Idex talks: Emirati women in defence sector share their challenges, triumphs and on paving the way for others

Organisations must provide training programs for women at an early stage to introduce them to different career pathways and equip them with the knowledge, skills and abilities that are required in those fields



by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 23 Feb 2023, 8:01 PM

During a session at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex) and Navy Defence Exhibition (NAVDEX) Talks titled "Emirati Women in Defence: Seeking new paradigms of thinking”, Dr Eng Fatma Bazargan, Director of Enabling Technologies, Requirements & Capabilities at Raytheon Emirates ltd said one of the biggest challenges that she has faced during her career was transitioning from the government sector into the private sector, as the work approach and operations were very different between the two.

“However, now that I have been working in the private sector for years, I would strongly encourage women who are passionate about the defence industry to consider working in the private sector as it can offer them a unique experience and enhance their capabilities in a short time span,” she said.

“The transition from cybersecurity to the defence sector was also a challenge, but I learned that no matter what your educational background or previous experience is, having the right skillsets that can be utilised in any field is key to your success. As the defence sector is still mostly male-dominated, it is important for women to develop their confidence and believe in their capabilities in order to thrive and succeed in their career,” Dr Eng Fatma added.

Hala Alzargani from the Centre for Innovation & Security Solutions at Lockheed Martin in the UAE, said: “When I joined Lockheed Martin, I was the first Emirati engineer in the company. I am proud that since then I have supported the company in attracting and retaining a number of female Emirati talents, and providing them with ongoing mentorship to ensure that they are well-prepared to secure leading positions in the industry.”

“It’s important for women in our industry to support each other and exchange their knowledge and experience to encourage more women to join the industry and break stereotypes. We are witnessing a change in dynamics as more women are now aware of the opportunities that the defence industry can offer them, and it is our organisations’ responsibility to create career development programs to support women in growing and succeeding in these vital fields,” Alzargani added.

Meera Taher, Electrical Engineer at Saab, said: “Our wise leadership provides women with ongoing support and endless opportunities to join the defence industry and other vital fields as well. Organisations must provide training programs for women at an early stage, to introduce them to different career pathways and equip them with the knowledge, skills and abilities that are required in those fields. It is essential that we take advantage of these opportunities to achieve the impossible in a country that paves the way for women to excel and secure leading positions across all industries.”

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