Making a Difference: Inspirational Arab Women Leaders
In the Arab World, as in all the regions of the world, women face social obstacles in their journey towards accomplishment and success. However, where there are obstacles, restrictions, and discrimination, there is a will to overcome them. From among those women who have a strong will to overcome impediments and who act on this will, many leaders emerge.
Such women leaders push the envelope by refusing to stay within the roles prescribed for them. These women move forward, and rise higher than society expects. They become leaders in their fields and sectors and bring about increased women’s rights, equity, and a more balanced approach to gender roles . Women leaders raise the bar for women’s advancement in both their countries and in the Arab World as a whole.
We at the Women as Partners in Progress (WPP) project worked diligently to create this directory of women leaders. This directory, presently features 97 women leaders. Of course, it is a work in progress and in fact will never be complete. The scope of achievement among women leaders in the Arab countries is expansive, the influence they command in their various fields is substantive, and the directory will be expanded continually as a resource on impactful leaders from across the Arab countries. The 97 women leaders featured in the first iteration of this HUB push limits and forge paths for all women in the region so that women, societies, and future generations, can reach new heights.
Azza Soliman is a renowned Egyptian lawyer, women’s rights activist, WHRD, and 2nd place recipient of Allard prize for International Integrity. Soliman co-founded the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) in 1995 in Bolaq el Dakror, a slum of Cairo. Soliman…
Dr. Malak Zaalouk
Dr. Malak Zaalouk is professor of practice and the Director of the Graduate School of Education's (GSE) Middle East Institute of Higher Education. Zaalouk has previously served as the UNICEF Regional Senior Education Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).…
Suzan Aref is the founder and director of Women Empowerment Organization (WEO) which was founded in 2004, and the coordinator of Iraq Cross Sector Task Force (CSTF) for Iraq first National Action Plan (INAP). In 2012 she led a network of women NGOs for the development of the…
Dr. Zainab Bahrani
Dr. Zainab Bahrani studied the History of Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University where she earned her MA and Ph.D. degrees in a joint program of Ancient Near Eastern and Greek Art and Archaeology. Prior to her appointment as the current Edith Porada Professor…
Khanim Rahim Lateef
Khanim Rahim Lateef is the Director of Asuda, an independent NGO for combating violence against women. Lateef joined Asuda in 2001, and one year later founded the Asuda’s Women Shelter, which was the first women protection shelter in Iraq, despite all of the religious,…
Mayyada Abu Jaber
Mayyada Abu Jaber is the is the CEO of the World of Letters, a social enterprise to promote quality education in the MENA region, and co-founder of JoWomenomics, an independent non-profit organization to foster mindset change in favor for women's economic activity. Abu…
Dr. Nesreen Akhtarkhavari
Dr. Nesreen Akhtarkhavari is an Associate Professor and Arabic Program Director at DePaul University, author, and member of numerous executive boards for various NGOs. As an author, her publications range from co-authoring the National Standards for Teaching Arabic in the…
Nadia Al Saeed
Nadia Al Saeed has been the CEO of Bank al Etihad since 2008, after assuming
the role of Strategy Advisor for one year working with Mckinsey & Co. to develop a new
growth strategy for the bank. Before becoming CEO, Al Saeed had a distinguished
Bayan Al Tal
Bayan Al Tal is a consultant at the Jordan Media Institute and a Director of the Media and
Information Literacy Project. She has worked in the Media and Communications sector for more
than 30 years where she held several positions, most notably as the Director of…