Saudi foreign ministry appoints first woman as director-general

Time: 25 August, 2020

Yankasar will hold the position of director-general of the general department of cultural affairs. (Supplied)
  • She will hold the position of director-general of the general department of cultural affairs

RIYAHD: The Saudi foreign ministry has appointed Ahlam bint Abdulrahman Yankasar as the first woman to serve as a director-general in the ministry.
She will hold the position of director-general of the general department of cultural affairs.
Yankasar previously worked as part of the team at the office of the deputy minister of foreign for political and economic affairs.
She was deputy head of the economic and cultural section of the Saudi embassy in London and served as an official in charge of the economic and cultural file in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs North America Department.
Yankasar also worked as a diplomatic coordinator at the general secretariat of the Saudi ambassadors’ committee in Europe.
She delivered the Kingdom’s speech at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly during the general debate on women’s advancement.
She hold a master’s degree in international business administration from the University of London.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi youth’s new-found focus on independence

Time: 19 August, 2020

Saudi people watch the concert for composer Yanni during the concert at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 3, 2017. Picture taken December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser – RC1A21D37EE0

The Saudi General Authority of Statistics (GASTAT) last week released a special report to mark International Youth Day, which is celebrated annually on Aug. 12. The report, “Saudi Youth in Numbers,” offered some interesting insights into the status, lifestyle and thinking of the 15 to 34 age group in Saudi Arabia, especially concerning employment and marriage.

GASTAT confirmed in its statistical report that this age group makes up 36.7 percent of the total population of Saudi Arabia, while children under 15 represent 30.3 percent, which means that the majority of the population is young. The divide between males and females in the 15 to 34 age group is very narrow, with males making up 51 percent and females 49 percent.

The data regarding marriage in this age group was an eye-opener and triggered widespread discussions on the changes in mindset and society. The percentage of young males and females who had never been married was 66.23 percent, those who were married made up 32.45 percent, divorced 1.27 percent and widowed 0.05 percent. This means the age of first marriage is rising, which has implications regarding fertility rates and population growth, and consequently economic and social aspects a few decades down the road.

The report points out that the fertility rate in Saudi Arabia is in line with the global trend, where Saudi females within the 30 to 34 age group registered the highest fertility rate with 124.4 births per 1,000 women in 2018. The Kingdom is on the lower side of the adolescent fertility rate (15 to 19 years) compared to other G20 countries at seven births per 1,000 women, higher only than Italy, France, Japan and South Korea.

In the 15 to 24 age group, the percentage of never-married males was 50.4 and females 43.1, which means that more and more Saudi youths are opting — most likely with the encouragement of their parents — to marry after completing their university education. The fact that the report indicates that Saudi youths’ (15 to 34 years) illiteracy rate decreased noticeably from 2007 to 2017, with a majority of decreases attributable to females becoming more literate (the female illiteracy rate dropped from 5.9 percent in 2007 to 0.6 percent in 2017), supports this argument.

However, there was still a small number of males (1 percent) and females (6.8 percent) who were married in the 15 to 24 age group, although the report does not indicate the percentage of those who were under 18, nor does it indicate the education or social level of this married group. Marriage under the age of 18 was prohibited last year, when the Ministry of Justice instructed official registrars not to register any marriage if a prospective spouse was below 18 and to instead report the case to the relevant court, which would decide if there was any risk to the person involved. Therefore, even though this law was introduced only last year, the small percentage of those married in the 15 to 24 age group indicates that early marriage was already declining.

On the other hand, in the 25 to 34 age group, 25.2 percent of males and 13.4 percent of females had never been married, but again the report does not indicate whether the majority of them are above or under 30 years of age or their education and social level. Meanwhile, those who were married in the 25 to 34 age group were 23.2 percent male and 34.4 percent female, which means that far less than half of our population that is in an age group that is expected to be married and with children are not.

We might also assume that, considering the much higher percentage of married females aged 25 to 34 compared to males, many females in this age group are marrying older males. This argument could be supported by the reasons given by youths for delaying marriage. Both genders cited the “high cost of living” as the main reason, followed by the “high cost of marriage,” which is related to youth employment and income.

