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Women Engineers Forum at College of Engineering, National University of Science & Technology

An august gathering of influential women graced the morning on 24th April, 2019 at the College of Engineering marking the 4th Women Engineers Forum under the patronage of Dr Sharifa Khalfan Al Yahyai. The event was made extra special with an impressive speaker lineup from academia and industry. Dr Salma Mohammad Al Kindy Dean – College of Science, SQU, Noura Younis Al Balushi Process Engineer- Halliburto, Ms Nadhira Al Hinai , Women Engineers Council,  Shamsa Al Salmani – PDO, Ms  Ilham Al Maskary – Educator, Author and Field Engineer and Engineer  and Waad Al Asmi – Field Engineer, Schlumberger. The event was attended by student and staff representatives from Higher education institutions.

Dr Salim Khamis Ali Al Araimi, The Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, National University of Science & Technology in his welcome address thanked the guests for sparing their valuable time to come and provide the support and encouragement to women engineering students to manage work-life balance and pursue engineering career.

Dr Sharifa Al Yahyai talked about His Majesty's efforts in assuring women's contributions in the nation building process. She explained that gender roles for both women and men should not be confined to our modern society. A man has just as many rights as a woman to be a homemaker, and a woman has every right to be the breadwinner. She asked the male students to help their sisters, mothers, and wives at home; as well as motivated men to trust females and give them bigger responsibilities.

Dr Salma Al Kindy provided interesting statistics that show while women in STEM are increasing year after year but the statistics in engineering and as practicing engineers continues to be low. She stressed on the leaking pipeline where many women give up on career aspirations due to societal, family priorities as compared to men. She urged male students present to support their sisters, wife, daughters and friends to pursue their career and share responsibilities of family and home.

The panel discussion took on the need for creating and providing women engineering students with the ecosystem for encouraging, equipping and empowering Women Engineers’ Career Development. Engineer Shamsa Al Salmani emphasized that the blocks are put by women themselves. There are opportunities waiting to be taken and the next ten years look very promising for women engineers. Engineer Nadhira Al Hinai, Director – OHSE at Renaissance SAOG and Chair of Women Engineers Council at Oman Society of Engineers encouraged women engineers to participate in the nation building process. Ms Noura Al Balushi, Process Engineeer at Haliburton shared her journey and experiences of working as a women engineer in industry. The panel expressed the need for favourable policies that get women engineers their share of jobs in Industries and the need to raise women representation in engineering field and management so that their voices are heard. The panel discussion as moderated by Ms Juhaina Al Aisari, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Educational & Professional Development, College of Engineering National University.

Ms Ilham Al Maskary, Educator, Author and Engineer, shared her journey from being an engineer to an author and educator. For her, engineering background help her to be more creative in her book production and becoming a educator. Ms Waad Al Asmi – Field Engineer, Schlumberger shared here experience of working shoulder to shoulder with her male colleagues and what it takes to prove oneself in the industry. Grit, determination, effective communication skills, commitment and being respectful towards coworkers regardless of gender has got her to where she is today. She highlighted that her growing up years in the US and then in Bahrain helped her become global and open-minded and gave her the confidence to pursue a career in engineering.

The Women Engineers Forum was launched in March 2017 at the College of Engineering, National University of Science and Technology with the objective to provide a platform for women engineering graduates at College of Engineering , create awareness about the role of women in taking up career and their contribution to the economy, inspire women engineering students through successful Omani Role models from  Industries and organisations as Guest Speakers, equip women engineers with skills and competencies needed to succeed in men dominant industries, empower them through workshops and local and international networking and  support women engineering students with the ecosystem to balance their professional career and home. We have 52% women engineering students, an ideal hub to prepare our women engineer workforce to contribute in the nation building process. Studies have shown that not all women graduates go back to work.

This forum has received tremendous support from the Dr Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi, Dean – College of Engineering who believes that women are capable of achieving great heights provided they are encouraged and supported by the system and those around them.

Women Engineers Forum is orgnaised by the Department of Educational & Professional Development at the College of Engineering, NUST annually as a part of its Community Engagement and CSR Activity.


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