Saudi crown prince announces Green Saudi Initiative, Green Middle East Initiative

Time: 27 March 2021

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince announced two new initiatives to tackle climate change on Saturday. (File/@Riyadh_Green)

The initiatives aim to clearly define a road map that will protect the planet
Prince Mohammed said that the Kingdom and the region face significant climate challenges such as desertification

JEDDAH: The Kingdom is opting for a more sustainable future with the launch of the Green Saudi and Green Middle East initiatives.

Announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the initiatives are set to apply a number of ambitious programs that will reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in the region and plant 50 billion trees in the world’s biggest afforestation project.

The tree-planting project will be double the size of the Great Green Wall in the Sahel region, the second-biggest regional afforestation initiative.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “As a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that just as we played a leading role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will work to lead the coming green era.”

While economic and social development may be at the forefront of the agenda in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has been committed to applying new environmental policies, including the preservation of marine and desert habitats and greenifying its urban areas.

Many of the Kingdom’s programs are aiming to raise the value of natural resources to ensure economic and ecological sustainability while considering the environment.

The initiative will also work to increase the percentage of protected land to more than 30 percent, exceeding the global target at 17 percent per country. It will reduce carbon emissions by more than four percent of global contributions through renewable energy projects that will provide 50 percent of the Kingdom’s electricity production by 2030.

The initiative is expected to eliminate more than 130 million tons of carbon emissions by using clean hydrocarbon technologies.

HIGHLIGHT
The initiative is expected to eliminate more than 130 million tons of carbon emissions by using clean hydrocarbon technologies.

The crown prince said: “The share of clean energy production in the Middle East does not exceed seven percent today and technologies used in oil production are not efficient.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will work with these countries to transfer knowledge and share experiences which will contribute to reducing carbon emissions by more than 60 percent,” adding that the joint effort will achieve a reduction of more than 10 percent of global contributions.

The two initiatives come in support of the existing environmental efforts the Kingdom has supported in previous years as it continues to face its own challenges at home from desertification, low rainfall, and debilitating dust storms.

He also emphasized that the initiatives stem from the Kingdom’s leading role towards common international issues, and as a continuation of its efforts to protect the planet during its 2020 G20 presidency, which result in a special declaration on the environment, the adoption of the concept of a circular carbon economy, and the launch of two initiatives to reduce land degradation and protect coral reefs.

“This is just the beginning. The Kingdom, the region, and the world at large need to move forward at an accelerated pace in the fight against climate change.”

He added that the details of the Saudi Arabia Green Initiative will be announced in the coming months, and work will commence towards launching a regional gathering in the presence of the international partners of the Middle East Green Initiative in the second quarter of 2022.

This article was first published in Arab News

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New initiatives helping Saudi women achieve their true potential

11/03/21

The Diriyah Gate Development Authority is leading by example as it is focusing on an inclusive approach to give women equal opportunities to prove their mettle. (Photo/Supplied)

Kingdom’s private and public sectors investing heavily to boost women’s skills
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s private and public sectors have been investing in training and mentoring programs to help boost women’s skills and careers. The idea of women’s empowerment has taken a center stage in most of the commercial and non-commercial entities in the Kingdom.

Past debates about whether women should join the workforce are over. The future is now.
Efforts are underway to support and empower female workers, so they can realize their true potential through training, reskilling and upskilling initiatives. According to the Cambridge dictionary, the term “upskilling” refers to the process of learning new skills or teaching workers new skills while “reskilling” is the process of learning new skills so workers can do a different job or instruct others on how to do a different job.

Saudi Arabia’s strong approach to women’s inclusivity in the workforce has provided many with the means to grow professionally in the private and government sectors. The new focus is on hiring those who fit the job description and can add to their skills. It is a critical strategy in the Kingdom’s ever-changing and growing employment landscape.
“I’ve always run initiatives to empower women whether that was in previous jobs or here in Saudi Arabia,” Danielle Atkins, the CMO at the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, told Arab News.