According to the report, young Saudis aged 15 to 34 and working in the labor force represented 47 percent of the total Saudi workers in 2019 (69 percent male, 31 percent female). Only a fraction of the employed (3.8 percent males, 2.4 percent females) were in the age category 15 to 19 years, while the largest percentage were aged 30 to 34 (38.9 percent males, 43.6 percent females). It was interesting to note that there were more females employed than males in this age group, as well as in the 25 to 29 age group (35.5 percent males, 37.7 percent females).

The report points out that, over the past four years, the young Saudi (15 to 34 years) labor force participation rate has increased by 4.4 percentage points. This increase is due to the rise in the participation rate of females, which was 6.3 percent compared to 2 percent for males. This is credited to the Vision 2030 goal of creating more job opportunities for females. However, the participation rate of young Saudi females is still less than half the participation rate of young Saudi males.

During the past four years, the unemployment rate for Saudi youths (15 to 24 years) decreased by 11.5 percent. The decrease in female unemployment was even higher than males (13.9 and 11.6 percent, respectively). However, the unemployment rate for females is still more than three times that of males. Youths’ average monthly income is in favor of males, with the highest gap of almost 10 percent among middle income earners. Surprisingly, 63 percent of the Saudi youth find their monthly income sufficient to meet their financial obligations, which contradicts their most popular reason for delaying marriage. But the report did not indicate the distribution of youths earning low, middle and high income levels, especially as it found that the majority (55.3 percent) do not save from their monthly income.

The age of first marriage is rising, which has implications regarding fertility rates and population growth.

Maha Akeel

Another surprising result to note is that the largest difference between males and females in citing reasons for delaying marriage was the difficulty finding the right partner (1.9 percent males, 11.7 percent females). It would be interesting to know what the criteria are for Saudi males and females in finding the right partner and whether there is a mismatch between what each gender is looking for or expects.

Clearly there has been a shift in the Saudi youth’s priorities and lifestyle, with more focus on independence, whether financial or personal.

  • Maha Akeel is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. Twitter: @MahaAkeel1å

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Reem Al-Frayan, executive director of the G20 Saudi Secretariat 

17/08/20

  • Al-Frayan obtained her bachelor’s degree in technical education and training from Ohio State University in 2001

Dr. Reem Al-Frayan has been the executive director of the G20 Saudi Secretariat since January 2020, and its senior adviser since January 2019.
She has also been a women’s committee member of the Council of Family Affairs since January 2018, and advisory committee member of the Deanship of Community Service and Continuous Education since January 2018.
Al-Frayan obtained her bachelor’s degree in technical education and training from Ohio State University in 2001. She did a master’s in instructional technologies and media policy and leadership at the same university in 2002.
She pursued a second master’s degree in educational leadership and organization at the University of California in 2013. Al-Frayan did a Ph.D. in the same field from the same university in 2014.
Prior to her current position, she worked as instructional technology unit supervisor at the Arab Open University in Kuwait between 2003 and 2004. Al-Frayan also worked as a training specialist for the National Project for Tourism Human Resources Development at the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities between 2005 and 2006.
She worked as an administrative planning and processing development officer between October 2006 and October 2007 at the King Abdul Aziz Medical City.
Al-Frayan was a member of the supervisory board at the Chambers Election Committee between 2008 and 2009.
She worked as the general manager of businesswomen’s affairs at the Council of Saudi Chambers between October 2007 and January 2010 and as its assistant secretary-general between September 2014 and October 2018.
In 2013, she was selected by the Saudi-US Trade Group to serve as a student ambassador for the 2013 US-Saudi Business Opportunity Forum in Los Angeles.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Empowerment of women and youth government’s top priority, says Saudi governor

17/08/20

Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal during a briefing on a self-employment project to train young Saudi men and women in coffee making. (SPA)
  • More than 1,000 people have so far applied for the two-month program

AL-QASSIM: Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal was briefed on an initiative by the Qudra National Women’s Association to train young Saudi men and women and promote self-employment. The “Barista” project aims to provide training in coffee making and enable the youth to start their own businesses.
The governor was informed about the mechanism through which the association engages the local community and empowers people. More than 1,000 people have so far applied for the two-month program.
Prince Faisal praised the initiative and stressed the importance of such projects for the socioeconomic development of the country. The governor said that the empowerment of youth and finding employment for them is  a government top priority.
In a separate meeting, the region’s education officials called on the governor and briefed him on the measures the education department was taking to ensure uninterrupted education by using the latest technology during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic

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10 women given senior positions at Two Holy Mosques

16/08/20

This picture taken on July 24, 2020 ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage season in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca shows a view of the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the centre of the Grand Mosque complex. (AFP)
  • Appointments cover all specializations and services

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has appointed 10 women to senior leadership positions in the authority.

