ISLAMABAD  - Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) “ISESCO Women in Science Chair” has been awarded to Dr. Bushra Mirza, Professor and Chairperson of Department of Biochemistry, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Dr. Bushra did her Ph.D from University of Cambridge UK and post doctorate from University of North Carolina, USA, in the field of Plant Molecular Biology. She has been awarded the Best Young Research Scholar Award by Higher Education Commission in 2009 and a Gold Medal by Pakistan Academy of Sciences in 2008.

The purpose of the ISESCO Women in Science Chair is to extend facilities and resources to women scientists of member states to collaborate and jointly work in empowering women in scientific and technological fields, eliminating their marginalisation, and reorienting their socio-economic status towards achieving social and economic gender equality in rights and duties in the member states.

In this regard an inauguration ceremony of the chair was held at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) where participants discussed the role of women leaders in higher education with particular reference to OIC Counties and Pakistan. Prof. Dr. Samina Amin Qadir, Vice Chancellor, Fatima Jinah Women University, was the keynote speaker. While addressing the ceremony she briefly mentioned challenges, gaps and opportunities, which Pakistani women leaders in higher education are facing.

“Being in a position of power does not bestow leadership qualities. This has to be earned through awareness, proactive training and affirmative action. Pakistani women professionals need to know their professional strengths without compromising their religious, cultural or social identity,” she said.

Dr. S. Tanveer Kauser Naim, Consultant COMSTECH, in her presentation, highlighted the state of women in higher education. She said that despite low literacy level and low enrolment in higher education and huge inter- provincial, urban/rural and male/female disparities women of Pakistan have done marvelous job. She said that 3 out of 66 public universities in Pakistan have women vice-chancellors while women comprise approximately 25 per cent of university faculty.