90 Inspiring Saudi Women to Mark The 90th Saudi National Day
In honor of the 90th Saudi National Day, AboutHer.com gathered some of the nation’s trailblazing women setting the bar high for generations to come. On this day, we are celebrating Saudi women that surpass all boundaries and conquer their different fields with top-notch skills, passion, and flair. Without further ado, meet Saudi Arabia’s leading ladies:
P.S: check out part one here.
Amal Al Moallimi
After Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S, Al Moallimi is considered to be the second Saudi woman to reach the prestigious post of country ambassador. Through her career, Al Moallimi has achieved high-ranking leadership positions In 2019, the trailblazing Saudi woman was the General Manager of International Collaboration at the Saudi Human Rights Commission.
Ahlam Nasser Al Zaid
Meet Saudi Arabia’s first cycling champion, Ahlam Nasser Al-Zaid, who pedaled her way into the history books and nabbed first place by clocking in at 22:18 minutes in the 13-kilometer race. She was joined by nine other cyclists from across the Kingdom all who made their way to the competition in Abha, in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region.
Ohoud Bint Abdullah Al Faris
Upon the new changes in education amid Covid-19, the Kingdom has chosen to appoint Dr. Ohoud bint Abdullah Al Faris as Supervisor of the General Administration of E-learning and Distance Education at the Saudi Ministry of Education. Prior to this landmark appointment, Dr. Al Faris was Dean of the College of Computer Science and Information at the Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, and was also Deputy Dean of E-Education and Distance Learning at King Saud University. She holds a PhD in Computer Science and Information from Brunel University in London, and has a diploma in development practices in higher education from the same institution.
Ahlam Bint Abdulrahman Yankasar
Ahlam Bint Abdulrahman Yankasar is the new director-general of the General Department of Cultural Affairs at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Saudi trailblazer is writing history as she is the first woman to land this position at the ministry. Yankasar earned a master's degree in international business administration from the University of London and worked in Saudi ministries, climbing up the ladder to this high-ranking role.
Under Saudi Arabia's G20 presidency, Hala Al-Tuwaijri is the head of the Women’s Empowerment Team at G20 Riyadh and the secretary-general of the Saudi Family Affairs Council- a post she filled since 2017. Despite the challenges of an impending coronavirus pandemic, Hala Al-Tuwaijri continues to make positive impact on Saudi families. The leading Saudi lady took her academic journey at King Saudi University: after getting a bachelor's and a masters in English literature, Al-Tuwairji joined KSU's staff as a lecturer and earned a Ph.D in American literature/drama in 2011.
Samira Al Khamis
Known fondly as “The Saudi Ballerina”, Samira Alkhamis was afeatured on this year’s official poster for the Red Sea International Film Festival, a striking image of the young ballerina emerging from the sea. Alkhamis recently spoke about her journey with Cosmo ME, talking about the importance of having her family’s support, to one of her most challenging and favorite performances, which was held in Saudi Arabia. She explained how dancing began for her at an early age, saying, “I started dancing when I was four. I have four sisters and they all dance. It started with the eldest and then every sibling got involved. Except I decided to make a profession out of it and opened a studio called Pulse Personal Training.”
HRH Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al Muqrin
Princess Haifa bint Abdulaziz Al Muqrin made headlines by becoming Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). She also launched a major initiative entitled “13 in One,” which aims to build bridges between Saudi Arabia’s 13 regions and UNESCO, highlighting the country’s rich cultural diversity.
Salma Al Rashid
In a world filled with Saudi female trailblazers, we're celebrating today Salma Al Rashid who has been heading the Women 20 Sherpa since December 2019. When it comes to women empowerment, Al Rashid has made it her life mission to emancipate women in a number of development projects. A leading name in the social sector, Al Rashid took part in many committees in the Kingdom to change policies in order to insure an all-encompassing approach to social development. Al-Rashid is also known as the chief advocacy officer of Al-Nahda Society, where she leads by example.
Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani
Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani is amongst the three Saudi women appointed as Saudi Arabia’s cultural attaches. Dr. Fatani holds a doctorate degree in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Strathclyde. She currently works as associate professor at the prestigious King Saud University (KSU) where she also obtained her masters and bachelor’s degree from the College Of Pharmacy. The Saudi female pharmacist and academic added to her resume the roles of consultant and general supervisor of female affairs at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education after closing off her two-year role as general supervisor of female sections in all ministry sectors.
Alaa Tarabzouni is an international artist whose personal works explore urban landscapes and built up environments and is inspired and influenced by her own academic education and architecture. “Bait Al-Wurud” is the name of Tarabzouni’s most recent work displayed at Durational Portrait at Athr Gallery in Jeddah and The Quest for Our Next Concern in Riyadh.
Alaa has also shown her work AL-SOM at Public/Private, the 2019 summer show of 21,39 in Jeddah and in 2019, alongside Afia Bin Taleb, she co-curated the group show POACHED which was a progressive exhibition of emerging artists alongside prominent artists.
Dr. Basma Musleh Omair
Dr. Basma Musleh Omair was elected by the members of the Group of Women (W20) as the head of the Women's Participation Committee in the Labor Market 2017 in Berlin, Germany. She is also a member of the Group of Twenty (G20) and now a member of the Group of Twenty Business (B20). Along with her long trail of victories, Dr. Basma has established BMO Management Consulting, where she works in coordination with decision makers to develop effective strategies to empower individuals and to improve the standard of living through multi-faceted research.
Dr. Lama Al-Sulaiman
Dr. Lama Al-Sulaiman headed the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Saudi Arabia as vice president. She is also a board member of the Khadija Bint Khuwaylid Business Women Center of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, the Rolaco Trading and Contracting Group, the National Institute of Health Services, National Home Health Care, and the Economic and Social Department for Makkah .
Head of shareholders relations in the Saudi Mining Company as the first Saudi woman to reach this position in the sector and a founding member of the Association of the Protection of Individual Investors, Reem Asaad also worked in finance and investment as the vice president of the Securities Society in the Jeddah Chamber.
Dr. Nahid Taher
Dr. Nahid Taher held the position of Assistant Professor and Head of the Accounting Department at King Abdulaziz University, then she became the CEO of the Investment Bank Gulf One in Bahrain. Along with a rich portfolio in banking and investment, Forbes called her the "Desert Rose" since she is the first founder and CEO of an infrastructure investment bank in the Middle East.
Roaa Qattan, an Asian Football Confederation-certified Saudi football coach, has been scoring every goal (pun intended). With unmatched drive and passion, the football pioneer is one of the three Saudi female football coaches certified by the prestigious AFC. Qattan’s first love was surprisingly not football! The Saudi female trailblazer first graduated from King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in 2005 with a bachelor’s in accounting. In 2011, she received an open water diver’s license from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors in Jeddah. Qattan earned herself an INSEP diploma of sport sciences and a C-license from the Asian Football Confederation, which she earned in 2018. She is the founder of the Jeddah Wave football team and has been coaching teams since its establishment in 2018.
Rawan Al Turki
For Saudi photographer Rawan Al-Turki snapping photos is an emotion rather than a job. The Jeddah-based creative force is mostly known for her fashion photography and has made a name for herself for focusing on how today’s Saudi women are expressing themselves via the clothes they wear. Through her camera’s lens, she shows how Saudis are letting their sense of style do a lot of the talking.Proving she is one of the Kingdom’s haute female self-starters, Al-Turki’s eye-catching work has been highlighted in the second edition of female-focused Saudi street style book ‘Under the Abaya: Street Style from Saudi Arabia," a stereotype-shattering book for all modern Saudi women to share their accomplishments and gifts with the rest of the globe.
