In a world where barriers and limitations have often hindered the aspirations of women, the achievements of Arab women stand as a powerful testament to the invincible spirit and determination that resides within them. In their pursuit of excellence, they have become living proof that Arab women possess not only bravery but also intelligence that knows no bounds.
Their brilliance, resilience, and unwavering spirit radiate with an intensity that cannot be ignored. They serve as a guiding light for every little girl out there who dreams of one day being an astronaut, mechanical engineer or even a leader of a nation. Arab women are fearlessly pursuing their dreams and conquering new frontiers on land, in the air, and even in the depths of water.
In 2018 Saudi Aramco trained two Saudi women in engaging in firefighting operations, in the first-ever training program of its kind in the Kingdom. Back in 2020, the United Arab Emirates certified its first 15 female firefighters, who received congratulations from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. Sylvain Theriault, firefighting director of the Emirates Civil Defense Training Academy believes “If a woman is trapped in a building or vehicle, it is sometimes preferable to have a woman handling that situation, so we welcome more women to become train for jobs in the fire service industry.”
Huda Al-Matroushi is one of the few Emirati women to venture into the car repair business. Since childhood, Al-Matroushi has had an obsession for cars, so she decided to turn that passion into a full-time career. With experience in garages and maintaining cars, she went on to launch her very own car repair business, “Imex Car Service,” in Sharjah, even catching the attention of His Highness Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, who congratulated Huda on her endeavor over the phone. And just like Al-Matrushi, Lekaa El Holy, has been fixing cars for more than a decade in Egypt, with the President hailing her as the Upper Egypt region’s first female motor mechanic.
Many Egyptian women in Kafr El Sheikh practice an unusual form of underwater fishing where they dive underwater and catch fish with their bare hands. Despite being exposed to snakes and the winter’s bitter cold, they jump into the freezing waters from Fajr prayer. The most difficult situation they face while diving is difficulty breathing underwater since they don’t use any scuba equipment. Hard work doesn’t there, after they spend 8 hours fishing in the water, they return to their families and finish house chores. Most of these women inherited this profession from their mothers, and the majority are the main breadwinners of their families. This just proves how strong and resilient women are by nature.
In 1933, Lotfia Elnadi became the first Arab female pilot whose achievements paved the way for women in the whole Arab region to enter the world of aviation. Nowadays, more Arab women are following into her footsteps, even flying the world’s largest commercial plane, Airbus-380, as Egyptian pilot Nevin Darwish did in 2017. Arab airlines are witnessing continual growth of female interest in aviation within the last decade, as well as women who work as licensed aircraft engineers, mechanics, and technicians for aircraft maintenance and repairs. This is very heartening as many young ladies are looking up to women like Darwish as role models.
The number of female officers in the UAE has grown significantly, with women now making up a significant portion of the country’s police force. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, the government has also taken steps to increase the number of female police officers. Across the region, female police officers are bringing a unique perspective to law enforcement, and are often better equipped to deal with certain types of crimes and situations. For example, female officers are often better able to build trust with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and are more effective at communicating with women and children in general. The increasing presence of female police officers in the Middle East is a positive development for the region, as many women are interested in joining law enforcement and making a difference in their country.
During the last couple of years, we have seen a rise in the number of female Arab astronauts who are breaking barriers and paving the way for more women to explore the final frontier. One of the most notable is Egyptian astronaut Sara Saber, who became the first Egyptian woman to be selected for a space mission. Another astronaut who is making waves is Saudi Arabia’s first female astronaut to travel into space, Rayyanah Barnawi, who was accompanied by the First Saudi male astronaut, Ali Al-Qarni . Moreover, their achievements serve as an inspiration to young girls encouraging them to pursue their dreams even if it’s venturing out into space, nothing is impossible.
In 2021, Uber revealed a 50% year-on-year increase in female drivers in Saudi Arabia working for the ride-hailing company, as female drivers in the country are able to select women-only riders resulting in a more comfortable and easing ride for both diver and rider. Moreover, Uber Egypt had over 1,000 female drivers using the application in 2018. 40-year-old Egyptian Uber driver, Dalia Mounir, was awarded by Uber in 2018 for completing the most trips, stating “I liked driving since I was a child to the extent that I used to take the my father’s car without his permission.”
In Lebanon, 2nd Lieutenant Jana Sader, 24, made history earlier this year by becoming the first woman in Lebanon’s army to pilot an attack combat aircraft. Jana, like many of her peers across the Middle East, symbolizes the growing desire among women to join the armed forces. Sabaa Thnaibat made headlines this year as well by being the first Jordanian woman to ever fly an F-16 fighter jet. The role of women in other Middle East militaries also continues to grow. As of 2021, Saudi Arabia has opened military services to women, as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 initiative.
As we bear witness to the inspiring accomplishments of Arab women, let us celebrate their triumphs and honor their pursuit of excellence. The achievements of Arab women are not merely stories of individual success but a testament to the limitless potential that resides within every human being, inspiring us all to dare, to dream, and to reach for the stars.
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