Announcing the appointments, the presidency said that “empowering women to assume leadership positions is an important subject that will reflect on development and the economy.”
The appointees “will support the process of creativity and achieving the principles of quality and the highest standards of excellence in order to achieve the generous aspirations of the wise leadership,” according to SPA.
“These appointments cover all specializations and services provided in the Two Holy Mosques, whether guidance, directive, engineering, administrative or supervisory services,” Kamelia Al-Daadi, assistant undersecretary for service and administrative affairs at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, told Arab News.
“They are also included in the departments of the King Abdul Aziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa (cover), the Two Holy Mosques Building Gallery, the Holy Mosque Library, and other areas with the aim of empowering youth and investing their energies and capabilities in the service of the pilgrims,” she added.

They are also included in the departments of the King Abdul Aziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa (cover), the Two Holy Mosques Building Gallery, the Library of the Holy Mosque, and other areas.

Kamelia Al-Daadi

Abdul Hamid Al-Maliki, deputy president of the King Abdul Aziz Complex for Holy Kaaba Kiswa, exhibitions, museums and assistant undersecretary for the affairs of the Grand Mosque, said that almost half of visitors to the Grand Mosque are women, and the presence of Saudi women leaders will ensure high-quality services.
“The General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques accords great attention to young people of both sexes by empowering them to be leaders at young ages,” he added.
Al-Maliki said that promoting women’s role in the presidency and supporting them to lead development in the country is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform program.

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Sneakers gain footing with women in the Arab world

13/08/20

Tamila Kochkarova’s dress code for her wedding invitation last year was “Formal + strictly sneakers.” (Supplied)

  • Comfort and style bring once-niche footwear into Middle East mainstreamComfort and style bring once-niche footwear into Middle East mainstream

DUBAI: “Formal + strictly sneakers” — that was the dress code on Tamila Kochkarova’s wedding invitation last year. “I wore a pair of Nike Air Max 98 that were completely white,” the Uzbek photographer and sneaker collector, who has lied in Dubai for the past 16 years, tells Arab News. “My number one priority on my wedding day was my comfort.”

Once considered niche and alternative in the region, sneaker style has now entered the mainstream, and is increasingly popular among women in the Middle East — a demographic that stereotypically splurges on fancy clothing with ornate embellishments, paired with shoes a little more “ladylike” than sneakers.

But while glamour has traditionally been the driving force behind fashion, comfort is now heavily influencing style movements, particularly two of the most popular in this region: modest fashion and sneaker culture. Both have helped shape Kochkarova’s personal style.

Halima Aden is a US-Somali model. (Getty)

“I got into sneaker culture when I was young, around 12 or 13,” she says. “I just started hanging out weekly in Dubai Festival City at the skate park out there, and my friends were all skateboarders who were really into sneakers.”

Today, skaters aren’t the only ones buying into the trend of clunky, colorful sneakers. Female ‘sneakerheads’ have become influencers on social media, and a number of them happen to dress in skin-covering attire, too. Instagram is now abuzz with modest fashion bloggers — early images of these women were on the more traditionally feminine side — elegant gowns and flowy maxi dresses and skirts, with fabrics fluttering over sling-back heels, strappy stilettos and, occasionally, ballerina flats. But a new wave of sneakerhead hijabis is shedding light on an alternative type of modest fashion.

