Image of women engineers in the workplace, challenges and obstacles – interview with Hana Al-Sayed

Special Image of women engineers in the workplace, challenges and obstacles – interview with Hana Al-Sayed
Updated 10 April 2018

Image of women engineers in the workplace, challenges and obstacles – interview with Hana Al-Sayed

Image of women engineers in the workplace, challenges and obstacles – interview with Hana Al-Sayed
  • Hana Al-Syead says the number of women in engineering and computer science occupations has "stagnated"
  • "Women are being held back from career progression within the engineering professions" Syead says

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY, Saudi Arabia: Over time, more women have entered science, technology, engineering and mathematic-based occupations (otherwise known as STEM). But women are still being projected as being less capable at in STEM industry employment than their male counterparts, according to Hana Al-Syead founder and CEO of Wujud. 
 
According Sayed, who has over 25 years of combined experience in system’s engineering said the percentage of women in engineering and computer science occupations had stagnated.
 
“It is not enough to just push and motivate women to be educated in sciences and in computer science in particular if the industry is not conducive to women,” Al-Sayed told Arab News on the sidelines of the Arab Women Forum at King Abdullah Economic City, near Jeddah. 
 
“Organizations think just because they have employed women, that they have instilled and institutionalized the gender equality in their organizations,” Sayed said.  “It is not true, reality is completely different to that.” She added. 
 
Sayed strongly opposes the view that engineering jobs, and especially computer sciences, are more suitable for men than women, as historically these jobs have been carried out by women.
 
Speaking of challenges women faced in the work place in the STEM industries, Sayed said that new female recruits in the field would enter at the same level as men, but would not be given the same opportunities, or be given the more interesting assignments – adding that women would still find much of their work to be deskbound.
 
She said she believes that the main problem was that some organizations, entities, and individuals get to judge what is a proper job for a woman and what is not.
 
“My question is did you ask her?” Sayed said, adding: “If it was something she wants to do or not, instead of deciding on her behalf.” 
 
“I strongly believe education is key to overcome challenges,” she said. Being well educated, knowing what to expect, and what to aim for are the main factors that will help a woman to be determined and impose herself in the workplace.