92nd Saudi National Day: 92 Inspiring Saudi Women To Note
Let’s take a moment to celebrate these Saudi women that are putting the Kingdom on the global map.
Happy Saudi National day! Throughout the year, we make it our mission to celebrate Saudi and Arab women that break glass ceilings and lead influential careers. Today, we round up only some examples: 92 Saudi women on the occasion of the 92nd anniversary of this national day. From all walks of life, these trailblazers continue to redefine what it means to be a Saudi woman today and inspire younger generations to seize opportunities. Our power list features doctors, artists, scientists, engineers, diplomats, and all-around changemakers.
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.
Her Royal Highness Princess Adela bint Abdullah Al Saud
Her Royal Highness Princess Adela bint Abdullah Al Saud is an avid advocate for female empowerment in the kingdom. She is often seen on panels and at events where she speaks out on social issues such as allowing for girls to participate in sporting events at school, and diminishing domestic violence. Her voice has been instrumental in helping to make society a safe place for women. Moreover, she is the founding member and chairperson of Sanad Charitable Society to Support Children with Cancer and president of the National Charitable Foundation for Home Health Care in Jeddah and is the first Arab woman noted to support women’s rights in the country.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud
Princess Reema has been a pioneer when it comes to raising awareness about breast cancer in Saudi Arabia. Supporting Saudi’s Vision 2030, this royal is also keen on seeing more and more women becoming financially independent by joining the country’s workforce. In 2020, Princess Reema also became the first female to be Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States. She has also been a member of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee since 2017 and International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2018.
Her Royal Highness Princess Moudi bint Khalid Al Saud
Princess Moudi is someone that has been making charitable contributions to the community for over 3 decades. She has tirelessly worked for the kingdom by leading a number of remarkable initiatives, including her role as the secretary-general of the Down Syndrome Guardian Association, the secretary-general of the King Khaled Charitable Foundation and the Al-Nadha Women’s Charitable Society. One of her greatest goals is to keep empowering women and giving them a voice.
Her Royal Highness Princess Adwa bint Fahad Al Saud
Princess Adwa is an ambassador of Global Peace and Goodwill, and has been a trailblazer in the field of community work in the Arab world. A cultural leader and humanitarian, she’s known in Saudi Arabia as the ‘Princess of Humanity’ for her work in implementing the rights of the disabled, orphans and elderly. She has also received much recognition and awards for her work, including a lifetime membership by The Federal Organization of Friends of the United Nations and an honorary doctorate from the College of British Studies.
Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Mohammed Al Saud
Her Royal Highness Princess Haifa Al-Faisal Al Saud is the assistant minister for Tourism at the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and plays a significant role in launching regulations and policies within the local industry. She also sits on the board of directors at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), Qiddiya, the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and the Tourism Development Council (TDC).
Sarah Abu Abdallah
Sarah Abu Abdallah is a Saudi Arabian artist known for utilizing video as a form of art and expression. Many of her works have been featured in exhibitions both regionally and globally, including works such as Saudi Automobil, The Salad Zone, For the First Time in a Long Time, and several others. She is also a recipient of the Sharjah Art Foundation production program grant in 2016, and shortlisted artist for Abraaj Art Prize in 2017.
Abu Abdallah was raised in Qatif, Saudi Arabia where she currently lives and works. She holds a Master's degree in Digital Media Art Studies from Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA, and a BFA from The College of Art and Design at University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Saudi Arabian, Doha Abualsaud, is a Lecturer and a research consultant at DarAlhekma University in the kingdom and a member of the Centre for Research in Professional Learning. She holds a BA in English Literature and Linguistics, and an MA in English literature from Marshall University in Huntington, WV. Abualsaud also holds an MSc degree in educational research and her doctorate dissertation is an ethnographic study into understanding the emotional experiences of female teachers in secondary schools.
Being a leading female academic, Doha Abualsaud recently chaired an international research session based on higher education at the renowned, University College London (UCL). Currently, she is the vice dean of student affairs at the Jeddah based University of Business and Technology and helped in leading conversations at the European Conference on Education.
