With more and more women continuing to inspire future generations, Emirates Woman is always proud to champion names that have made an impact today and beyond.
From founding their own brands to being the first to climb Mount Everest, each woman plays a special role and continues to make a big impact in the world.
Their invaluable role in modern society is not to be underestimated as we constantly learn from them.
As we approach the end of 2021, we look back at all the women that have been uplifted through our platform for their notable contributions to society.
Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum
From being the founder of her eponymous jewellery brand Sana Al Maktoum Fine Jewellery to being our April cover star in ‘The Gratitude Issue’, her down-to-earth nature will always be loved by many.
Having grown up in Dubai, Sheikha Sana has always been inspired by the energy of the city and the infinite opportunities the emirate has. It’s something she attributes to the leadership of Dubai.
As the UAE celebrated its Golden Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of the nation, Her Highness Sheikha Sana Al Maktoum has shared her pride for the country and hopes for the future through an inspiring video. “Growing up, I’ve seen the UAE go from a young nation and achieve milestone after milestone,” she said.
Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud
Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al Saud has made it her life’s mission to help others, particularly advocating for women. Through her incredible philanthropic work, Her Royal Highness is changing the world, one incredible story at a time.
Harnessing this desire to help others, Her Royal Highness began working with Alwaleed Philanthropies – an organisation founded by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud 40 years ago. Passionate about advocating for women’s empowerment both in Saudi Arabia and globally, in her role with Alwaleed Philanthropies, Princess Lamia has been able to lead and work on a whole host of impactful and fulfilling projects to help women and youth.
Nora Al Matrooshi
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Nora Al Matrooshi is the first female Emirati astronaut not only in the UAE but in the Arab world. As a qualified mechanical engineer, the 28-year-old always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. “This is a life-changing opportunity,” she previously said of her new role. “The dream I’ve had since a child has come true. Now, I’ve started dreaming bigger.” She is truly is an inspiring role model for all the aspiring female astronauts out there, who wish to be in her shoes someday.
Sara Tamimi is the founder of her own eponymous fashion label that is constantly transforming and pushing the boundaries of conformity. From creating pieces that are symbolic of timeless elegance to reflecting the energy of urban life, Sara keeps the wearer’s needs in mind as she explores opulent textures and unique fabrics through her work.
Alia Al Neyadi
Alia Al Neyadi, the first professional Emirati ballerina has hit some major milestones during her career. She won her first competition at 14-years-old and has been passionate about it since a young age. After dedicating 20 years of her life to it, she has broken down barriers in the GCC and continues to pave the way for women in the region to strive for greater things.
In an interview with Emirates Woman she said, “My advice to you is simple: dream it, work for it and live it. Do not give up when it gets tough, whatever you do will be hard but the journey is what is beautiful I have learned that through my own long journey.”
Amna Al Haddad
Amna al Haddad has defied stereotypes by becoming a positive figurehead for women in the region. As an Olympic weightlifter and also by being the first Emirati and GCC national to compete in Asia’s regionals, she later on also became a part of Nike’s latest campaign on inner strength, as she continues to push herself to the limit.
Sheikha Al Mheiri
Being an accomplished entrepreneur, Sheikha Al Mheiri brings her creative acumen to the table. She’s the brainchild of Society Café & Lounge and the founder of MAD Investments (Make A Difference), the hospitality group, which is the creators of premium signature hospitality concepts in the UAE. By bringing fresh ideas and innovations, she’s constantly raising the bar for branding and brilliant design, by inspiring women on a daily basis.
Dr. Eng Suaad Al Shamsi
Dr. Eng Suaad Al Shamsi is the first UAE female aircraft engineer. With a degree in aviation management and in aerospace engineering, Dr. Suaad has reached great heights, inspiring the younger generations of the future.
“I hope for all Emirati women to have better opportunities and continue to be role models not only in the UAE but also worldwide,” she said during an interview with Emirates Woman for Emirati Women’s Day. She was also part of the Emirates Woman
Asma Hilal Lootah
Asma Hilal Lootah is a woman of firsts and has paved the way in the wellness space in the UAE after opening the first fully certified health clinic and wellness centre – The Hundred Wellness Centre – in the country in 2008. With a truly entrepreneurial spirit, it was Asma’s love for Pilates that sparked her to launch The Hundred nine years ago. Discussing her journey to becoming an entrepreneur in the region, Asma previously admitted to Emirates Woman it can be “hard sometimes”.
“Often, when I am in the process and working away, I get so caught up in my current focus that I don’t always recognize everything we have achieved,” she explained. “It can be hard sometimes, women can be stereotyped, and we do face challenges, but I try to focus on how my work can help others, and myself. It really warms my heart when I receive kind words, nice feedback and hearing about how the centre has impacted someone’s life. The small sentiments from our clients fill me with pride.”
