The ceremony of the “1st Women Award in Science” (WAS) was held on 19th August 2017 at the Ghalam Hall of National Library of Iran with the efforts of Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT), National Research Institute for Science Policy (NRISP), National Organization of Educational Testing, Iranian Association for Popularization of Science, Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, Institute for Social and Cultural Studies, Agricultural Biotechnology Research Institute of Iran and Women and Family Affairs Vice Presidency. At this ceremony, Iranian elite women were honored.

The ceremony was held with the attendance of Dr. Mohammad Farhadi, the Minister of Science, Research and Technology; Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs; Dr. Vahid Ahmadi, Research and Technology Deputy of MSRT; Dr. Hamid Kazemi, NRISP President; Dr. Elahe Hejazi, Advisor to the Minister in Woman and Family Affairs and Scientific Secretary of the Award and Dr. Ebrahim Khodaee, Member of the Award Policy Council and Head of  National Organization of Educational Testing and a number of government officials along with University Bosses, University Professors and scholars.

Dr. Akram Ghadimi, Executive Secretary of the Woman Award in Science welcomed the audiences and emphasized about science education. She said; all of the verses and narrations in Islam about science education are public and include women. Now, the pride of the Iranian community is that science is not a necessity but a belief in the formation of which women play a significant role. The significant presence of women and their scientific participation in various aspects of life are among the reasons for institutionalizing this belief in the society.

Dr. Elahe Hejazi, Advisor to the Minister in Woman and Family Affairs and Scientific Secretary of the Award, who was the other speaker of the event explained about the formation of the “Women Award in Science”. She said; this issue was raised three years ago by the Women and Science Working Group of Iranian Association for Popularization of Science with an emphasis on Women's empowerment in Popularization of Science. By establishing the Women and Family Policy making Council of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology (MSRT) in October 2016, this idea was approved by the Council and also welcomed by Dr. Farhadi, the Minister of Science, research and Technology. She added; for operationalization of the Supreme Leader’s speech to become a model for Islamic countries, scientific progress is based on the belief in the abilities of women and use of their capacity in all fields. She emphasized, women make up about 17 percent of the faculty members of MSRT and despite the fact that they play multiple roles in the completely masculine structure of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, these women have achieved significant scientific achievements. With this approach, Manual of Style of Women Award in Science was developed and sent to the universities and institutes affiliated to MSRT. In the Science Policy Council, benchmarks for evaluating volunteers' achievements were identified in three sections: publications, research and technological achievements, and science development and popularization of science activities. In addition to publications, inventions, innovations, knowledge-based companies, the production of technical know-how, as well as the theorization chair, the launch of scientific disciplines and publications were also considered as criteria for selection. The arbitration committees in the specialized groups examined 254 cases and selected 216 cases for the final evaluation by screening; in basic science 38, engineering 57, humanities 58, agricultural sciences and natural resources 32, art 7 and basic medical sciences 24. And finally 16 cases were selected.

In continuation, Dr. Farhadi, Minister of Science, Research and Technology congratulated the holding of first festival and the selection of elite women in Science and emphasized on a dedicated day of the year to hold the festival. He mentioned; the United Nations named February 11 as the “International Women's and Girl's Day in Science” and we can also use it to celebrate this event. In this regard, one of the sections of Women Award in Science is dedicated to Young Scientists, namely Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani.

Then Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, Vice President for Women and Family Affairs thanked Dr. Farhadi for paying attention to the “Women Award in Science” and Dr Hejazi for holding the event and said; in the twelfth government, and with the particular attention of the president, there is a definite policy for the greater attendance of women in social and managerial areas and with the help of Mrs. Molaverdi, the Special Assistant of the President in the Supreme Administrative Council, it is anticipated that during the sixth program, about 30% of the management posts will be allocated to competent and empowered women.

After the lectures and broadcasting the clip of introducing the Award, the Statement of the Scientific Policy Council on Women Award in Science was readThen the selected women were introduced and were honored by acknowledgements and cash awards. Also at the ceremony, a note from Engineer Ahmad Mirzakhani, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Scientific and Applied science Center of “Raad Institute” and the father of late Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, was read. In this note, he expressed his hope that by the formation of foundations, scientific institutions, utilization of the capabilities of the charities and the establishment of public organizations, and more support of the officials and planners of the country's strategic plans, all of the unknown talents in the country be identified in order to benefit and improve the country. Establishing the necessary platforms, such as scholarships, research fellowships and awards will provide the foundation for the growth of all the unknown talents in the community.

At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Mohammad Farhadi, the Minister of Science, Research and Technology was honored for his support of the “Women Award in Science” by the donation of holy Qur'an and Divan of Hafez and a handmade carpet.

By: Niksiar