Su’aad Hassan was born and raised in Dubai and now lives in Canada. (Supplied)

Striking architectural backgrounds, edgy angles, avant-garde poses, and a clear focus on bold — and often rare — sneakers, including limited-edition Nike Air Max, Jordan and Air Force One styles, are features of trending images in the modest-fashion blogosphere. Su’aad Hassan, who was born and raised in Dubai and now lives in Canada, has over 18,000 followers on Instagram. Her outfits include bright tracksuits, plaid blazers, denim vests, bucket hats, silk scarves, retro sunglasses, and a range of sporty footwear. “I think modest fashion and sneaker culture go hand in hand, because, as a whole, modest fashion is a push against the societal standard,” she explains.

Modesty is dominating runways right now, and sneakers are also in vogue, being produced by brands like Gucci, Balenciaga and even Christian Dior, the quintessential “ladylike” French fashion house that recently collaborated with Nike on an exclusive pair of Dior logo-stamped Air Jordans. But both subcultures had been ostracized from mainstream fashion for years. Even in the Middle East, where modest fashion is more prevalent, covering up was not always seen as trendy for young women, Hassan explains.

Sole DXB is the Middle East’s largest sneaker, streetwear and lifestyle fair. (Supplied)

“Whether observing the hijab or not, dressing modestly in the Middle East, especially over the last few years, isn’t the cultural norm everyone thinks it is,” she says. “Being able to dress as you wish and to express yourself at your most authentic  — choosing yourself and your comfort over anyone’s expectations of you — requires a level of comfort with your identity, and this ties into general comfort in clothing and appearance. Sneakers make this so easy.”

Femininity has long been synonymous with high-heeled shoes. Louboutin — rather than Reebok or Adidas — has been the brand of choice for glamour-loving women, especially in the Middle East. But Athleisure and sports-luxe trends in mainstream fashion have helped popularize streetwear and sporty shoes, and today, women in the region are pairing clunky sneakers with their abayas, floaty maxi dresses and stylish tracksuits — an eclectic mix of sartorial standards, with room for an array of personal styles that may not necessarily conform to tradition.

“Women, especially nowadays in the Arab world, have completely renovated the term ‘femininity’. It’s by our own rules – we can wear a dress with a pair of sneakers and feel very, very feminine. We don’t have to wear six-inch heels to feel like a woman,” says Kochkarova, who is working on launching a website — noboysallowed.ae — dedicated to female sneakerheads from the Arab World. The site, she says, will highlight muses living in the Middle East, or from the Middle East and living abroad, through creative photoshoots and insightful interviews, forming an online community celebrating women and their coveted sneakers.

Joshua Cox is the co-founder of Sole DXB. (Supplied)

Joshua Cox, co-founder of Sole DXB — the Middle East’s largest sneaker, streetwear and lifestyle fair — says that sneaker culture would be “incomplete” without women, and that labels are now paying extra attention to this demographic.

“Our attendance has always been pretty consistent, with women making up half of our audience, but it’s only in the last three years that we’ve seen the brands in the region increase and improve their offering for women,” he says.

Brands are now also working with creatives who identify with both modest fashion and sneaker culture. Reebok, for instance, ahead of Sole DXB 2019, recruited Sharjah-based Sudanese graphic designer Rihab Nubi for its digital campaign promoting pieces from the Reebok by Pyer Moss Collection 3. Nubi wore a top-and-trousers set with a dramatic, pleated, silhouette paired with chunky black, yellow and salmon-toned shoes from the collection, and an off-white headscarf.

Hassan’s outfits include bright tracksuits, plaid blazers, denim vests, bucket hats, silk scarves, retro sunglasses, and a range of sporty footwear. (Supplied)

While religion is certainly a motivator for women who dress modestly in the region, it isn’t the sole reason why women are gravitating towards conservative cuts. Many, inspired by the appeal of covering your body, rather than being pressured to flaunt it, have begun dressing more modestly without even realizing that their attire could be labeled as “modest fashion.”

“It wasn’t that I was dressing to try and be modest, they’re just the type of clothes I happen to be comfortable in. I never really liked to reveal too much,” says Kochkarova of her trademark loose skirts and oversized shirts. She adds that her favorite element of modest fashion is creative and experimental layering: “I’m heavily influenced by fashion in Japan, especially after visiting twice last year, and that’s something that they do on a regular basis.” She also finds inspiration in the up-and-coming sneaker culture in Saudi Arabia. “These kids in Saudi are insanely creative — they’re so underrated,” she says, citing Jawaher of @fashionizmything and Riyadh-based photographer Hayat Osamah as examples.

