Exploring career aspirations & pathways for undergraduate design female students in Saudi Arabia

Elke STRACKE, Karin Oerlemans, Carlos MONTANA HOYOS

Research output: Contribution to conference (non-published works)Poster


In 2015-2016, we developed a curriculum for an undergraduate Bachelors degree in Industrial Design for the College of Design at a Saudi Arabian University. The curriculum was developed for the first female-only Industrial Design course in Saudi Arabia (SA). The SA University started teaching following this curriculum in September 2016. While the literature provides some information on the restraints and achievements of women in the field of education in SA (Alhareth, Al Dighrir, & Al Alhareth, 2015; Hamdan, 2005), there is need for empirical research that includes the students’ lived experience and their voices. As part of SA’s Vision 2030 (http://www.vision2030.gov.sa) the National Transformation Program 2020 http://www.vision2030.gov.sa/en/ntp), which was launched in 2016, explicitly mentions the empowerment of women as one of its strategic objectives. The program aims to “[e]mpower women and materialize their potentials” as one of the relevant Vision 2030 objectives, along with job opportunities for men and women in the private and civil service sector. The National Transformation Program also sees the need for the development of particular mechanisms to improve women employability. According to SA’s Vision 2030 women currently represent 22% of the workforce, and the suggested target for 2013 is 30%. This project can make a contribution to these desirable developments. While this poster presentation is part of a larger study that evaluates the ongoing evolution of the Industrial Design curriculum during implementation, this project aims in particular to understand female design students’ perceptions of their career aspirations and imagined professional pathways. The study will draw on (semi-structured) interview data with female students (N = 6-8) at the SA University. The method allows, on the one hand, for a focus on the phenomenon under investigation, and, on the other, for flexibility during the interview process. Data-analysis will be mainly data-driven with the explicit goal to understand the participants’ viewpoints from their perspective. Themes such as career goals, barriers, and strategies to achieve goals might emerge. To conclude, this project aims to understand curriculum development and transformation for maximum educational advantage of female students in Higher Education in Saudi Arabia.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventHigher Education Research and Development Society of
Australia (HERDSA) Conference
- Sydney, Australia
Duration: 28 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


ConferenceHigher Education Research and Development Society of
Australia (HERDSA) Conference


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