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Tuesday, Jun 28, 2022

KAUST launches women’s empowerment awareness campaign

KAUST launches women’s empowerment awareness campaign

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) launched on Wednesday a nationwide awareness campaign #HereToLead to recognize the achievements and results of women at KAUST, promoting gender equality and reinforcing women’s advancement and empowerment in Saudi Arabia.
As part of the campaign, a survey was conducted at KAUST among Saudi women over the span of two weeks, including students and staff.

The results indicate that Saudi women at KAUST consider that the university fosters a community committed to pushing for equal opportunities and pioneering initiatives to encourage women’s professional development and empowerment.

The campaign is expected to run throughout the entire year to showcase the success stories of the Saudi women at KAUST, highlighting their contributions to Saudi society and the economy.

Dr. Najah Ashry, vice president of KAUST Strategic National Advancement, commented: “Through the #HereToLead campaign we want to recognize the valuable role and contribution Saudi women bring to our society and further encourage them to find their passion and continue to search for a place that meets their aspirations in work and life.

“We have seen tremendous interest from women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Our firm 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 professional journey.”

As Professor Tony Chan, President of KAUST, highlights: “KAUST is fully aligned with Vision 2030, specifically with the Kingdom’s objective of increasing the participation of women in the workforce.

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

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

“We look forward to building on 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 Ph.D. degrees in engineering for women in the Kingdom and allowing gender integration since its opening in 2009, KAUST is considered a beacon of knowledge where women have the groundbreaking opportunity to pursue their graduate degrees and be equipped with practical skills and experiences.

Surveyed Saudi women agree that KAUST supports women to achieve their goals, build up their confidence and offer a path to independence. “KAUST is an institutional role model in encouraging every woman to seek all opportunities even in male-dominated fields,” a survey respondent stated.

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

Describing how the University offers a much-needed space for women to excel in STEM fields, a survey responder commented: “KAUST provided me with the opportunity to grow in a field that I am extremely passionate about. Computer Science is a field dominated by men, but I have KAUST’s support, resources, and community to help build me up in this field as a Saudi woman and women after me.”

Surveyed women at KAUST agree that the institution undertakes diversified initiatives to equip women with opportunities and all the required to succeed in their careers.

“KAUST is supporting women’s advancement by running programs such as the KAUST Gifted Students Program targeting young Saudi women and other initiatives that celebrate women’s talents. Hiring women in leadership and faculty positions within KAUST [also] inspire this generation,” a respondent stated.

In the Middle East region, women account for nearly half of the total STEM students. Supporting and recognizing the need for women's advancement is fundamental to help fill the critical needs in STEM fields, given Saudi Arabia’s diversification and expansion of economy.

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

KAUST is also one of the first Saudi institutes with women rising to executive leadership positions. The #HereToLead campaign will provide a platform for all Saudi women at 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 that 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 academics as well as professions.

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