The ambitions and aesthetics driving the personal styles of these women are unique and diverse, but it’s clear that comfort and practicality are reigning in the modest fashion and sneaker style subcultures, painting a new picture of what an enlightened and empowered woman can look like.

“What we can see as observers…are that women choose to use sneaker culture for self-expression. They aren’t playing to stereotypes on femininity,” says Cox. “By bringing modest fashion and sneaker culture together, they’re making it their own, and are contributing to the culture as much as they’re taking from it.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi anti-corruption authority probes 218 cases

Time: 11 August, 2020

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Control and Anti- Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has initiated 218 criminal cases in different sectors.

According to a report posted on its official Twitter account, the cases are related to fraud, bribery, and financial and professional corruption.

One of the cases involves the arrest of a businessman in the Eastern Province and 10 citizens, including a current member of the Shoura Council, a former judge,

a current notary, a former bank employee, a former district police chief, a former customs director for an airport, and several retired officers (who were not arrested due to their health conditions).

The businessman bribed them during their period of services
to the tune of more than SR20 million.

Other cases involve the arrest of a director of a port and several employees, a commander of one of the security sectors with the rank of a major general, four
of his subordinates, and the financial representative of the Ministry of Finance. A former governor has also been held
on graft charges. The anti-graft body seeks to activate measures aimed at preventing, combating, and exposing corruption in all its forms, as well as all related crimes and prosecuting perpetrators.

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Saudi woman appointed as head of Tabuk’s regional council for first time

Time: 11 August, 2020

Dr. Khulood Mohammed al-Khamis meets Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz in his office after he decided to appoint her to the position. (Supplied)
  • Dr. Khulood Mohammed al-Khamis has been appointed the head of Tabuk’s regional council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has appointed Dr. Khulood Mohammed al-Khamis to become the head of Tabuk’s regional council, making her the first woman to hold the role in the kingdom.

Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Tabuk Region, met Khamis in his office after he decided to appoint her to the position.

His highness congratulated her on the role as the first woman to occupy this position of secretary general of the regional council in Saudi Arabia.

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Saudi artist reimagines Jeddah through ’80s pop art

Time: 09 August, 2020

Photo/Supplied
  • Zaina Hassan feels that love and belonging we feel toward the coastal city are very real and deserve to be illuminated
  • Deep Blue is an artwork that portrays a girl walking along the new Corniche with the sea as her background. It speaks of moments when you feel melancholic or blue for reasons unknown to you

JEDDAH: Every Jeddawi has an obsession with their city; the elderly reminisce about historic Jeddah in the old days, while the youth romanticize the modern city through photography and social media.

One Saudi artist, Zaina Hassan, 23, who goes by the name ZHA on social media, chose to express her attachment to Jeddah by reimagining it through ’80s pop art.
“To many of us, Jeddah is a city too familiar for words, for beautiful odes and formal praise. Yet, the love and belonging we feel toward it are very real and deserve to be illuminated,” she told Arab News.
She added: “My deep affection toward the city only grew while I was away, and all its beauty that was previously hidden in plain sight became visible to me in my nostalgia.”
The artist has completed eight pieces; the first artwork, shared on Instagram is called “Show You the World” and portrays two people walking toward the Globe Roundabout in northern Jeddah.

FASTFACTS

• Re-Imagine Exhibition opened on July 27 at Medd Cafe, and will continue until August end.

• Zaina Hassan’s artwork will be available for purchase.

“This piece is dedicated to people who dream of seeing the world but find themselves stuck in one place. A gentle reminder that there is much to see and feel, even without getting on a plane and traveling thousands of kilometers,” she said.
The other pieces follow the same idea, where the location reflects certain feelings or emotions of the characters in the artwork.
“Deep Blue” is an artwork that portrays a girl walking along the new Corniche with the sea as her background. “It speaks of moments when you feel melancholic or blue for reasons unknown to you,” Hassan said.


