JEDDAH: The inclusion of women in all sectors of the workforce including sensitive and important fields such as cybersecurity is an important part of the Kingdom’s mission to create a vibrant and diverse society.
Saudi Arabia has seen an increase in the participation of women in cybersecurity. It was awarded the 2020 EQUALS in Tech Award in the Leadership in Technology Category for the progress made by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology through the sector’s “women’s empowerment program.”
Muhammad Khurram Khan, professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University and founder and CEO of the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research in Washington, DC, said it was a great honor for the Kingdom to secure such an award.
“This prestigious award is the manifestation of commendable and considerable work by the Saudi government to close the gender gap in the technology sector,” he told Arab News.
He highlighted the Kingdom’s significant strides in empowering women in STEM education, providing equal opportunities and building a gender-diverse workforce, the cornerstone of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.
“The Kingdom is undergoing digital transformation at a rapid speed, which may create over 1 million jobs during the next few years and women could take benefit of this opportunity,” he said.
Saudi women represent more than 50 percent of university graduates. They are a great national asset with the potential to play an instrumental role in the socio-economic development of the Kingdom so investing in their capabilities through training, entrepreneurship and skills development programs was key, he said.
He said that female participation in the tech sector was imperative to motivate and enable women to launch startups so that they could contribute to the national innovation ecosystem.
Awards for the event, part of the 2020 Global Internet Governance Forum, were announced virtually on Friday at the UN headquarters. It was attended by the ministry’s director of women’s empowerment, Wadha bint Zarah.
This achievement reflects the keenness of the Kingdom to promote the role of women in all fields and encourage young women to advance development within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.
It also underlines the ministry’s efforts to empower women, while at the same time enhancing their participation in the labor market and in the growth of the digital economy.
“The program seeks to build a digital system that embraces, develops and attracts the minds and skills that support the Kingdom’s digital transformation and create additional quality job opportunities for women. This would, in its turn, boost the national productivity, develop the local technical content and contribute to the establishment of a globally competitive technology sector that achieves economic sustainability,” Zarah said.