Riyadh Saudi Arabia King Fahd National Library
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Abu Dhabi: Saudi Arabia will soon fill the oil and gas industry’s talent gap with King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals opening admission for female students for the first time in the Kingdom’s history, local media reported.

The move comes at a time when the industry’s appeal worldwide is declining among younger people. A decade ago, oil and gas was the 14th most attractive employer among engineering and IT students; now it is 35th. Given the need for talent, it is critical for the oil and gas industry to deepen and diversify its pool. One way to do that is to bring in and retain more talented women.

Globally, there is a long way to go. Currently women comprise only 15 per cent of the oil and gas workforce.

The giant leaps that Saudi Arabia has made in implementing historic reforms have put the Kingdom on top of the list of 190 countries that are most advanced and reformed in the areas of empowering women and strengthening their role in building society.

Women’s empowerment, economic advancement, and gender equality are at the forefront of the country’s reforms.

Despite the great challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effects on all aspects of life, the Kingdom continued to move toward its goals and ambitions pertaining to the economic empowerment of women.

Saudi Arabia has worked on adopting a package of legislative reforms and introducing regulations and policies toward the advancement and empowerment of Saudi women, specifically in the areas of their mobility, workplace, entrepreneurship, and pensions.

The country has taken strict decisions towards criminalising sexual harassment at workplace in the public and private sectors.

The nation also encouraged women to compete in the entrepreneurial sectors by introducing legal amendments aimed at protecting women from discrimination in the work sectors, including a ban on gender discrimination from accessing financial services, and sacking of women during their pregnancy and maternity leave.

Equality in the retirement age is one of the most important reforms, which contributed to extending the period of their effective contribution to the advancement of the national economy.