Several initiatives continue to help Saudi female workers rise to prominence.

“My team’s success is a direct reflection on my own success. For me to come to Saudi and inspire a new generation of female leaders — that’s my benchmark of success,” Atkins said.
The Kingdom is determined to groom its female leaders while bringing out the passion, energy and enthusiasm of its workers. Atkins said DGDA is on a similar mission.
One of her protégées went on to become the company’s community management associate director. Ahlam Al-Thunayan, a native of Diriyah, is working within DGDA’s Community Engagement Department and is proud to be part of an all-female staff.

I’ve always run initiatives to empower women whether that was in previous jobs or here in Saudi Arabia.

Danielle Atkins, CMO at the Diriyah Gate Development Authority

“Each team member is strong and opinionated, and they are hard workers even though most are fresh graduates,” Al-Thunayan told Arab News.
DGDA has made strides in fields such as hospitality, culture and heritage, and tourism. Al-Thunayan noted that the firm focuses on each new employee’s skill set, and places them in the department best suited for them. The ongoing practice of reskilling increases growth opportunities, boosts performance, and helps the company stay competitive.
More than 40 percent of Saudi government workers are female as DGDA is playing a key role in employing women. Over half of the marketing team consists of women as the firm is also creating even more new roles within its establishment for female workers. Those who show potential and work at a high pace are selected for leadership development programs that help further their careers while also putting a focus on moving employees from one department to the next to upskill their staff.
Atkins’ advice for trainees and young graduates still new to the workforce is to do something they are passionate about.

Each team member is strong and opinionated, and they are hard workers even though most are fresh graduates.

Ahlam Al-Thunayan

“At the end of the day, you’ll excel if you are passionate,” she said. “When you are young and have not had a lot of experience in the workplace, having the opportunity to work in different departments under different leadership is a really good way to develop your skills. It also helps you understand where is the best place to grow and develop going forward.”
Reskilling and upskilling initiatives continue to help female workers rise to prominence.
Thekra Althaalabi started off as a warehouse employee at Al-Nahdi Medical Co. where she was responsible for performing an array of duties. After eight years with the company, she is now a warehouse shift and supply chain manager leading an all-female team.
“Just like everyone, I started at the very bottom,” Althaalabi told Arab News.
“Throughout my time working here, the company ensured that I received different types of training in processing incoming stock, time management, documentation and inventory workshops. The training has benefited me greatly.”
Starting off with nine female employees in 2012, the medical distribution division at the warehouse has since increased 80 women in different divisions across the supply chain. Althaalabi said employees were encouraged to take part in the different training programs that were available. Many have been able to put their training into practice and rise in ranks.
“The common feeling is that we, as female employees, have grown more confident in our jobs,” she said. “We are empowered, we have developed our skills within our area of expertise and we are improving employee capabilities.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

28/02/21

Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions. (Supplied)

Eye-catching traditional pieces that women wear on key occasions highlight the Kingdom’s diverse heritage
MAKKAH: With Saudi Arabia’s diverse and colorful cultural traditions, fashion serves as a medium where foreigners and citizens can meet.
Fashion has always been an important part of how people define themselves and others, and Saudi Arabia’s traditional clothing is no different.
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions, while others made sure they showed off traditional fashion items.

For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an “American Saudi,” caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels.
Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land.
“The fashion scene was remarkable at the Saudi Cup. I am going to dub it the ‘Met Gala’ of Saudi Arabia in future. Saudi Arabia has such an old fashion heritage, so it was wonderful to be able to take a trip through history and to tell the world a story,” she said.

Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing.

Brandi Janow

“As a history lover, this is probably one of the best places that I can be to see so many remarkable sights with my own eyes,” she added.
Celebrating Saudi Arabia’s heritage, fashionable guests appeared in pieces that highlighted the Kingdom’s diverse heritage, including intricately embroidered daglahs for men and the heavily embellished zaboon worn by the women of Hijaz.
Janow calls Saudi Arabia her home and is “happy my journey brought me here.”