Jeddah-born Alaa Balkhy describes herself as a “serial entrepreneur.” After graduating in Graphic Design from Dar Al-Hekma University, Balkhy, who was raised in Montreal, launched Fyunka, a company known for its quirky illustrations. Additionally, Balkhy, who also studied Design Management and Strategy at New York’s Pratt Institute, is the Co-Founder of “Minaazine,” a quarterly publication exploring the cultural aesthetic and lifestyles of Middle Eastern and North African cultures. The nominee for Ernest and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013) and finalist for “Forbes Middle East” Saudi Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2015) is behind Alaa Bint Hashim, a fashion label that is inspired by her constant travels, too. Plus, she founded Minnana, an Arabic podcast that gives women the opportunity to talk freely. Her impressive career has seen her work with various brands, ranging from Nettflix, Faces and Guerlain to Tod’s, Rubaiyat, Farfetch and Rimmel.
This Saudi female royal guard that sent Twitter into meltdown
Her identity is unknown but we send her all the love & support!
From a young age, Nourah Hamoud was drawn to art and creativity. At 9 years old, she started drawing pictures and developing her creative asset: impressive skillful hands and a heart of art. Unfortunately, a horrible accident struck Hamoud’s childhood. The painter was hit with a knife which caused her to become blind, but that did not stop the Saudi creative to pursue her passions. Now, the trailblazer has upgraded the Saudi art scene with fast-selling painting and her distinguished abstract aesthetic. Her artworks stand as a token of her inborn talent, devotion, and perseverance.
Al-Anoud Al Khalifi
Al-Anoud Al-Khalifi is amongst the first-ever Saudi women to take part in the West Asia and GCC Weightlifting Championship during which she brought home 12 medals. Here’s to more Olympian weightlifters that rep the Kingdom!
Dr. Arwa Al Jalal
Dr. Arwa Al Jalal is the new member of the committee to adjudje competition violations at the General Authority for Competition. This makes Dr. Al Jalal, the first Saudi woman to hold a quasi-judicial position in the Kingdom. Aside from her incomparable flair for justice, the female trailblazer’s whole career led to this milestone. A brilliant teaching force, Dr. Al Jalal holds the position of Assistant Professor in the department of private law with a specialty commercial and insurance law.
Nada Bint Saeed Al Qahtani
Nada Bint Saeed Al Qahtani, a student at the College of Computer Science, King Khalid University, created Eve the robot to provide support with teaching programs for children between the ages of 3 and 15 with Down syndrome. The robot has been specifically designed to offer diverse activities and features that help children further develop emotional intelligence skills, cognitive skills and behavioral skills.
CEO and founder of Blooming Bs, Rihab Hasanain, made the top 21 finalists for the Cartier Women Initiative for her efforts to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia. She was picked out of 1,200 applicants from 162 countries, a selection that is in itself a landmark achievement. Blooming Bs (brain, body, and box) is a social enterprise devoted to providing school children with healthy and delicious food as a way to combat childhood obesity in Saudi Arabia and beyond. A health-conscious menu is delivered to schools and homes across the country, and provides work opportunities for Saudi women as well.
Dr. Thoraya Obaid
Dr. Thoraya Obaid is former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and a former Shura council member. Upon Saudi Arabia's G20 presidency, the Saudi female leader now heads up the Women 20 (W20) as Chair where she tackles the inclusivity of women in all sectors.
Known for her work on gender and social issues in Saudi Arabia, American-born, UK-educated Tasneem Alsultan is an emerging female Saudi photographer to definitely know about. At just 32 years of age, Alsultan is already leaving her mark in the region and internationally, selected last year by British Journal Photography among best 16 emerging photographers to watch, and PDN’s 30 photographers to watch in 2017. As a freelance investigative photojournalist, she has covered a breadth of pertinent topics such as the first women’s voting and elections in Saudi Arabia (for National Geographic), and she delves into more personal stories as well, such as her commercial work on Saudi weddings, having documented more than 120 of them across the globe. In 2016, her wedding photography was featured in National Geographic.
Latifa Al AbdulKarim
Latifa Al-Abdulkarim is the Assistant Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Researcher in Artificial Intelligence and Law at the University of Liverpool-UK & Saudi Arabia. She has even “worked as Artificial intelligence Advisor to the Saudi Government, leading the national strategic direction of AI and AI governance.” Her invaluable experience on the ground makes her the exemplary teacher to young minds eager to enter the world of AI.
