KAUST launches women’s empowerment awareness campaign

THUWAL — King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) on Wednesday launched a nationwide #HereToLead awareness campaign to recognize the achievements and results of women at KAUST, promote gender equality and enhance advancement and empowerment women in Saudi Arabia.

As part of the campaign, a survey was conducted at KAUST among Saudi women over a two-week period, including students and staff.

Findings indicate that Saudi women at KAUST view the university as fostering a community committed to promoting equal opportunities and pioneering initiatives to encourage professional development and women’s empowerment.

The campaign is set to run throughout the year to showcase the successes of Saudi women at KAUST, highlighting their contributions to Saudi society and the economy.

Dr. Najah Ashry, Vice President of KAUST Strategic National Advancement, said: “Through the #HereToLead campaign, we want to recognize the valuable role and contribution that Saudi women make to our society and further encourage them to find their passion. and continue to look for a job. a place that meets their professional and personal aspirations.

“We have seen tremendous interest from women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Our strong belief is that through the #HereToLead platform, we will be able to give them a voice to empower and encourage more women to embark on this career path.

As Professor Tony Chan, President of KAUST points out: “KAUST is fully aligned with the Vision 2030, in particular the Kingdom’s goal to increase the participation of women in the labor market.

“We are proud to say that 40% of our students are women, and we remain committed to creating countless opportunities for them as they prepare to embark on their professional journey.

“As a leading educational institute, we also have a responsibility to recognize and appreciate the achievements of our female staff as well as women across Saudi Arabia for the contributions they continue to make. to the society.

“We look forward to continuing our efforts to date to recognize and empower women at KAUST and across the Kingdom through special initiatives that we plan to announce in the future.”

As the first campus university offering a Ph.D. engineering graduates for women in the Kingdom and enabling gender mainstreaming since its opening in 2009, KAUST is considered a beacon of knowledge where women have the revolutionary opportunity to pursue higher education and be equipped with skills and practical experience.

Saudi women interviewed agree that KAUST helps women achieve their goals, build their confidence and provide them with a path to independence. “KAUST is an institutional role model in encouraging every woman to pursue all opportunities, even in male-dominated fields,” said one survey respondent.

All interviewees consider that KAUST fosters a non-discriminatory environment, promoting a culture of gender equality where women feel they can reach their full potential.

Describing how the University provides much-needed space for women to excel in STEM fields, one survey respondent commented, “KAUST has given me the opportunity to grow in a field I am immensely passionate about. IT is a male dominated field, but I have the support, resources and community of KAUST to help me grow in this field as a Saudi woman and women after me.

Women interviewed at KAUST agree that the institution undertakes diverse initiatives to provide women with opportunities and everything needed to succeed in their careers.

“KAUST supports the advancement of women by running programs such as the KAUST Gifted Student Program targeting young Saudi women and other initiatives that celebrate women’s talents. Hire women in leadership and faculty positions at KAUST [also] inspire this generation,” said one respondent.

In the Middle East region, women make up almost half of the total number of STEM students. Supporting and recognizing the need for the advancement of women is fundamental to helping meet critical needs in STEM fields, given the diversification and expansion of Saudi Arabia’s economy.

KAUST has implemented a wide range of initiatives to boost women’s participation in STEM and in the Saudi workforce. The University has invested in supporting women interested in STEM by providing a high-quality learning environment as well as a collaborative and diverse student community.

KAUST is also one of the first institutes in Saudi Arabia to welcome women into leadership positions. The #HereToLead campaign will provide a platform for all Saudi women in KAUST to share their experiences and promote awareness of the professional opportunities available to women pursuing their careers in Saudi Arabia.

As a leader in science and technology, KAUST is committed to creating opportunities for women in STEM. To this end, a series of programs have been launched, including the Early Career Accelerator Program, the first program for women in cybersecurity in Saudi Arabia; and the Women to Impact initiative to support women in their studies as well as in their professions. —SG

Mara R. Wilmoth