ALHOSN University, a leading Abu Dhabi-based institution dedicated to high-quality, value-based education, has today (Tuesday, June 16, 2009) established the Society of Women in Engineering (SOWIE), following the signing of bylaws of the organization during a special ceremony. SOWIE, founded by active and highly skilled women engineers from ALHOSN University and other institutions, has been established in line with the university's commitment to enhance the role of women in all engineering and allied fields.
SOWIE's membership includes women engineers, scientists and technologists in the UAE and the rest of the region, who will collaborate and share expertise in organizing various programs that empower women to prosper and lead in their fields. The founding officers of the SOWIE include H.E. Fatima Obaid Al Jaber, President; Dr. Reem Sabouni, Vice President; and members Dr. Naima Benkari, Dr. Noha Hassan, Dr. Samia Loucif, Eng. Muna Ali Al Dhaheri, Arch. Rania Akkad, and Eng. Alia Awni Mohammad.
Dr. Reem Sabouni, Assistant Professor, ALHOSN University, said, "There has been an excellent response to this groundbreaking initiative and we believe that with the dynamism and dedication of its founding members, the Society of Women in Engineering will play an important role in fully harnessing the potential of women to be leaders, innovators and role models of the society. Moreover, this group will greatly help in creating a more harmonious and productive collaboration among different women organisations in the society, enabling them to consolidate their efforts and make it easier for them to achieve their common objectives."
SOWIE's primary objectives include promoting the achievements of women engineers and raising public awareness of their accomplishments; constituting a forum for the exchange of opinions and experiences regarding education, research and employment for women with interests in engineering; assisting women engineers in finding appropriate training and job opportunities by providing them with a reliable database and networking avenues; offering programs that facilitate young women to pursue a career in engineering and develop their technical and communication skills; and collaborate with other women’s organisations and engineering societies and associations.
The group is now seeking funds and sponsors for its planned annual awards that will be given to female students pursuing degrees in various engineering fields. SOWIE will also organize competitions and institute awards to raise the profile and effectiveness of women in engineering, and will also initiate several outreach activities and facilitate social engagement programs, which include creating a dedicated online social networking platform.
Other projects set to be undertaken by SOWIE include publishing a bi-annual newsletter to be distributed in soft and hardcopies; organizing regular workshops, seminars and conferences in all fields of engineering; and establishing a student chapter for the SOWIE ALHOSN University to assist future engineers in all aspects of their studies and career.
SOWIE has been one of the key initiatives that was conceptualized during the UAE’s historic “First Annual Roundtable on Women Engineers” held at the ALHOSN University Female Campus. Academic advisers from 21 other schools were invited to learn of women’s successful experiences in engineering and the different tools that they could acquire to improve personal, community and national growth.
ALHOSN University has been implementing several measures to encourage the entry of its female students into its engineering and other technical courses, among them being the recruitment of women professors. While there was no female engineering faculty in 2005, today the school employs five female faculty members and three teaching assistants in its engineering department.