Arab women dominated 2018

This year has been a roller-coaster, one that brought so much change to the region. From politics and sport,  to the fashion and beauty industries, we have seen Arab women work their way to the top.

So lets take a look back at the 18 accomplishments that Arab women achieved this year to remind ourselves that 2018 was actually groundbreaking, and will likely pave the way for many more advancements to come.


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Nadine Labaki is the first Arab woman to be shortlisted for the Oscars

Who/What: Nadia Murad


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Accomplishment: Earlier this month Nadia became the first Iraqi and the seventeenth woman in history to win a Nobel Prize. The human rights campaigner escaped captivity by ISIL four years ago, and has gone on to become an advocate against abuse and violence.

Who/What: Queen Rania


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Accomplishment: The Jordanian Royal was presented the prestigious Influential Personality of the Year Award by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai. Queen Rania is also the most followed Arab leader on Instagram, as she is uses social media to advocate for children, women, and refugees.

Who/What: Amal Clooney

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Accomplishment: The international law and human rights lawyer was named the Global Citizen of the Year by the UN. She received the honour for her passionate work on several global issues concerning refugees and education.

Who/What: Huda Beauty

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Accomplishment: The Dubai-based beauty mogul ranked 37th on Forbes list of America’s richest self-made women. The Iraqi-American entrepreneur expanded her business the year by releasing her own fragrance.

Who/What: Nadine Labaki

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Accomplishment: The award-winning Lebanese director made waves this year with her newest film Caphernaum. Nadine’s third feature is an award magnet, as it won the Cannes Film Festival’s Jury Prize. It also received a Golden Globe nomination, and is shortlisted for the Oscars. This makes her the only Arab director recognized by both awards, and the first Arab female director to ever get nominated.

Who/What: Gigi and Bella Hadid

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Accomplishment: The Palestinian-American super-model sisters made the the Top 10 highest paid models in 2018 list. Gigi and Bella took the 7th and 8th spots earning an estimated AED 34.8 million and AED 31.2 million respectively.

Who/What: The Egyptian Squash team


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Accomplishment: Egyptian women have dominated squash this year. There are four Egyptians in the top 10 of the Professional Squash Association women’s rankings. Raneem el Welily, Nour el Sherbini, and Nour el Tayeb hold the first, second, and third positions respectively. Meanwhile, Nouran Gohar ranks 7th.

Who/What: Rashida Tlaib


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Accomplishment: The Palestinian-American politician made history when she, along with Ilhan Omar became the first elected female Muslim officials in the US House of Representatives.

Who/What: Lubna Olayan

Arab Women 2018

Accomplishment: Businesswoman Lubna Al Olayan made history after being the first woman appointed to run a Saudi bank in the Kingdom. Also, she ranked 58 on Forbes Most Powerful Women of 2018 list.

Who/What: Ameni Esseibi


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Accomplishment: The Tunisian model became the first signed plus-sized model after signing with Wilhelmina Dubai, Bareface and MA Models. She has already shot campaigns for local online retailers, Namshi and Elabelz.

Who/What: Fouzia Zainal

Accomplishment: Earlier this week, Fouzia became Bahrain’s first parliament elected female speaker. She is the second Arab woman to hold the position of House speaker, following Dr Amal Al Qubaisi in the UAE’s Federal National Council.

Who/What: Rahma Khaled


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Accomplishment: The 22-year-old swimmer and Paralympic gold medalist became Egypt’s first TV host with down syndrome. Last week Rahma signed a contract with local channel DMC to host the morning show 8 AM.

Who/What: Houriya Taheri


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Accomplishment: The former goalkeeper and assistant coach of the UAE’s women’s national team is the first Arab woman to join FIFA as an expert.

Who/What: Ons Jabeur


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Accomplishment: The Tunisian tennis player became the first Arab and African player to reach a Women’s Tennis Association tour tournament final. Ons currently ranks 60th in the WTA Tennis rankings with 943 points.

Who/What: Weam Al-Dakheel

Accomplishment: The journalist and TV presenter, made history by being featured on Saudi TV’s Channel 1, as the first woman to act as an anchor for the main evening news broadcast. Her first appearance for the show was September 20, 2018.

Who/What: Saudi women driving


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Accomplishment: June of this year marked the end of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. After years of watching Saudi women fight for their right, we finally got to see them behind the wheel!

Who/What: Emirati women at the Federal National Council

Arab Women 2018

Accomplishment: Earlier this month, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ruler of the UAE, has passed a new law which will allow women to occupy 50 percent of the country’s Federal National Council in next year’s election. This law is set to place the UAE among the countries with the most female cabinet members, surpassing the UK and USA.

Who/What: Generation ME


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Accomplishment: American entertainment channel E! launched a three-part series hosted by Kuwaiti influencer Dana Al-Tuwarish, focussing on the region’s most inspiring self-made women. The show was centered around nine women, and how they were able to excel in their respective fields and accomplish great success.

We can’t wait and see what women accomplish in 2019!

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