Dr. Reem Bint Mansour Al-Saud
Saudi female trailblazer, Dr. Reem bint Mansour Al-Saud, is a member of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN in New York since 2015. This lady leads by example; she was representing her country during the UN 2030 agenda negotiations and is considered to this day a major figure in the fight for gender equality in Saudi Arabia and around the world. Dr. Reem holds a master’s degree in social policy and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern studiesfrom Oxford University.She is a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she focuses her work on enhancing Saudi labor policies, especially those concerned with women.
Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al Saud
Highly regarded for her humanitarian work and philanthropic efforts to advance sustainable and inclusive development for the most vulnerable, HRH Princess Lamia Bint Majed Al Saud was recently selected as the first-ever regional Goodwill Ambassador for the Arab States by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The organisation that works in over 90 countries to support people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future appointed the Saudi royal, who is the Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), during a press conference at the tenth session of the World Urban Forum.
Kuwaiti football club Al-Arabi has welcomed Saudi Arabian player Johara Al-Sudairi as part of its team back in February. Her presence in the team will initially be for a trial period and is seen as a key step towards professionalism in the field. Al-Sudairi caught the attention of scouts while she was still part of the Jeddah Eagles, particularly during the team’s participation in the Jeddah Women's League. The talented athlete played in three games during the competition and scored a total of eight goals, a feat that propelled her team to first place in the league.
General Manager of Digital Technology at STC Academy, Moudhi ALJamea is the first ever female executive at the Saudi Telecommunications Company! With a PhD in computer science and cyber information security, this Saudi female powerhouse heads up the entrepreneurship business incubator in Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University as president.
The Strategy Leader at IBM Saudi Arabia, Deema Alathel works in operational planning and execution of IT transformation projects and fills her time with her philanthropic ambitions. Alathel volunteered as a part-time consultant for multiple government and non-government agencies such as King Salman Humanitarian Relief and Aid Center and the National Digital Transformation Unit.
Gehad Al-Khaldi is the CEO of the Kingdom’s music commission and a skilled violinist. Some of her responsibilities in the commission include supervising the regulation and expansion of the music sector and supporting and encouraging practitioners, including getting them to produce and develop musical content. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in violin playing and music theory from the Higher Institute of Music in Cairo and was a violinist for the Egyptian Orchestra for eight years.
Fatima Abdulla al-Musheeq
Al-Musheeq is considered one of the most prominent Saudi women writers. She has held many chief editor positions and has written in several literary and poetry magazines based in the Gulf. Some of her writings go under the pseudonym Al Jawhara, and her list of published works is quite impressive. She has 16 poems published including Perfume Bottle – Zoujajat Otor, The Southern Wind – Reeh Al Janoub, and Arrogant – Maghroura.
Fawziyya Abu Khalid
Infused with political connotations and probes, Fawziyye Abu Khalid established herself when her first poetry collection, Until When Will They Abduct You on Your Wedding Night? – ‘Illa Mata Yakhtifunaki Lailat Al Aours, was published in 1974. A huge advocator for gender equality and equal opportunities, her activism is evident in many of her works; most notably Secret Readings in the History of Arab Silence (1985) and Mirage Water – Maa’ Al Sarab (1995).
Nimah Ismail Nawwab
Nimah Ismail Nawwab is considered a trailblazing writer and poet in the Kingdom. Her poetry has been translated into numerous languages and was published in various international anthologies, including Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World, Other Voices, The World Strand, and I Belong. The Unfurling (2004) was the first collection of poems by a Saudi woman poet to ever be commercially published in the United States.
Omaima al-Khamis, a Saudi Arabian writer has successfully placed her mark in the world of literature. Through her writings, she wishes to break any bonds that tie women; she wants to free them from the past, move them to a brighter world and a hopeful future. Al-Khamis is a renowned published author with several publications to her name, from novels and short stories to self-help books and poetry collections. Her most recent novel, Voyage of the Cranes in the Cities of Agate (2017) won the 2018 Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature.
