Shaper of Energy Future, Kuwait and Lebanon
3. Professor Bina Shaheen Siddiqui, Fellow–TWAS (‘89) – The Plants Scientist, Pakistan
4. Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam – The Drug Safety Advocate, Saudi Arabia
5. Prof. Rabia Hussain, FIAS (‘08) – The Infectious Diseases Specialist, Pakistan
6. Prof. Khatijah Mohd Yusoff, FIAS (‘08) – The Viralogist, Malaysia
7. Dr Ismahane Elouafi – The Food Safety Champion, Morocco and Canada
8. Prof. Ilham Al Qaradawi – The Physicist, Qatar
9. Dr. Sania Nishtar – The Policywonk, Pakistan
10. Prof. Dr Nuket Yetis – The Science Administrator, Turkey
11. Dr. Hessa Al Jaber – The Policymaker, Qatar
12. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, FIAS (‘09) – The Herbalist, Mauritius
The Emerging Champions
13. Dr. Hina Chaudhry – The Cardiac Magician, Pakistan and United States
14. Dr. Hayat Al Sindi – The Innovator, Saudi Arabia
15. Dr. Maryam Matar – The Humanitarian, United Arab Emirates
16. Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman – The Taboo Buster, Malaysia
17. Maryam Mirzakhani – The Esoteric Mathematician, Iran
18. Dr. Ghada Amer – The Power Woman, Egypt
19. Dr. Rana Dajani – The Islamic – Feminist, Jordan
20. Dr. Rim Al Turkamani – The Accidental Historian, Syria and United Kingdom
WOMEN GRADUATES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
The data for years 2002/2003 contained in these tables describes the percentage of women graduates in science and engineering out of the total science and engineering graduate population in each country, and pertains to higher-education in science (life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and statistics, computer sciences) and Engineering (engineering and engineering trades, manufacturing and processing, architecture and building) fields in countries with Muslim majorities for which data was available. (Statistics from the “Global Education Digest” report released from UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2005)
Woman Graduates in Science
Brunei Darussalam 49%
Women Graduates in Engineering
Corey Elizabeth Habbas is a a freelance writer from St. Paul, Minnesota, US
The Arab females in the scientific fields:
This is a weekly post by Nidhal Guessoum (see his earlier posts here). Nidhal is an astrophysicist and Professor of Physics at American University of Sharjah and is the author of Islam’s Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science.
In my post last week, I tried to look at the question of Muslim Women Scholars in the Golden Age, that is whether there were a number of Muslim female scholars/scientists during that great era of intellectual activity and achievement, whether the fact that we know of so few female names says something about the culture of that time (Muslim and other), or whether we are just to some extent ignorant about small but important episodes of history. And though my piece and the comments that ensued were far from scholarly investigations, we seemed to conclude that there was an element of both (largely male culture, even among the elite, as well as ignorance of some bright spots/names in our history).
In this post, and in continuation of the theme of Muslim women and scholarship/science, I want to look at the present and focus solely on Science. As you see, I am highly interested in women’s place, role, and contribution to society, particularly in its relation to Science and education, as I think that says quite a lot about the prevailing general mindset of the society.
Indeed, this is not the first time I raise this issue and address this theme, from one angle or another. About a year ago, I posted a piece on Irtiqa titled “Science, Education, and Women in the Arab World”. And last December, I posted a piece titled “Awards for Arab Female Scientists”.
I also mentioned the results of TIMSS 2007, TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) being an international, standardized test administered to students of Grades 4 and 8; those results, while showing pretty depressing performances by Arab/Muslim students, showed better results by the girls than by the boys, rather consistently.
Clearly, Arab/Muslim women are venturing into the sciences in large numbers these days, and they seem to be performing better than boys/young-men, though school performance is not always equivalent to scientific creativity. However, even at the PhD level, one often finds larger fractions of women. It is unclear whether that is going to translate into greater numbers of women scientists (university professors and researchers), because so far we have not seen any such phenomenon, though the trend is perhaps too recent, and one must wait some more. (In universities around me, women make up less than 10 % of the science and mathematics faculty.)
In my December piece, I mentioned the Arab Women of Science prize that the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF) and the Regional Bureau for Unesco have created in partnership with L’Oreal to recognize 5 Arab women for their substantial contributions in various science fields. I listed the recent winners and briefly described their fields of research. I should also refer to the ASTF’s ‘Arab Women in Science and Technology’ website.
I would also like to mention the Ahmed Badeed Prize for Arab Women of Science, which was created in 2008 to acknowledge Arab women who have chosen scientific research as a career and who have particularly distinguished themselves through their work. This prize, given out in Paris (at the Institut du Monde Arabe), was awarded to Drs. Ilham Y. Al-Qaradawi of the University of Qatar and Asmaa Abada-Zeghal of the University of Paris XI for the year 2008, and to Drs. Arifa Ali-Khan, of the University of Yemen in Taïz and Nabila Aghanim of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Orsay, for the year 2009. I don’t think it was given out for 2010, and I don’t know why.
Let me also mention a few names of women who have become famous to some extent in the Arab/Muslim world for their scientific works and achievements. (I would also like to invite our readers to remind us of or introduce us to other important female Muslim scientists of today.)
The Muslim females at the time of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.w.
Business was a legitimate activity of the women companions of the Prophet.Hazrat Khadija r.a, the Prophet’s first wife, is the most famous example.Hazrat Saudah r.a., the Prophet’s wife, was an expert in tanning skins. She sold her tanned goods to trading caravans and local men throughout Medina.The wife of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud met her expenses by manufacturing and selling handicrafts
A companion of the Prophet mentioned a woman who had her own farm. She used to cultivate beets and barley to feed the companions of the Prophet with it after Friday prayer.
The daughter of Abu Bakr, Asma’, mentioned that when she was married to Zubair, they did not have wealth. The Prophet gave them some land about two miles away from their home. She used to farm and transport the produce herself.
Rufaidah Aslamiyyah was an expert in medicine and surgery. She used to tend to the sick and wounded in the battlefields. According to Ibn Sa’d, her tent was equipped with equipment for surgery and first aid. When Sa’d ibn Mu’adh was injured in the Battle of the Trenches, the Prophet transferred him to her tent for medical care
Hazrat Ayisha r.a is well known for her jurisprudence.Umm Salam also gave many legal rulings.
Others are Safiyyah, Hafsa, Umm Habiba, Juwayriyyah, Maymuna, Fatima, Zahra, Umm Sharik, Umm ‘Atya, Asma’ bint Abu Bakr, Haila bint Qanif, Khaula bint Tuwait, Umm al-Darda, Atika bint Zaid, Sahalah bint Suhail, Fatima bint Qais, Zaynabah bint Abu Salamah, Umm Ayman, and Umm Yusuf.
A noted medieval Muslim scholar, Imam Badr al-Din Kashani, explained the rationale for appointing a women Qadi judge): “Where there is ability to give testimony, there is also the ability of qada (ruling).” According to al-Tabari, a woman can be an absolute judge in every matter