Great changes in information technology in recent decades and rapid access to information has increased the scientific gap between the developed and developing countries. In order to decrease this distance, multi-lateral co-operations among the Islamic countries is necessary in building the strategies of accessing science and technology among the Islamic countries. ISESCO as an Islamic, scientific, cultural and educational organization plays a positive role in this respect. Considering the population of women and their capabilities, ISESCO pays attention to their problems such as illiteracy, poverty, and lack of educational and cultural opportunities. In this regard, misconceptions in cultural and traditional values are known as some of the causes of these shortcomings. Therefore, ISESCO believes that awareness-raising can lead to the improvement of these problems. Regarding this, ISESCO pursue the following objectives:
- Strengthen and promote cooperation among Member States in the Fields of education, science, culture and communication.
- Develop applied sciences and the use of advanced technology
- Make the Islamic culture the basis of curricula.
Women, who constitute the main body of society, play the significant role in the cultural, social and economical development as the potential human resources. Thus, their empowerment and their co operations in different levels of science and technology as decision-making, and society management are considered as the preliminaries of the sustainable development. In this regard, ISESCO with the establishment of the Network of Women Scientists of the Islamic World and enhancing women scientific and cultural capabilities aims to help Islamic countries in the attainment of the sustainable development.
The Network of Women Scientists of Islamic World was approved in the fourth conference of Ministers of Higher Education (Baku, Azerbaijan, 2008) With the purpose of decreasing the scientific gap between the developed, less developed and developing countries and the specific emphasis on enhancing women status in science and technology as the ISESCO special focus.
Following this, the Founding Conference of Women Scientists of the Islamic World, was held with the invitation of Islamic Republic of Iran under ISESCO supervision in January 2010. The outcomes of this conference were the establishment of the general assembly, approval of NWSIW constitutional draft and the appointment of the members of the board of trustees from different Arab, African and Asian regions. Then, in April 2010, ISESCO held the first meeting of NWSIW Board of trustees in Rabat (Morocco).
The Facilities of NWSIW Portal
One of the prominent achievements of the secretariat of the Islamic Network of women Scientists (NWSIW) was to plan and launch the scientific, educational, and social portal. This portal has the following facilities:
- Providing a space for Muslim women scientists to make themselves known through their resumes;
- Identifying and introducing outstanding women authors and scientists in the Islamic world;
- Accessing to scientific resources from premier publishers such as Elsevier, Oxford, IEEE, Wiley, ASCE, ACM, Springer and etc;
- Developing a network among Muslim women scientists which provides a corner for discussions and new agendas;
- Establishing a suitable place as an article bank of Muslim women scientist;
- Updating women scientists with science news and women news and providing the opportunity for members to share their valid news;
- Accessing to the information like books and scientific websites in different fields, which are shared by members and the Network;
- Announcing international conferences, short-term training courses, workshops, seminars, meetings and round table discussion sessions;
- Introducing near 200 centers (universities, scientific centers, organizations, networks, institutions, and association) particularly in relation to the area of women activities;
- Introducing near 100 women scientific centers (universities, scientific centers, organizations, networks, institutions, and association);
- Introducing a collection of grants, scholarships and fellowships from various universities and scientific centers for women;
- Establishing channels between scientists and students regarding scientific projects, programs, academic positions and vacancies;
- Creating a spot for graduate students to discover their potentialities.
NWSIW Future Plans
- Organizing and holding online interdisciplinary courses in different fields of study.
- Publishing magazines, periodicals and books;
- Granting research scholarships to Muslim women scientists;
- Granting scholarships to students at different levels of higher education studies (BA/BS, MA/ MSc, PhD) and priority is given to post doctorate and fellows;
- Organizing and holding the international competition and granting the scholarships for conducting the premier researches for enhancement of the women’s role and their improvement in science and technology;
- Granting awards for publication of scientific articles in accredited conferences and journals;
- Granting travel grants to young women scientists in order to participate in international conferences;
- Participating in scientific societies and international conferences in order to introduce the Network, its goals and outcomes and to attract more women scientists.
- Preparing financial facilities in order to invite international scientists and experts for the advancement of the Network objectives;
- Making coordination and cooperation with related international institutions, organization and foundations to attract spiritual and financial supports.