HIGHLIGHTS
• For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an ‘American Saudi,’ caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels.

• Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land. She calls Saudi Arabia her home and is ‘happy my journey brought me here.’

The private sector worker is also the program director for art, culture, media and entertainment at the American Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom and also manages Smuug, a small business where she designs and sells products based on her illustrations.

“Before I came to Saudi Arabia I had never traveled outside North America, so I was quite excited to see a new place. I cannot say that I ever experienced culture shock, but I was in awe of how different the country was from my own. It is really beautiful how big the world is, and how different (and the same) we all are,” she said.
“Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing. I really think that humanity cannot prosper without change, growth and evolution.
“This is the natural way of life. As someone who works in the creative industry, it has been such a pleasure to watch the blossoming of talent,” said Janow.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi woman racer sets sights on British F3 Championship

25/02/21

Reema Juffali confirmed she will join Douglas Motorsport as the team returns for a sixth consecutive season in the BRDC British F3 Championship this year. (File/AFP)

Reema Juffali confirms move to Douglas Motorsport at Diriyah circuit ahead of Formula E season opener
RIYADH: Reema Juffali, Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver, has confirmed that she will join Douglas Motorsport as the team returns for a sixth consecutive season in the BRDC British F3 Championship this year.

“I’m looking forward to taking this next step of my career with Douglas Motorsport,” Juffali said in statement. “I felt right at home with the team during the test and really enjoyed driving the British F3 car. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel again.”

The move comes after a successful season for Juffali in the Formula 4 British championship, with the 29-year-old previously having taken part in the TRD 86 Cup and MRF Challenge.

The announcement was made while Juffali was at the Diriyah circuit in Riyadh ahead of the start of the 2020-21 Formula E season on Friday.

“It’s going to be a big step for me driving a faster car, a better car, so that’s really exciting,” she told Arab News. “In terms of the future, I’m open to any opportunity that comes my way. I definitely want to race at the top level of motorsport, whether its in a Le Mans race, Formula E — it’s all on the cards.

“In terms of opportunity and were I see myself, I try not to plan too far ahead. I take it one step at a time with everything that I do,” she added. “But if the chance presents itself and I can do a good job at it, I’ll definitely do it and I would love to represent my country and, hopefully, inspire others.”

The BRDC British F3 Championship is the highest category of single-seater racing in the UK, and Douglas Motorsports has been taking part in the series since 2016, with 14 wins and over 60 podiums to its name.

“We’re looking forward to having Reema Juffali race with us this season,” said Team Principal Wayne Douglas. “She showed fantastic progress across her two seasons in British F4 and impressed us with her speed during our first British F3 test together. We’re excited to see what she can achieve this season.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia opens military recruitment to women

Time: 21 February 2021

All applicants must have a clean record and be medically fit for service. (Supplied)

Defense Ministry adds extra criteria for female applicants; ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available

JEDDAH: Women can now join Saudi Arabia’s armed forces, following a ruling by the Saudi Ministry of Defense that opened the way for both genders to sign up through a unified admission portal starting Sunday.

Military ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.
All applicants must pass admission procedures according to specified conditions, have a clean record and be medically fit for service. But some additional criteria have been added for female applicants.
Saudi female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee. Female submissions must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.
The age range for first-time male applicants is between 17 and 40 while their minimum height is 160 cm. There were mixed reactions to the ministry’s new unified recruitment standards.

FASTFACTS
• Military ranks from soldier to sergeant will be available in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.• Saudi female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee.

• Female submissions must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.

