4th Biennial International Conference on Women in Science, Technology and Innovation: Empowering Women through Technology
22-23 July 2019, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The two-day conference as above was successfully held at Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This biennial event was a platform to gather women in Science, Technology and Innovation from all over the world for knowledge and experience sharing.

This 4th Biennial International Conference devolved from the resolutions of the 3rd Biennial International Conference held in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. Two of the resolutions referred particularly to technology in relation to the gender digital divide, and internet trading and borrowing towards empowering women. It will give focus on how technology helps to uplift women in their lives thus contributing to the achievement of the overall UN Sustainable Goals 2016-2030. The Conference also received the strong support of UNESCO, UNWomen, and UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

The Conference was aimed at showcasing successful innovations in STI by women in solving and/or minimising problems faced by women, by exchanging and sharing experiences on how to achieve SDG No. 5. The Conference was officiated by the Honorable Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC), Malaysia. A video message from the Executive Director of UNWomen, H.E. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and a message from Dr Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO which was delivered on behalf by Dato’ Dr Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin, Director of ISTIC during the opening added significance to the event. Datuk Prof. Dr Halimaton Hamdan, Chair of ISTIC Governing Board and Dr Denis Nkala, Regional Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) also spoke during the opening session.

There was another three events which were held along this important conference – Forum on Maintenance of Infrastructure, Training Workshop on Maintenance of Infrastructure for Developing Countries, and ISTIC 12th Governing Board Meeting. The opening session was a joint officiation of the international conference, the forum and the training workshop.


The Honorable Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) delivering her address and officiate the events.

 
Special video message by Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women    Dato’ Dr Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin, Director of ISTIC reading the message of  Dr. Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO

 

 
Datuk Prof. Dr. Halimaton Hamdan, Chair of ISTIC Governing Board delivering her welcome address   Address by Dr. Denis Nkala, Regional Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC)

 


The Honorable Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC)  officiating the events.


Group photo of VIPs, officials and speakers.

The Conference consisted of four plenary sessions with five keynote speakers and twelve speakers, who presented their projects and initiatives that reflect the empowerment of women and the community through the use of technology – which includes virtual education, digital platforms, technological innovations and social media. 

The conference focused on four themes: 

  1. Closing the Gender Technology Gap and Implications for Education and Training
  2. Connecting Women through the Use of Technology for Social and Economic Development.  
  3. Improving Access to Technology for Women and Girls, Especially in Remote and Marginalized Areas.  
  4. Women in Technology Industry - Creation of Communities that Drive Innovation, Facilitate Knowledge Sharing and Provide Support.

The plenary sessions are structured with keynote addresses and panel discussions, based on the themes. The conference brought together prominent and successful women and men, all experts in their own fields who talked about their solutions and innovations, the impact on of said projects on women and the community, and suggestions on how the SDGs can be achieved through their use of technology. Two special addresses were given by H.E. Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius through a video message and Prof Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNESCO; representing the Director-General of UNESCO. In addition to the keynote addresses and panel discussions, a poster exhibition from speakers and ISTIC were also held to highlight their innovations. This gave a deeper insight into the work that they have been involved in. 


Poster sessions.

127 delegates from 29 countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, United Kingdom, Yemen and Zimbabwe) and four international organisations namely the Regional Asia-Pacific of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF), Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of Sri Lanka attended the Conference. The attendees consisted of 14 males and 113 females.


Special Video Address by H.E. Dr Ameenah Guribfakim, 6th President of Mauritius.


Dr Amina Al-Hajri, Deputy Director-General, ISESCO delivering her keynote address during the plenary session.

Academician Dato’ Ir. (Dr) Lee Yee Cheong, the Honorary Chairman of ISTIC and the Commissioner of UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Goals, delivered a special address on Industry 4.0 as the final lecture. During the closing session, Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin, Director of ISTIC presented the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Women in STI while Dr Shahbaz Khan, the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific representing the Director-General of UNESCO gave the closing address. 

The Conference ended with the 2019 Kuala Lumpur Declaration as follows:  

  1. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be translated into the local and regional context, before taking them onto an international level.
  2. Approaches to the empowerment of women should involve the men and having them play a similar role in promoting and empowering women in utilising and accessing technology.
  3. Access to mentorship and investors, as well as peer-to-peer support,  are as equally important as having access to digital technology, education in technology and the internet.
  4. Technological innovations can be financially savvy through the utilisation of existing platforms i.e. social media and online blogs, and the contribution and collaboration with like-minded people
  5. Technological excellence among women can be enhanced through passion and apt knowledge, and the focus to reach out to the targeted audience, which can be further improved through education and awareness.
  6. Creating communities, collaborating with each other and connecting with peers and users are what drives technological advancements and innovative ideas.
  7. Security is vital to ensure safe access to digital platforms and applications, without compromising personal data and confidentiality between providers and users.
  8. Knowing and understanding the needs of suppliers and users in providing, utilising and improving technology are significant to continuously empower women.
  9. A safer space for women in their workplace, in the streets, offline and online is vital foremost in empowering them to use and deliver technology to other women, their families and their communities.
  10. The increase of the involvement of women in Science, Technology and Innovation at the decision making and problem-solving level is strongly encouraged.
  11. The continuous usage of technology among women is capable of eliminating other problems in the community along the way such as poverty and child labour.
  12. Women are to capitalise on the knowledge they have and be a role model in driving communities and social groups to utilise and provide technology while encouraging and uplifting each other in their efforts. 


Dato’ Dr Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin, Director of ISTIC presenting the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on Women in STI.


Closing address by Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific representing the Director-General of UNESCO. 

Kuala Lumpur Declaration 2019
Pictures