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Saudi Arabia’s Silicon Valley is an all-women business park

A new all-women business park in Saudi Arabia could generate 21,000 jobs for women in science and engineering.

A new business park in Saudi Arabia could generate 21,000 jobs for women in science and engineering.

The business park, inaugurated by Saudi Aramco, will be the kingdom’s first all-women hub of its kind.

The project was announced last year, and aims to promote jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These sectors are notoriously male-dominated around the world, owing to fewer numbers of women taking these subjects up in university.

Dr. Huda Al-Ameel, Rector of Princess Nourah University, says this initiative will empower women in the region to be employable in sectors that need their expertise the most.  “The goal of the Women’s Business Park is to create 21,000 jobs by 2025 and give women a critical role to play in a way that serves the objectives of the nation and to build a knowledge economy with societal and international partnerships,” she says.

“We also aim to provide a start-up eco-system to upcoming entrepreneurial ventures.”

The Women’s Business Park is a result of a joint venture between Princess Nourah University (PNU), the largest women’s university in the world, and Wipro Arabia, a subsidiary of Indian IT firm, Wipro.

When completed, the park will be the region’s largest hub for engineering drafting services, business process services and IT for telecoms, healthcare, manufacturing and oil and gas sectors

The idea came about in September 2014, when Saudi Aramco signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PNU. Wipro joined the partnership to lend its experience in managing talent and providing IT services to a multi-industry customer base.

The park will be developed in the iconic PNU premises and will include entrepreneur incubators, daycare centers and a coordination center for government transactions.

Women represent about 60% of all university graduates in Saudi Arabia. However, women only represent less than 15% of the country’s workforce, adds Dr Al Ameel. “The Women’s Business Park is poised to be a milestone initiative.”

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