Operating systems specialist, Halah Al-Ynabawi, said Arab countries allowing women in the military has been a controversial topic over the past 30 years.
“But today, with the vision of King Salman, he has played a big role with the inclusion of women in all fields — governmental and now military,” she told Arab News.
“In my personal opinion, it is very important for women to be in the military, where they can have an active role in our conservative society.” Rahma Al-Khayri, an information technology specialist, shared a different point of view.
“Throughout history, we have not heard of a woman who came to the field and fought,” she said. “We always hear about women healing people, or perhaps monitoring supplies in the administration and in the control units. The man is the one who fights in the field.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Attempt in Saudi Arabia to restore and reform Islamic law is welcome

17/02/21

There can be no doubt that these reforms signal a major theological shift, and if implemented successfully, will prove to be a watershed moment in the history of Sunni Islam.

The crown prince’s announcement is also a courageous attempt to break the state-ulema nexus that has been the cause of Muslim intellectual and economic backwardness for centuries.

It would appear from recent reports that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is making good on his 2017 promise that he would return the country to a moderate Islam and “eradicate promoters of extremist thoughts.” Last month, The Washington Post disclosed that the kingdom had started purging its textbooks of anti-Semitic and misogynistic content, and this month Reuters revealed that four new laws — the personal status law, the civil transactions law, the penal code of discretionary sanctions and the law of evidence — are being finalised with the ultimate aim of codifying the entire Muslim law in consonance with the principles of shariah and best international practices. Saudi women have welcomed the move, with lawyer Dimah Al-Sharif expressing the hope that it will empower both women and society in general.

There can be no doubt that these reforms signal a major theological shift, and if implemented successfully, will prove to be a watershed moment in the history of Sunni Islam. The crown prince’s announcement is also a courageous attempt to break the state-ulema nexus that has been the cause of Muslim intellectual and economic backwardness for centuries — a fact convincingly exposed by scholar Ahmet T Kuru in his new book Islam, Authoritarianism and Underdevelopment. It was this nexus that buttressed the post-Prophetic Muslim expansionism started by Muawiya in 661 CE with the launch of the Umayyad Caliphate. Questionable traditions (hadiths) were fabricated in the name of the Prophet to scripturally entrench the dynastic ambitions of the ruling family. These hadiths otherised rival tribes and communities, and marginalised women.

Quran’s original Arabic text is free of misogyny and does not encourage any kind of ethnically directed hostility. In fact, it speaks of salvific inclusivity and shows respect for non-Muslim places of worship (2:62, 5:69, 22:40), besides inviting “people of the book” (an inclusive term for followers of all religions) to coexist peacefully on the basis of commonalities in their value systems (3:64).

If Muslims find themselves estranged from this equalitarian message, it is thanks to the havoc wrought over the centuries by exegetical interpolations which relied on dubious hadiths to introduce sectarian ideas into Quranic translations. For instance, an eschatological hadith in the collection Sahih Muslim attributes an anti-Jewish comment to the Prophet. Yet another hadith in Sahih Bukhari states that the Prophet considered women to be intellectually deficient because “the evidence of two women is equal to the witness of one man.”

The anti-Jewish statements attributed to the Prophet go against the verses mentioned above, and the misogynist hadith is based on a complete misunderstanding of the verse 2:282 which instructed Muslims of that period to have their legal agreements witnessed by two men, and “if two men are not available, then a man and two women witnesses of your choice so that if one of them errs (an tazilla), the other can remind her (fatu zakkira).”

A careful reading of this verse would show that there is nothing in it that alludes to the inferiority or the intellectual inadequacy of women. Thanks to centuries of suppression, women of that period were not conversant with the intricacies of business transactions. Islam sought to change this. Men were asked to accord legal status to women by recognising their right to give evidence which was so far denied to them.

The prescription that there may be two female witnesses in case a male witness is not available, was, therefore, a convenience given to women. The verse makes it clear that the second woman will come into play only if the first one “errs” and if she does not, then the transaction will be concluded with a male and a female witness.

