Oil and gas sector is key to increasing number of women in workforce: Report

A view shows Saudi Aramco's khurais mega project in Saudi Arabia, in this February 5, 2013 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Oil and gas sector is key to increasing number of women in workforce: Report

RIYADH: Oil and gas is the sector that could lead the change to increasing female participation in the workforce, said the author of a new report launched on Saturday night.
The Canadian Embassy hosted the launch of the report, “Energy: Driving force behind increasing female participation in the Gulf?”
The report is the result of collaboration between the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets and the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. The author, Bina Hussein, was at the launch to discuss the report.
“The embassy is proud to launch the report in the Kingdom since promoting women’s economic empowerment and participation is one of Canada’s top priorities,” Aliya Mawani, head of the political and economic section, told Arab News. The report was launched earlier in Abu Dhabi.
The report also covers Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait. Asked why Oman and Bahrain are not included, Hussein said countries were chosen on the basis of proven oil reserves, being major exporters, and stated intentions to implement reforms that could lead to major societal change.
Khlood A. Aldukheil, a well-known figure in the financial community, served as the moderator. She is the managing director of the Aldukheil Financial Group and the first Saudi woman to attain a CFA designation.
Talking about her report, Hussein said: “Energy is such an integral part of these Gulf economies that it has become part of the diversification process — and if there is one sector that could lead the change to increase female participation in the workforce, the oil and gas sector is it,” she said.
She said with reforms plans, the governments of the selected GCC countries are attempting to bring about similar changes in their economies, without necessarily decreasing the government’s influence or stake in the economies, and keeping the culture and traditions intact.
The report notes the progress in the Kingdom in expanding women’s rights in recent years and that statistically, women tend to be better educated than men.
During the question-and-answer session, everyone agreed the focus should not be just on getting more women into the energy sector, but into positions of leadership and influence in that sector.
Ata Subaity, a Shoura Council member, asked Hussein why she chose the subject when it is known that not many women, if any, are involved in the energy sector.
Hussein, also the associate director with the Global Energy Center, said it was because it is the backbone of the Saudi economy.
Princess Madawi bint Fahad Alfarhan Al-Saud, honorary president of Nafeh Charitable Society, said: “We have to bear in mind that many Saudi women have worked in the engineering sector for several years and some of them worked in jobs not available to men, such as in trams at the Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University.”
She added the “Vision 2030 plan has made the legal systems safer for Saudi women to work in the energy sector.”
Nujood K. Almulla, a 24-year-old mechanical engineer, said: “The report on the role of women in the energy sector is both critical and timely, given the present circumstances in the Kingdom, including the projects that it has embarked upon.”
She said she feels self-fulfillment in working as energy systems analyst at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, “given the fact that the energy sector is the backbone of the economy.”


Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

Updated 59 min 30 sec ago
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Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

  • Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week
  • The Grazia Middle East Style Awards will this year take place in Riyadh

RIYADH: Emerging Saudi fashion designers will get a chance to showcase their work alongside internationally renowned peers — including Yahya Couture, Yuliya Yanina and Lama Askari — during the second edition of Saudi Fashion Week, which runs from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The dates were revealed by the event’s founder, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, who made a statement with her choice of outfit for the official announcement: a black abaya with a traditional Saudi hand embroidered, red design.

The princess, who is the founder of Saudi fashion community and Saudi Fashion Week in Saudi Arabia, said she always dreamed of being part of the fashion industry and is working hard to help the dreams of others come true as well, by supporting local designers,providing them with a platform on which to showcase their creativity, and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.

“This fashion week is sponsored by the GCA and we want to highlight our Saudi culture,” she said when asked how the second edition will differ from the inaugural event in April 2018. “Every designer is unique and designs in a different way. Our culture is not only about wearing an abaya; it’s what makes you comfortable as a person.

“We have more local names coming out and a program to support emerging designers. This is a platform with which we support Saudi designers, in their country, which they represent.”

However, it also embraces the wider international fashion industry, as well.

“it’s an exchange of cultures. It’s a platform for Saudi and other countries,” said Princess Noura. “When we speak about fashion, it’s a mirror that reflects our culture and modernity.”

To help launch the careers of Saudis who are just starting out in the fashion industry, a “Top emerging Saudi designers” program has been developed, and the country’s fashion community has chosen six designers to participate, some of whom are recentcollege graduates. It will offer them support and give them real-world experience of the fashion industry.

Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week, with three runway shows each day, beginning at 8pm. In addition, a fashion festival featuring pop-up stores will run throughout the event. The Grazia Middle East Style Awards, which is usually held in Dubai, will this year take place in Riyadh on the final day of Saudi Fashion Week.

“I want every designer in Saudi Arabia to not be afraid and to come out and show what they are made of. Be Brave,” added Princess Noura.