“Rosie” is another artwork that shows a couple standing together lovingly, with the old Saudi airplane monument behind them. The monument symbolizes how every relationship is a journey, she added.
Hassan chose ’80s pop art as her medium because it combines youthful content with a vintage appearance, which she is very fond of.
“For the love of everything vintage. Comic book art or ’80s pop art has a nostalgic yet youthful and modern look to it, so it was the perfect artistic style to merge the old with the new.”
The artist began sharing her work on Instagram during the difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
“I first thought of the theme behind the first few pieces in the midst of the COVID-19 avalanche, when isolation and uncertainty were still unexplored territories to most of us; the main incentive behind the theme was homesickness,” Hassan added.
She said it was not artwork by other artists that inspired her, but things from her daily life such as songs, movies and stories.
“I found that listening to certain songs inspires me so much more vividly than looking at or studying actual art pieces. Obviously, comic book illustrators have inspired me enough to use this specific style and guided me with regard to colors and composition, but I believe that the real inspiration behind my artworks’ ideas come from songs, as well as movie scenes, pictures and stories,” she said.
“Basically, anything that is able to transport you to an alternative reality for a period of time. So many things inspire me and influence me daily, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact source.”
Hassan said the illustrations were figments, romanticizing the streets people know well, but they exposed the genuine fondness Jeddawis carry in their hearts for this coastal city.
To many people, she said, the landmarks portrayed in Hassan’s artworks carry many memories of their youth — their favorite childhood place, where they used to hang out in their teenage years, or even a place they used to pass by on their way to their loved ones’ old houses. “It’s amazing how memories connect people to places on such a deep level.”
The main theme of her collection is not solely romantic as much as it is soulful, and it encompasses romance, friendship, adventure, and even melancholy.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Young Saudi woman takes pioneering role in male-dominated engineering industry

Time: 08 August, 2020

Rawan Abukhaled. (Supplied)
  • Rawan Abukhaled, 23, keen to provide digital solutions that help cut costs

JEDDAH: A young Saudi is setting the pace by becoming the only woman working at a manufacturing plant as a digital transformation consultant for GE Digital in the Kingdom.

Rawan Abukhaled, 23, has paved the way for hopeful young Saudi engineers to not be afraid of being the only woman in the room.

“I’m probably one of the first women to join the industry in the Kingdom,” she said. “I want to be the best representation of a female Saudi engineer in this field, so everyone around me thinks, ‘Hey, we need to hire more women.’ I’m constantly trying to get that idea through,” she added.

She is aware of how male-dominated the industry is, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world. “When I got my first job in the US as a software developer, I was one of the very few females in the room as a software developer and now there are sometimes no other women in the room.”

Abukhaled is passionate about making change, and her job depends on it. She is keen on providing companies with digital solutions that help them to cut costs and raise productivity.

“Today, I’m learning in the field hands-on, rather than in an office. And for soft skills, this is a client-facing job. So, I am in situations that challenge me to grow, especially in my interactions with customers. I’m the only local or regional person on the ground, so the (GE Digital) team in the US relies on me to go to customer sites, and that helps me grow both my technical and soft skills.”

HIGHLIGHT

She is aware of how male-dominated the industry is, not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world. She has paved the way for hopeful young Saudi engineers to not be afraid of being the only woman in the room.

The industrial and systems engineering graduate gained a sense of how much she could do for women when she studied at Virginia Tech, US. She took part in a campaign to become the vice president of the Saudi Student Club and succeeded in becoming the first woman to be elected to the role in 80 years.

Abukhaled said that she was flabbergasted at the number of women approaching her to ask what it was like and the impact it left on female students around her. “I was the vice president of a student club. Even something that small inspired women.”

When she was growing up, Abukhaled wanted to get into medicine. “As I got older, I realized I wasn’t that great in biology and I was more interested in physics and math, so I knew engineering was a better fit for me.”

Her current job with GE Digital allows her to work in the two areas she feels strongly about: Technology and people. “There’s a geek side to me that likes the math and problem-solving, and the other side of me that loves the social network and interacting with people.”

Her father has supported her throughout. He was an industrial engineer, which ended up being a great asset as the two of them shared common interests. “We are a lot alike. He became an influential leader in a multinational organization, and I want to follow in his footsteps. He’s supported me every step of the way, ever since I was a little girl.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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