This is proved by the fact that in three other contexts (4:15, 24:4, & 65:2), the Quran speaks of witnesses in gender-neutral terms. Put differently, the evidentiary stipulation mentioned in 2:282 was specific to those times, and only for legal or financial transactions. It cannot be generalised and made applicable in perpetuity to lower the intellectual or legal status of women.

One hopes that the historic attempt by Saudi Arabia to theologically defenestrate anti-Semitic and misogynist content, and codify the Muslim law in line with the egalitarian principles of the Quran will go a long way in restoring the Prophetic originality of Islam and influence Muslim societies across the world to do the same.

This article first appeared in the print edition on February 17, 2021 under the title ‘A more equal faith’. The writer is an independent researcher and the secretary-general of the Islamic Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought

This article was first published in Indian Express

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Saudi legal reforms ‘to speed access to justice’

Time: 08 February 2021

  • Crown Prince says previous discrepancies in court rulings hurt many — especially women
  • Sweeping reforms will bring clarity and consistency to legal process

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is to implement sweeping reforms to the legal system to eliminate inconsistency, speed up verdicts and make the Kingdom’s judicial institutions more efficient.

At the heart of the reforms are four new draft laws — a Personal Status Law, a Civil Transactions Law, a Penal Code for Discretionary Sanctions, and a Law of Evidence.

The new laws would eliminate discrepancies and ensure consistency in court rulings, improve the reliability of oversight mechanisms, and clarify accountability, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.

The crown prince said discrepancies in court rulings had led to a lack of clarity, which had hurt many people, mostly women. “The absence of applicable legislation has led to discrepancies in decisions and a lack of clarity in the principles governing facts and practices,” he said.

“That resulted in prolonged litigation not based on legal texts. In addition, the absence of a clear legal framework for private and business sectors has led to ambiguity with respect to obligations.

“This was painful for many individuals and families, especially women. It also permitted some people to evade their responsibilities. This will not take place again.”

A previous draft Code of Judicial Decisions was insufficient to meet society’s needs and expectations, the crown prince said. The new draft laws will be submitted to the Council of Ministers for review before being sent to the Shoura Council, and are expected to be finalized this year.

The crown prince said the Kingdom had taken major steps in recent years to develop its legislative environment.  The aim was to preserve rights, entrench the principles of justice and transparency, protect human rights and achieve sustainable development.

The new laws adopt international judicial practices and standards in a manner that does not contradict Sharia principles, the crown prince said.

Saudi Justice Minister Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani, president of the Supreme Judicial Council, said the new penal code would enhance the application of justice in criminal cases.

It was based on strong legal principles and modern legal practice, he said, classifying crimes into different categories according to their nature, magnitude and consequences, and the penalties applicable in each case.

Saudi lawyer Dimah Al-Sharif told Arab News the reforms would “contribute to an unprecedented standardization of the system of rulings,” particularly in relation to family law. “We will bid farewell to the wide and indefinite scope of discretion that a judge enjoys,” she said.

At the moment, she said, there were often wide discrepancies in judicial rulings on different cases in which the facts and circumstances were essentially the same. The reforms, she said, “will play a huge role in empowering not only women, but the whole of society.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Dr. Iman Al-Mansour, assistant professor at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Dammam

24/01/21

Dr. Iman Al-Mansour is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), in Dammam.

Al-Mansour led many research projects from conception to execution at the department of epidemic diseases research at IAU and supervised graduate students and junior scientists.

She acted as the principal investigator on a number of key research projects related to the development of nucleic acid-based vaccines, the establishment of several virus bioinformatics databases and analysis resources, and virus immune monitoring studies.

Al-Mansour believes that investment in vaccine research is an important step to combat epidemics and pandemics caused by new viruses. This is followed by the localization of the manufacturing of vaccines and biological medicines.

She served as a Ph.D. researcher at the nucleic acid vaccine (NAV) lab at the University of Massachusetts, US, where she conducted rigorous research in the design, generation, and testing of DNA vaccines expressing HA’s of influenza (H1N1) strains.