Sheila Alrowaily is the first woman to join the Saudi Central Bank's (SAMA) board of directors. The former executive at Saudi Aramco brings with her over 20 years of experience in trading and investment, with her new position being seen as a growing trend of female leaderships in finance across the Kingdom.
Afnan Al-Shuaiby is a Saudi national and former Secretary General and Chief Executive of the Arab British Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) in London, England. She has held various positions in Saudi Arabia in education, and foreign companies in the USA. Dr. Al-Shuaiby also worked as Advisor to the President of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council in Washington, D.C. and is a member of the Board of Directors of the London-based Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF). She was named "Diplomat of the Year" for the Middle East in 2011 in recognition of her achievements as a foreign diplomat in London by Diplomat Magazine.
Amira Al Zuhair
Amira Al Zuhair is a fashion model who is proud of representing Saudi heritage which, since childhood, has served as a sentimental connection to her late father. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Paris, she began venturing into the fashion industry as a model. Currently, she is represented by the Elite Modeling Agency Network, and she also maintains a social media presence. Via Instagram, for instance, she occasionally shares updates on her photoshoots, as well as featuring products from reputable fashion brands.
Shahad Salman is proving that dreams do come true by breaking down stereotypes in the Saudi fashion industry. As a fashion model and influencer, this native of Mecca is well-known for her message of self-love and living life as one's true self. Having been inspired by Winnie Harlow, Salman had gained experience as a model throughout her early years and, even despite having vitiligo, she has been celebrated and featured on major publications and billboards.
Taleedah Tamer is the first Saudi model to walk at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, as well as being featured in international magazines. Growing up as a child with talented parents, she had her first experience modeling at the age of 10, and would go on to pursue a career in the fashion industry. In 2018, she modeled for Korloff, and then Rubaiyat, and Bazaar. This was around the same point in time when she took her first walk at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Currently, Tamer is also a fashion influencer on Instagram, with Zineta Blank managing her account.
Dr. Mariam Binladen
To raise awareness about Syria’s refugee crisis, Dr. Mariam Bin Laden became the only woman in history to swim the entire length of London’s River Thames, which is around 177km long. The images of the Syrian crisis saddened yet motivated her to swim across the English Channel. Dentist, Athlete, and Humanitarian, Dr. Mariam is glad to see that life in Saudi Arabia is changing for Saudi women for the better, the dentist advocates a number of humanitarian causes, including opening the first dental practice at a hospital site in Jordan’s Al Azraq Refugee Camp in 2016 – which is also free of charge for patients.
Passionate about the movie industry, Jumana Shaheen has come leaps and bounds as a Visual Effects Producer. With people underestimating her due to her age, she defied the opinions of others and focused on her passions. After proving herself, she went on to produce visual effects for high profile TV shows and music videos, including Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” video, comedy shows Black-ish and Modern Family. Jumana doesn’t stop there when it comes to being a positive representative of Saudi women, she wants to break the negative perception that the world has about Saudi women.
Najla Al Radadi
This Saudi scientist has 2 patents in the field of oncology treatment. Her invention is a nanoparticle derived from Saudi date extract, and it contributes to the treatment of cancer cells.
Sarah AlMaddah is the perfect example of the muliti-disipilinary creativity that’s flourishing amongst Saudi Arabia’s youth. The Dhahran-based architect, artist and graphic designer finds happiness in crafting beautiful things, from paintings and sculptures to music.
Fashion photographer Hayat Osamah has made a name for herself while creating a thought-provoking perspective on Saudi Arabia. The Riyadh-based self-taught snapper is committed to showing a more diverse and truthful side to the Kingdom by capturing its underground youth culture. Osamah simply loves to zoom in on those who are “raw, unique and themselves,” as she told “Grazia Middle East.”
Hala Al-Hamrani is a certified boxing trainer with a black belt in Jujutsu, which she earned at the age of 16. She has also founded a gym, FLAG Boxing - Fight Like a Girl, where she trains women in self-defense and other forms of boxing and martial arts.
Setting up a plan to start a bakery café in Jeddah, Chef Amna does not only want to create delicious treats, but empowering other women to reach their full potential is inlcuded in her plans as well. This Saudi chef holds a BA in Hospitality Management and Marketing from the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and a basic patisserie certificate from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She also holds a MBA degree from IESE and experience in a bread factory in Paris. With all her extensive knowledge and practice, Amna's plan is up-and-coming and ready to be in full action by September.
