5 Influential Arab Women To Follow In 2021
In the midst of a global pandemic, we are looking for sources of inspiration that go beyond fashion, beauty and an unattainable body ideal on social media. We are on the hunt for meaningful stories that motivate and inspire us and in the Middle Eastern region, there is no shortage of intellect and talent.
When we consider the term “influencer,” we immediately think of the likes of the Kardashians, or the fashion and beauty mavens that we have seen evolve over the years – but are we being influenced more than to just perfect our eyeliner skills or purchase the latest IT bag? However, we might not have to look further than social media to be influenced in a new way. Arab women have been paving the way for the future of women in sectors such as finance, tech, medicine, science and more, and proving that no goal is unattainable. These are the top 5 influential Arab women to follow now…
Joumana Haddad – Author, Journalist and Women's Rights Activist @jhaddadofficial
Lebanese powerhouse, Joumana Haddad was named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in the Arab World by Arabian Business – for good reason. Haddad is an award winning poet, author, and actress and above all the founder of Arabic magazine, Jasad.
Alia Al Mansoori – Aspiring Scientist and Astronaut @alia.a.almansoori
The bright mind behind “Emirati Astronaut,” a platform that provides a space for aspiring astronauts to connect with veterans of space flight to connect, Alia Al Mansoori is one to watch. Smashing gender stereotypes, following her passion, and reaching for the stars, Alia has also become the youngest person ever to be appointed Scientific Research Fellow at New York University in Abu Dhabi.
Nayla Al Khaja – The UAE's First Film Producer and Director @naylaalkhaja
Being the UAE’s first ever film producer and director, and a woman at that, is no easy feat, but above all odds, Nayla Al Khaja has commanded a space for herself in the creative sector. Having received numerous awards for directing off-the-table films and became the first woman to have founded her own production company in UAE, D-Seven Motion Pictures, Al Khaja’s film Arabana, focused around the topic of child abuse, was released at DIFF in 2007 to great acclaim. In the same year, she was also named the Best Emirati Filmmaker.
Zahra Lari – Figure Skater @zahralari
Zahra Lari is the the first Emirati Hijabi figure skater to compete internationally, and has since inspired many Arab to take up careers that they have a passion and talent for – no matter how unconventional. After having been featured in Nike’s pro-hijab campaign, Lari proved that she could inspire muslim women to take up sports without having to compromise their modesty.
Ingie Chalhoub - Fashion Magnate @ingieparis
Regardless of being a fashion icon in her own right, she went beyond designing a collection or launching her own fashion line – she established a conglomerate, The Etoile Group which is noted as the leading lifestyle fashion purveyor in the region. Having been responsible for opening the first ever Chanel boutique in the Middle East in 1983, she went on to launch numerous other fashion houses in the region, including TOD's, Valentino and John Galliano, to name just a few! Ingie also sits on the board of Dubai International Fashion Week and has been ranked 85th in Arabian Business' list of the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women.