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Saudi Arabia to fund separate women’s nanotechnology

Arab News reports that Saudi Arabia is building separate nanotechnology R&D facilities for women to use:

As part of the government’s drive to empower women, a scientific research center will be established in Riyadh with modern facilities for nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology…

“The center will focus on advanced technologies and activities that are suitable to the nature of women in the Kingdom. It will have advanced workshops for nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology,” said Prince Turki ibn Saud…

“The center will provide a conducive atmosphere for women to carry out research works,” said Saleh Al-Athel…

This reminds us what a diverse world we live in. In contrast, the first woman student was admitted to MIT in 1870, and in 1883 we find this in the Institute’s minutes:

Voted: that in view of the facilities afforded by the new chemical laboratories, and in pursuance of the wishes of the benefactors of the Woman’s Laboratory, the present so-called Woman’s Laboratory will be discontinued and students will be admitted to the Kidder Laboratories without distinction of sex.

It will be interesting to see which approach produces the best women’s nanotechnology. So far, it appears that MIT is ahead. (Credit: Meridian)

4 Responses to “Saudi Arabia to fund separate women’s nanotechnology”

  1. Teye Brown Says:

    Well, It appears that MIT is ahead with their gender integration approach simply because the surfacing method in Saudi Arabia has not yet been tested; at the risk of sounding contradictory, I believe they’re method (Saudi Arabia), once allowed to run smoothly, should prevail with relative ease. This is due to the fact that, we see all research institutions being male dominated, and we see most women in integrated institutions devellping technologies not necessarily sensitive to the needs of women. This is simply because men run the institutions, and men fund the institution generally; but in a case where women are allowed to combine their intelligence, diligence, and feminine nature, I think we would see breakthroughs in products and devices that matter most. Instead of new playstations and big screen TV’s, we should see cures, and generally improvements to life worldwide, not only in the US, Canada, UK and Japan (these are the only countries that benefit today). Bottom line is, women have the gift of nurturing while men have the power of destruction; the two groups converge when it comes to intelligence. I strongly believe this.
    Teye Brown

  2. NG guy Says:

    “Education Minister Abdullah Bin-Obaid, who was present at the signing ceremony, said the cooperation between his ministry and KACST would boost the Kingdom’s overall development and help women to make better contributions to society.”

    The most important political event in Saudi Arabia in 2005 may have been the appointment on February 9 of Abdullah bin Saleh al-Obaid, a hardcore Wahhabi, to the prestigious post of education minister. Al-Obaid replaces a secularist reformer at the head of a ministry controlling 27 percent of the national budget and influencing the mind of the next generation. In choosing a Wahhabi for this vital post, Crown Prince Abdullah snubbed his Western friends and handed a victory to the sympathizers of al Qaeda.

  3. Christine Peterson Says:

    To Teye Brown: An interesting theory. Let’s give both sides 10 years and see who’s ahead then. I’m still betting on MIT, but as an MIT alumna, I’m biased!

    To NG guy: That’s disheartening news.

    –Christine

  4. Anu Kuriakose Says:

    I find some interesting things that came up in these discussions..

    Irrespective of his affliations, Mr. Abdullah bin Saleh-Obaid has set in motion progressive reforms, after all as u say in the west, its not the party that u belong to but the work you accomplish, that you should be measured by…i doubt that his appointment had anything to do with snubbinng anyone or sypathizing with Al qaeda..this fixation with Al qaeda..really!!

    As in giving both sides time..yes lets do that Christine..but i know irrespective of whatever system is appointed, ultimately women have such a vital role to play in any field as Teye pointed out..

    And my bets are on Saudi arabia…as one working here..i guess im biased too :-}

    -Anu.

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