Dr. Haleema Alamri
Dr. Haleema Alamri is a senior lab scientist in the Materials Design Lab at Saudi Aramco’s R&D Center. The mother of two, who earned a PhD in chemistry from KAUST, is an MIT research affiliate and the chair to the female Saudi social innovation group. She and her Aramco team are committed to formulating plastics that degrade organically. Dr. Haleema is working to develop the next generation of degradable plastics, so that when these materials are used in future applications, they will not become planet-impacting litter.
Abeer AlJabr joined Saudi Aramco in July 2017 to work as an engineer in the company’s Fire Protection Department (FrPD). Becoming Pro Board certified in Firefighter I and II with a NFPA Certification, the Saudi female trailblazer underwent rigorous physical training and passed medical and skill tests to complete the Hazmat Awareness and Hazmat Operations.
Esra M. Alhabshi
Since graduating in 2016 with Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Nanotechnology and Microsystems, Esra M. Alhabshi has worked at Saudi Aramco’s satellite R&D Center, as a member of the Sustainable Energy team, in collaboration with KAUST. She conducts experiment after experiment, working to improve the efficiency of solar cells and researching the use of non-metallics. Her work focuses on unlocking the potentials of non-corrosive materials in the automotive, construction, renewable energy and packaging industries.
Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Dr. Ahmed joined Saudi Aramco in 2018 as a lab scientist on the Produced Water Treatment Team (PWT), which is a part of the Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s R&D’s center. She is one of the project leaders on a team of around 10 scientists who work on research projects for different produced water treatment technologies. Dr. Ahmed pursued her bachelor’s degree Microbiology from King Abdulaziz University and her Master’s degree and PhD in Environmental Science and Engineering from King Abdullah University of Science a.nd Technology (KAUST).
Dr. Ghadah Al Harthi
Dr. Ghadah AlHarthi is a Middle East specialist & associate lecturer in innovation management at Central Saint Martins. For the past 8 years she collaborated with art supporters in the MENA region to promote young and established artists from the Middle East. AlHarthi is also a cultural consultant working alongside Barker Langham across their Middle East projects specialising in research and curation.
Haifa Al Mansour
An empowering voice for women in the Kingdom, Haifa Al Mansour is the first Saudi woman filmmaker spreading her talent nationwide, and abroad. Death threats, public heckling, and controversies restricted her career. Obstacles didn’t stop Al Mansour of becoming a powerful Arab influencer with the mission of changing the way the world sees Saudi women. Her compelling first feature film “Wadjda” was the KSA’s first submission to the 2014 Oscars, under the category of Best Foreign Language Oscar.
Dr Alia Komsany
Born and raised in the UK, Dr Alia Komsany, who has spent time in Saudi, where her late father was from, is an inspiration all female sports lovers can turn to. While doing her DPhil in Medical Science at Linacre College in Oxford, Kosmany, a former amateur show jumper, was introduced to rowing. After immediately falling in love with the sport, she continued to perfect her technique while specialising in cancer and angiogenesis. In order to compete against taller, more experienced and heavier women, she has had to go the extra mile and take up activities like powerlifting.. Kosmany, who advocates equality of opportunity, represents and encourages Muslim women all over the world to get active. And she credits the women who are involved in sports for doing the best they can to elevate things to the next level.
Barrah Luhaid’s passion for sports, especially cycling, guided her to be an entrepreneur. As well as launching the first abaya made especially for cycling in the Kingdom, Luhaid is the Co-Founder of Spokes Hub. The cycling shop and community in Dhahran, which has a café and workshops, is the first gender-inclusive one in the Kingdom. Spokes Hub won a national competition for start-ups and has been endorsed by Princess Reema bin Bandar bin Saud. Luhaid, who is a board member of the Saudi Cycling Federation, is always encouraging women via sports and believes hard work is what yields results. “When I advocate for women’s cycling, I’m advocating for women’s independence,” she is quoted as saying in “Harper’s BAZAAR Arabia.”
