Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Farhadi announced his ministry intends to give young women engaged in different fields of science an annual international award titled “Mirzakhani” as of the beginning of new school year (to start September 23).
The award is named after Maryam Mirzakhani, the late Iranian mathematician and university professor and the only female winner of the prestigious Fields Medal, who passed away on July 14, 2017, of breast cancer at the age of 40.
According to a Farsi report by the Ettelaat daily newspaper, Farhadi made the announcement on the sidelines of the first edition of “Women’s Award in Science”, which was held in the National Library of Iran in Tehran.
Addressing the ceremony, Farhadi stressed that “Women’s Award in Science” will be handed out every year.
“Today, there are a large number of female managers in many of the country’s research centres and knowledge-based companies.”
He said in the 1990s, female faculty members in Iran did not have the change to reach a level higher than an instructor.
However, he added, since 2011, they have achieved higher levels to become full professor in domestic and foreign universities.
The minister noted that currently, a number of Iranian female university professors are ranked among the world’s top scientists.
Addressing the same ceremony, new Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Massoumeh Ebtekar said women have proven that gender fails to be an obstacle to gaining knowledge.
She added today, adopting knowledge-oriented approaches is the main basis for gaining power.
“The only countries that have managed to make advances in different fields are those that have developed science-oriented plans.”
She added during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s previous term in office, a plan was approved mandating that women must be appointed to 30 percent of the managerial posts of the country thanks to efforts by the former vice-president for women and family affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi.
“Nevertheless, we, at present, unfortunately cannot witness a significant presence by women in the higher managerial echelons of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Ministry of Health and Medical Education and domestic universities.”
Commemorating Mirzakhani, she said she was a prominent scientist in the field of fundamental sciences who had achieved an international level.
“I believe that today, serious plans are required to be drawn up concerning the issue of young women’s education. They are required to receive more applied education so that they can enter the job market at a more rapid pace.”
Elaheh Majazi, an advisor to the Iranian minister of science, research and technology, also told the audiences, “We believe that the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology is the main source of producing science and the country’s university professors and students as well researchers are the main producers of knowledge.”
Commenting on the ceremony where she was delivering her speech, she said the primary idea for handing out this award was produced last Iranian year (started mid-March 2016).
“At that time, we shared the idea with the minister of science. He welcomed it. The main purpose of this award is to express appreciation for women involved in different scientific fields.”
Women constitute close to 17 percent of the faculty members of Iranian universities, she added