Hayat Sindi is one of the newly appointed Shoura members. She recently figured in Newsweek’s list of 150 women who shook the world in 2012. She is founder and CEO of the i2 institute of Imagination and Ingenuity, a leading nongovernmental organization in the field of scientific innovations in the Arab world. She is also the first Saudi woman to obtain a doctorate from Cambridge University in the field of Biotechnology. Sindi is science ambassador for UNESCO.
“The introduction of women into the Shoura Council is a fantastic move and a historical change to give women a decision-making role. Women are part of change in all the different sectors of society,” said Sindi.
What the rest of the world is thinking of women of Saudi Arabia is not her concern, said Sindi, and she is not interested in answering those queries. “In the Kingdom, women have an equal share and honor. Now with the appointment of women to the Shoura, King Abdullah has displayed gender justice again.”
She feels honored and proud that the king has trusted and selected her for the Shoura Council and she feels it is her duty now to take on this new role. She said that she is proud to be entrusted with this responsibility.
Sindi said that she could contribute to having Saudi society achieve progress in every field.
“I have always been interested in advancing women’s issues. The participation of women in the council will facilitate discussion on women’s and children’s rights. For the country, I want to concentrate on innovating education and scientific research, and inspire the youth to take an interest in science. The idea is to make them motivated, creative and most importantly to unlock their own potential and move ahead using their talent for the benefit of our country. I am excited to collaborate with this group of women, who have the highest level of experience and their own professional expertise. Together, I hope we will be able to put forward programs and proposals that the executive institutions can take.”
Encouraging innovation and science and coaxing young women to build their own enterprises will lead to job diversity and job creation, said Sindi. “Through science and innovation, we can solve problems of water, energy, environment and health sectors.”
Saudi citizens can realize their dream to become innovative scientist through conducting scientific and technological studies in Saudi universities, said Sindi. She would like Saudi scientists to believe in themselves.
The main obstacle Sindi faced before achieving her current position in the Shoura Council was to make people give her a chance and trust her. “I have made a long journey to achieve this position and there is still more to do. I just know that the interests and passion of Saudi men and women will be of great help.”
Sindi wishes both men and women would opt for careers in the field of science. “It is crucial for them to have a passion and set a goal in this field. A target helps us when we aren’t sure how to tackle hardships. I would suggest to all, especially women, not to restrict themselves but remain open to different ideas and solutions. I want to see meaningful scientific technology become a part of the curriculum of our universities so our people can make this world a better place.”