A young athlete with still a long career ahead of her, Hasna Al-Hammad has already made her mark on the world by earning a gold medal in fencing, making her the first female fencer in the history of Saudi Arabia to do so. Still in the prime of her athleticism, Al Hammad has participated in many championships, raising the Kingdom’s flag high in Kuwait, Jordan, and the Philippines, and doing so in only the past two years. Earlier this year, Al Hammad joined 62 female fencers in Kuwait to participate in the sixth edition for Women’s Sports in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, marking the largest female delegation in the history of Saudi sports.
Najla Al Khalifa
Saudi photographer Najla Al Khalifa is one of the most prominent names in the field today. From nabbing awards at both national and international levels, to capturing the most iconic nature, landscape, architectural, archaeological, and even abstract scenes, Al Khalifa is truly a force to be reckoned with. To date, Al Khalifa has won 42 awards and medals in international and local competitions including gold at Prix de la Photographie in Paris (PX3), making her the first Saudi woman to receive this award. She has also participated in various renowned competitions such as the IPA International Photography Awards in New York, the Sony World, Homeland In The Eyes Photographers, and the Arab-European Festival.
Arif is a Saudi animator who today has a strong presence in the world of animation in the Kingdom. She participated in the Ramadan Quiz on Saudi television’s first channel and has from a young age covered national festivals and occasions for television including Janadriyah Festivals. Arif studied Computer Science but her passion took her to the world of animation where she has continued to develop her passion using specialized programs and without any assistance. Google has chosen Arif as their student ambassador for the Middle East. Her animation, "Abtal Awal," has won the "most voted for" award for iBroadcast competition held by King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture.
An undergraduate student in Political Science at Appalachian State University, North Carolina, Al-Aqeel spent a significant amount of her time in the United States representing Saudi Arabia through youth-oriented programs. In 2015, she participated in the 10-month-long Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program in North Carolina. As part of the program, she lived with an American family and studied in an American school, with the aim of realizing the main objective of the program, which is to provide Americans with the opportunity to learn firsthand about different cultures from across the world. The program also required participants to devote their time to monthly volunteer work and to give speeches at various venues. Al-Aqeel also represented her country as the first Saudi and Arab national to participate in the Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN), which was held in the United States under the slogan “The World We Want 2030.” The assembly brought together participants from around the globe to discuss some 150 global issues and to propose solutions envisioned from a youth perspective.
Ayoub is the creator of BrightSign, a smart glove that transforms sign language to sound. This creation has a whopping 97% accuracy and has already raised USD 1 million due to its progressive aim to enable speech-impaired or disabled people to have normal day-to-day communications.
Al-Marri used a 3D-printer to form a mechanical hand that can translate Arabic text entered in a mobile application into sign language, thus aiding hearing and speech disabled individuals in the Arab region to communicate with other people.
Dr. Hannan Al Qawzi
Professor Al Qawzi is an inventor of a cure for glaucoma. Without treatment, glaucoma increases pressure and damages the optic nerve, thus leading to undeviating vision loss. She revealed a medication that triggers the melatonin rate in the intraocular fluid, which controls eye pressure, and therefore relieving the symptoms.
This Saudi woman is the proud inventor of a pollution-free scooter. This means of transportation is nothing like its peers; for starters, it has the amazing feature of producing oxygen, and its battery also happens to be eco-friendly and rechargeable.
Fatimah Al Nemer
Multiple award winning artist Fatimah Al Nemer hails from Al Qatif in Saudi Arabia and has been creating works of art since 1999. Patriotic to her country and optimistic about Vision 2030, she hopes to see the Kingdom’s capital become one known as a global art hub. Al Nemer’s pieces often depict young women in traditional attire, set against a rich backdrop of what looks like an intricately patterned carpet. The women in each one of her pieces of art are a symbolization of a desire to be anything but the stereo type that Arab women are often subjected to. Fatimah has exhibited her work internationally including at the Islamic Art Fair in the Museum of Islamic Art in Sharjah in 2014, the Museum of the Prince of Wales in Mumbai in 2010, the Museum of Modern Art in Sweden in 2012 for the Exhibition of Contemporary Art and not to mention her participation in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris in 2018.