Saudi Arabia's All-Female Princess Nourah University Leads in Math Contest  



Saudi Arabia has always had high rates of top female graduates pouring out of its universities, so it comes as no surprise that one of its most renowned public women's universities is producing students who outshine their peers in math contests. According to Arab News, the mathematical sciences department at Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University has snatched both first and third place in a regional competition organized for students in the region of Riyadh by the Saudi Association for Mathematical Sciences at King Saud University.

As explained by the news site, research by three students, Nourah Al-Harbi, Kafaa Al-Otaibi, and Hoda Awadh, under the supervision of Dr. Mona Ashour, nabbed the first-place title. Third position went to students Nour Al Hoda Mohammed Al-Hajr, Kafa Yaser Al-Zaabouti, and Amjad Bandar Al Zoughaibi for their research on a mathematical model of stem cell therapy for the treatment of cancer, a project supervised by Dr. Manar Al Qoodat. The competition saw many teams compete with their top-notch research projects, judged by key figures in the field including Princess Asmaa Bin Ibrahim Al-Thumairi, assistant professor at the mathematical sciences department of Princess Nourah University.

Today, more and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In fact, according to a recent article on Quartz.com, about a third of STEM trained talent across the Muslim world today are women. When it comes to Saudi Arabia specifically, UNESCO and World Bank statistics reveal that in 2014, women comprised 59 percent of total students enrolled in Computer Science in the Kingdom, while the figures in the United Kingdom and the United States were 16 percent and 14 percent respectively.

In addition, a 2018 report by the Kingdom’s Education Ministry on the labor market situation revealed that girls accounted for 57 percent of undergraduates for the year 2015-2016. That same year, it was reported that women outnumbered men in terms of graduates with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, physics, and mathematics and statistics.

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