x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The female factor

The Emirates once relied heavily on its male workforce for growth. Going forward, a booming economy ¿ where science and technology are the drivers ¿ will take a more balanced contribution.

Women in science and technology are key to the country's development. Sadly, not enough women are making the leap from education to jobs in these critical fields.

While many women in public universities concentrate in the hard sciences, technology and engineering, their focus is turning elsewhere once they graduate, according to a recent study by the Masdar Institute. An aversion to joining a "boy's club", better salaries in the public sector, and the choice to marry instead of work account for women's post-graduation attrition.

There are ways of encouraging women into science-based careers, however. One route, as we report today, is by creating supportive networks that can provide mentors for new graduates. Dr Rafia Ghubash, who heads the Arab Network for Women in Science and Technology, is doing just that. Worried that women are forgetting the important role they've played in history, she's busy piecing together that narrative through a women's museum and encyclopaedia.

Empowering young women to achieve their highest potential can change the life of not just one woman, but the life of the nation. The Emirates once relied heavily on its male workforce for growth. Going forward, a booming economy - where science and technology are the drivers - will take a more balanced contribution.