HE Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi
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Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi is an Emirati businesswoman who is the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates. She has held the position since October 2017. Previously she was the Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs from February 2016 to October 2017. Moreover, Al Kaabi was previously appointed as a member of the Federal National Council (FNC) from Abu Dhabi.
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From being the founder of IDegree Design, an integrated interior design agency to becoming the first woman to be appointed as the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, Aseel has become a voice of female motorists in Saudi Arabia. With not much exposure to driving due to the legal restriction for women driving, Al-Hamad took full advantage of the opportunities that came her way and proved to be a success.
Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to scale Everest back in 2013. Throughout her career, this adventure-seeker has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Vinson, Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kala Pattar, Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl. She was also part of our Gucci shoot in February’s – ‘The Love Issue’.
Emirati influencer Salama Mohamed is an inspirational figure who is using her struggle to find self-love and acceptance to help others. She considers herself truly blessed, leaving a reminder of it for her 500,000 followers on Instagram with a message on her profile, “Blessed with vitiligo.” Vitiligo is a skin condition Salama was diagnosed with when she was five. “It was a struggle growing up, when you feel you are different and don’t fit in it is easier to think there is something wrong with you,” she previously told Emirates Woman. Throughout her formative years, her condition left her wondering why she didn’t look like the other girls at school, whether she was pretty or not, whether someone would love her. However, Salama grew to become more comfortable and more accepting in her own skin. “It sort of became my trademark, a part of me that was unique and beautiful, it is what made me different and I wanted to celebrate that,” she says.
HE Reem Al Hashimy
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimi was hugely instrumental in Dubai’s winning bid to host Expo 202o. As well as being Director-General for the Dubai Expo 2020, she is also the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation. She became a cabinet minister in 2008. She is also chair of Dubai Cares, a children’s education charity established by Sheikh Mohammed in 2007.
Muna Easa Al Gurg
Hailing from Dubai, Muna Easa Al Gurg is a prominent businesswoman and philanthropist from the region. As managing director of retail for Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC, she is continually flying the flag for women in prominent roles in business in the UAE and beyond. She also takes part in a number of other endeavours including with Young Arab Leaders UAE where she has been chairwoman since 2008. In April 2021, she opened up to us about the importance of giving back.
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Regarded as the youngest female Emirati pilot, Nouf Omar has made a mark in the aviation industry and has been given wings to fly in the region. She continues to inspire countless women who wish to join this field and is constantly ensuring that they believe in themselves and their capabilities. She’s also the Goodwill Ambassador for the Swedish Pavilion at Expo 2020 and is always hoping to achieve more in the future.
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The cover star for October’s – ‘The Renegade issue’ showed us what it takes to carve a career in Horology and how thinking outside the box makes a difference. Being one of the first of her kind in the industry, she created a niche for herself as co-founder and Chief Strategist at Ashfields Consultancies.
By defying all the external circumstances and challenges, Melika in an interview with Emirates Woman said, “The pandemic allowed me to think and evaluate what it is that I wanted to do and also gave me the courage to take the leap when everyone advise against it.”
Amna Al Qubaisi
Amna All Qubaisi is the first Emirati female racing driver. As a young female breaking down barriers, Amna has previously shared with Emirates Woman her hopes for more women to enter male-dominated feels. “Seeing many women in male-dominated positions reaching the top of the top and being the best of the best [is something that stands out to me in the UAE],” she told us. She also shared her hopes for more women to do so and “normalize what’s considered a male-dominated area”.
Marriam Mossalli is a Jeddah-based entrepreneur who’s the founder of luxury consultancy firm Niche Arabia has been a long-standing supporter of the local fashion industry in the Kingdom. From being a pioneer and ambassador for the Middle Eastern fashion industry, she belongs to a generation of Saudi women who embody a new-age spirit. Back in 2018, Mossalli published her second book Under The Abaya; Street Style From Saudi Arabia which lays emphasis on the diverse Saudi fashion scene. The book became a sell-out success. One hundred per cent of the proceeds of the book scales were used to create several academic scholarships to promote women’s empowerment.
Nadia Zaal is a leading entrepreneur in the UAE and is currently the CEO & Co-Founder of luxury real estate development firm Zaya. Earlier this year, she told Emirates Woman what makes her proud to be an Emirati woman and what she hopes for the next 50 years in the UAE.
“My hope for women in the UAE in the next 50 years is to be able to feel at ease being themselves and there’s such grace in being a woman,” she said. “I hope the Emirati woman is regarded with reverence because that’s the way it should be.”
Emirati conceptual artist Zeinab Alhashemi is a leader in the creative space in the UAE. “What makes me proud as an Emirati woman is that I never tried to ask for my rights – they were always given,” she told us in an interview in August 2021. “For over five generations of Emirati women we’ve only kept evolving and moving forward.”
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