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Techy women in the Middle East

(5 Posts)
grimbletart Sun 09-Feb-14 12:33:07

www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26083215

I've got a mildly mixed response to this, mainly good but also hmmm?

1 - Great to see Middle Eastern women succeeding career-wise and technology wise;
2 - Over a third (it says) of people in tech/engineering are women, thus laying to rest two fairly prevalent western myths that a) women are not interested in science and b) it is not as natural for them as it is for men;
3 - It is a way to independence and equality for them.

However, one of the reasons stated for the interest in tech careers is its flexibility (good) but, and here is the bit I have a problem with, it fits in with the tradition of women being in the home. Extrapolating from that it could be a bit of a trap i.e. for those from families with traditional attitudes it is a way to keep women pegged into to the four-walls culture. Then again, on the plus side though, highly educated scientifically and technically literate women will surely not put up with that sort of restriction for long.

What does everyone think?

FairPhyllis Sun 09-Feb-14 15:41:48

It's good to see women have access to this sort of education in large numbers and be able to run their own businesses.

But - yes, it looks as though the growth is because they are choosing this as a way to have a career while obeying traditional restrictions on working outside the home. These women are mostly entrepreneurs. It doesn't look as though they are breaking into actual employment in tech companies in the ME, so they will lose all the benefits and opportunities that you get from working for a big company - access to equipment, promotion opportunities, training etc.

I also didn't get the impression that the businesses they are running are predominantly tech start-ups - they seem to be basically just online versions of businesses that could exist outside the internet. So they are trained in some tech, and using it to run the business, but they don't actually work in tech, doing development etc.

Secondly I imagine you need some sort of start up capital for most of these businesses, so I'm guessing it's mostly women from fairly affluent backgrounds who are doing it. Plus the ME is not homogeneous - I suspect it would be a lot harder to do this in some countries than others.

But otoh you have to start somewhere.

NiceTabard Sun 09-Feb-14 21:16:43

Hmm interesting.

Really good obviously, and one in the eye for people who say that lack of women in science etc in the UK is because they are fundamentally no good at it!

One question I would have. Knowing little about Dubai. Are these women from a certain social level / background. What do their husbands do / are they likely to do?

If (and this is a guess) these are women from wealthier backgrounds, then potentially their husbands will be earning megabucks doing oil and whatever it is they do in Dubai with all the £££ and the big skyscrapers.

In UK IT is a well paid career and so lots of men do it. Over there, maybe there are different well paid careers for men (of a certain type ie educated etc) and so there is room for women.

Just thinking out loud really smile happy for anyone who knows more about the area / economics / social setup to explain if my thoughts are nonsense!

crescentmoon Mon 10-Feb-14 12:20:43

thanks for that video grimble.

this UAE woman was recently invited to the White House by the President and she's a big role model to other female tech entrepeuners in the region:

www.policymic.com/articles/80633/this-niqab-wearing-tech-whiz-is-smashing-the-glass-ceiling-in-the-middle-east

its so interesting from earlier comments the different perceptions of an IT career in different countries.

EBearhug Tue 11-Feb-14 00:58:02

There are quite a lot of stats that show that the lack of women in tech is a western problem (USA, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France and other northern European countries). In a lot of African and Asian countries, IT is often seen as a job with lots of opportunities - there are other factors, too, like it's seen as a clean job, so has higher status than agriculture or cleaning, for example.

It's not all good - Iran banned women from studying IT at university in 2012 (plus engineering and a load of other subjects.)

I've got a ton of links somewhere, but it's late, so I'm sorry, but I'm not looking them up right now.

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