Last September, eight Emirati students from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) became the first women to undertake engineering studies in Al Gharbia region. Sponsored by Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO), the students received monthly salaries of Dh6,500, which was increased based on their grades.
"This is a perfect example of how far women can advance in industries that are perceived as male-orientated with the right support, encouragement and awareness", commented The National in its today's editorial.
Careers in engineering, for example, are often avoided by women because they are thought to involve considerable amount of time in the desert or on construction sites, the paper added.
Noor Ghazal, the Masdar Institute graduate who conducted the study, believes that many women hoping for STE (science, technology and engineering) careers must get vital support from their families, who should also provide them with accurate pictures of workplace environments. The importance of students' contributions to society should also be acknowledged.
"Many of those going into STE believed that they were helping the UAE, realising Sheikh Zayed's vision," Ghazal said. "This is one way of engaging the women and encouraging them to get involved." "Statistics have consistently shown that more Emirati women than men enter higher education. They already have significant involvement in fields such as clean energy, medicine and health care. But there is room for a greater role," the paper concluded.