After her first CrossFit class, Amal Baatia became hooked and went on to become the first Saudi Arabian female to teach it in the Kingdom, leaving behind an investment manager position in the process. After training and learning the right techniques online and abroad, the mother of two is now a full-time fitness coach, who also teaches weightlifting and other fitness activities. With a passion to inspire women and girls, she shows how empowering gaining physical strength and having a positive self-image can be. Baatia, who shares workout videos on social media, has been a sports enthusiast since she joined her school gymnastics team when she was 10.
In the age of unimaginable beauty standards, it’s women staying true to themselves that we love to embrace. Meet Abeer Sinder, the first black beauty and health vlogger in the Kingdom that champions beauty through her identity. Best part? The Saudi influencer is not one to glorify teatoxes, skin bleaching products but is a hardcore fan of inclusive beauty brands.
This hijab-wearing sensation has built herself her own social media empire! With 1.4 million followers on Instagram, Amy Roko deconstructs stereotypes on the niqab and tackles the social realities of Saudi Women. How? It’s throughout skits and jokes in bite-sized format.
Ever dream of climbing Mount Everest? Meet the youngest Arab and the Saudi woman to do it. Behold Raha Moharrak, an incredibly inspirational Saudi woman that keeps us goin’. Her ambition didn’t just stop at Everest, Raha climbed up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kala Pattar, Pico de Orizaba, and Iztacchihuatl.
Hatoon Al Kadi
Hatoon Kadi is arguably the Kingdom’s most prominent comedy forces with an impressive reach. She hosts a popular YouTube comedy show called “Noon al-Niswa”, which earned itself millions of fans from the region. Over the years, Kadi successfully conveyed serious messages through two powerful weapons: comedy and sarcasm. When she’s not busy grappling society one joke at a time, Kadi is a mother of two and a lecturer at Jeddah’s Dar Al-Hekma University and the School of Business and Law.
The 29-year-old diver, who has been diving since 2009, spends her days exploring the glimmering turquoise waters of the Red Sea. A pioneer in the field, Alosaimi holds a local record for the deepest dive by a Saudi female at 345 feet (105 meters). The public figure recently headed up the campaign for Nike’s hijabi swimwear collection. As founder of Pink Bubbles and Disconnect KSA, which since their establishment has been targeting female divers and non-divers, encouraging them to start scuba diving while also spreading awareness around the sport.
Mariam Fardous is the first Arab to dive in the North Pole, and the 3rd woman in the world to do so. She has a master scuba diver certification from the Blue Reef Divers in Jeddah, and has trained in specialized diving techniques in Russia. She also has 2 Master’s degrees in pediatrics from London and epidemiology from Riyadh.
Aseel Al Hamad
Aseel Al Hamad is KSA’s representative of Women Motorsport. She is the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation and is a member of the International Automobile federation.
Dalma Malhas is the first Saudi woman to win an Olympic medal. She won the bronze medal in the singles jump at the 2010 Summer Youth Games in Singapore. Malhas, who speaks French as well as her native Arabic and English, was briefly slated to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as her bronze medal qualified her for an International Olympic Committee wildcard. Had she taken part, she would have earned a place in the Olympics history book as the first female show jumper to participate for Saudi Arabia. However, she did become the first woman to represent Saudi Arabia at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron, which took place in 2018 and participated in Diriyah’s Equestrian Festival
Dana Al Shahri
Dana Al-Shahri is a track athlete who represented KSA at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, the 2018 Arab Women’s Games in Sharjah, UAE, and the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Dana Shahri ran two races in less than five days, the 400 and 200-meter races.
Sarah Attar is a runner that participated in the 2012 Olympic Games held in London. She also participated in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and was ranked 8th.
Norah Almarri is the frst female Taekwando athlete to represent the kingdom in Taikwando in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. She has also competed in several international competitions.
Lubna Olayan is the CEO of Olayan Financing Co. and one of the most famous Saudi women in business and finance. She holds and manages all of Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group's businesses and investments across the Middle East.
Olayan also serves as a board member of several other companies such as Saudi Hollandi Bank, Rolls Royce Group, and Schlumberger. She studied in America and holds an MBA from Indiana University and a B.Sc. in Agriculture from Cornell University. Olayan was also named one of Forbes’ most powerful Arab women in the world.