Al-Mansour’s research is focused on cutting-edge technology to develop prophylactic vaccines against emerging and re-emerging viruses.

She earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and biotechnology from the University of Massachusetts, US, and a master’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from the University of Rhode Island, US.

Al-Mansour received her bachelor’s in medical laboratory technology from IAU.

She is also an academic member at the European Virus Bioinformatics Center (EVBC), Germany, and a member at the International Society for Global health (ISoGH), in the UK.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia to appoint women as court judges ‘very soon’

17/01/21

A “Saudi woman assuming a position of judge is very soon. There are initiatives on several levels.” (File/AP)

Al-Zahid reiterated the Kingdom’s eagerness to pursue women empowerment
She pointed out international markers that have proven Saudi Arabia’s progress on women’s rights
DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will “soon” be appointing women as court judges, an official said, in continued social reforms over the past years.
Hind al-Zahid, undersecretary for women’s empowerment at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, said a “Saudi woman assuming a position of judge is very soon. There are initiatives on several levels.”
In an interview with Al-Arabiya, Al-Zahid reiterated the Kingdom’s eagerness to pursue women empowerment, particularly in allowing women to participate in diverse fields.
She pointed out international markers that have proven Saudi Arabia’s progress on women’s rights, particularly noting Saudi women’s participation in the Kingdom’s labor market has exceeded expectations.
Their participation rate today has reached 31 percent, and this is a very big progress. As for the civil service sectors, the Saudi women’s participation rate has increased from 39 percent to 41 percent, and most of them are in the education and health sectors in addition to other sectors,” al-Zahid said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi female participation in science rising

17/01/21

Asrar Damdam, founder/CEO of UVERA and PhD. student at KAUST studying electrical and computer engineering. (Supplied)

According to a 2020 study published on statista.com about the gender distribution of 2018 STEM graduates in Saudi Arabia, Communications and IT is the most popular major among female graduates

JEDDAH: In the past five years, Saudi women have taken great strides in scientific fields and, with the support of the government, the best seems yet to come.
Saudi women are now serving as leaders in their research fields, and many have gone on to serve as deans, directors of research centers and more.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya, Hind Al-Zahid, undersecretary for women’s empowerment at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, said that “the percentage of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is higher than men” in the Kingdom.
According to a 2020 study published on statista.com about the gender distribution of 2018 STEM graduates in Saudi Arabia, Communications and IT is the most popular major among female graduates.
Asrar Damdam, founder and CEO of UVERA, is one of the many Saudi women who are not only pursuing degrees in STEM but also working for the empowerment of women by providing them with job opportunities.
She told Arab News that she followed her passion and obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering followed by a master’s degree. “Now I am a Ph.D. student at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. It wasn’t an easy start but as soon as I entered the job market five years ago, many companies were not only welcoming to women but many were searching for them to join. Times have changed and you now see more women exploring their options in various fields of science.”

Technology. It wasn’t an easy start but as soon as I entered the job market five years ago, many companies were not only welcoming to women but many were searching for them to join.

Asrar Damdam, Founder and CEO of UVERA

With her company based in Silicon Valley, she opened a syndicate in the Kingdom. Damdam has found that her recent female recruits are passionate about their work and are going through the learning curves required to excel in their respective fields.
“Their work ethics are exceptional and their passion is felt as they continue to provide insight and finding innovative ways to reach the company’s goals,” she said. “It’s because of their passion that they are able to contribute and it wouldn’t have been achievable without the programs that provided me and the many women in the fields of STEM with these opportunities.”
This was reiterated by Al-Zahid, who spoke of Saudi Arabia’s eagerness to pursue empowerment for women and to provide them with adequate positions fit for their fields of expertise.
“The numbers tell the story,” she said, adding that international markers have shown the Kingdom’s pursuit in empowering women in the labor market is exceeding expectations.

This article was first published in Arab News

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