7 Leading Women in the Gulf You Should Be Looking up To
By Sarah Zuhair
During recent years, women in the Middle East have taken great strides in their journey to proclaim their rights
to be active members in their communities. Their persistence has led them to take parts in jobs that till the present day are perceived to be exclusively reserved for men. The obstacles and challenges which Arab women face has not prevented them from entering the workplace and prove their ability to excel and succeed. Thanks to the passion they hold towards knowledge, they have earned senior positions in many different fields, making them an effective element in changing the world for the better.
Here are the top seven prominent Arab women in the Gulf region who have distinguished themselves in many areas:
Dr. Tamadur Al-Ramah
She’s the first Saudi woman to fill the position of Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development. She graduated from the University of Manchester, Faculty of Medicine and Human Sciences, Department of Radiology and Medical Engineering. Also, she holds a master’s degree from King Saud’s University and a Ph.D. from the University of Whales.
Dr. Al-Ramah took a privileged position within the Saudi Monarch’s orders. She was appointed as Deputy Minister with excellent ranking. The Royal orders to appoint her were based on her strong educational and historical background which made it eligible for her leadership position.
She uses her position to focus on the challenges and opportunities for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Al-Ramah stresses on how Saudi women are an important element of the Kingdom’s strength, their talents should be developed to enable them to obtain the appropriate opportunities to build their future and contribute to the development of the country’s economy. She mentions that when providing the political well, the economic potential Saudi women will be competent, empowered, and capable of performing their role in all fields.
Al-Olayan is a distinguished business figure in the Arab world and beyond. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in
Agricultural Sciences from Cornell University and an MBA from the University of Indiana. She is the most well-known businesswoman in Saudi Arabia; she runs one of the largest commercial empires, Al-Olayan Group Companies.
The businesswoman is currently the CEO of the multibillion-dollar companies which their portfolio is concentrated in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The company’s activities are mainly focused on construction, trading, food, processes, restaurants, and other industries. The group is also the bottler and distributor
of Coca-Cola in Saudi Arabia.
Additionally, Al-Olayan is considered to be the largest investor in the Saudi stock market and the first appointed woman within the board of a Saudi company. She is known for playing a key role in several global initiatives which adopt the principle of reform in the Middle East and especially within the Arab Business Council of the World Economic Commission.
Since 2016, Al-Mazrou’e has been the UAE’s Minister of Youth Affairs. She’s devoted to advance the development of the young Emiratis’ abilities and capabilities and she’s highly concerned with the representation of their issues.
Ms. Al-Mazrou’e is the youngest woman to be appointed as a Minister in the world, as she hasn’t yet reached the age of 22! She received a Master’s degree in Public Policy with Honors from Oxford University UK and she was the first Emirati student to win a Rhodes scholarship for young leaders in government work. She also holds an advanced diploma in Multisectoral Partnerships from New York University. Ms. Al-Mazrou’e is not only a minister but also a political and social activist.
In 2017, Al-Gurg ranked number three in the Forbes list of the Top 10 Most Powerful Arab Women. She’s an Emirati
businesswoman and the CEO of Easa Saleh Al-Gurg Group based in the UAE. She’s also the Chairman of the Dubai Businesswomen Council, the Director of the Businesswomen’s Committee at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Vice Chairman of Dubai Healthcare City.
Rajaa has strongly succeeded in establishing a unique position for herself due to her ongoing encouragement
for the Arab women entrepreneurs. She has always stressed on the issues that concern Arab women, in general, and the Emiratis, in particular. Furthermore, he’s always looking for ways to enhance the role of women in various fields in order to upgrade their means of work in their communities which will positively reflect on society.
She also explains that the efforts of the international institutions towards the Middle East are still limited, especially that Arab women need extra care in order for them to have more access and authority to influence their society. Add to this that the number of the Arab educated women is continuously rising which qualifies them to work and have a voice in their community.
Nooryah Saleh Al- Sadani
Ms. Al-Sadany is one of the Kuwaiti pioneer, who managed to become a successful broadcaster, historian, and writer. She was the first woman to defend women’s right in Kuwait, and she was able to reach the top positions and become a strong Arab activist. Al-Sadani is also a pioneer in the media sector in Kuwait as she was the first female television director. It’s also worth mentioning that she used this field to defend; and still is defending women’s rights. The activist has played a major role in establishing and leading the women’s movement in Kuwait. She’s definitely one of the Kuwaiti women who has devoted their entire life to accomplish a mission. In her case, it’s women empowerment.
Nooryah leads the first women association in the history of Kuwait; Al-Nahda Al-Osarya. She’s also the first to submit a petition to the Kuwaiti National Assembly demanding that women must be given their political right.
Masha’el Al-Shamamry is the first Saudi Arabian woman to work in the field of nuclear missile design. She joined NASA at the age of 22 only, to begin research into space rockets! She holds a bachelor on Aerospace Engineering from The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, and a bachelor on Applied Mathematics.
Her love for space began at the age of six when she was gazing at the stars in the desert of Onaiza in Saudi Arabia. That was when she decided to learn how to make spacecraft to satisfy her curiosity and enable her to explore space, and perhaps, go there someday.
Al-Shamamry was awarded a NASA grant for a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. She was the first
Khaleeji woman to work for a space agency as part of a group of scientists who supervised the manufacture of a peaceful missile to follow up on atmosphere changes. Ms. Al-Shamamry later used her education along with the support of NASA she managed to launch her own company for design and manufacturing missiles at the age of only 26.
Dr. Adah Al-Mutairi
Dr. Al-Mutairi is a Saudi resident professor in the United States of America. who was first recognized several years ago when she won a prize for scientific research in the USA. Her research was selected out of 10,000 other scientific researches to win the Scientific Innovation Award from one of the largest US scientific research organizations worth 3 million dollars.
Dr. Adah discovered the photon; a metal that allows light to enter the body and reach the cells without having to open and damage the body. According to Dr. Adah, photon technology is a suitable alternative to surgical procedures as this technique can be useful in the treatment of many diseases, including cancer. This technique can also be used in the treatment of the heart to prevent strokes. Today, Dr. Adah is leading a research center at the University of California which uses nanotechnology for medical treatment.