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22 Arab Women That Left A Mark in 2022

And here’s to another year of celebrating the power that is an Arab woman!

As we wrap up another year, we want to take the chance to recognize individuals that have left a mark on society in one way or another. Individuals that have dedicate their lives, career, and probably even free time to create an impact.

From sports to space, from fashion to food, here are the 22 Arab women that inspired us this year to reach beyond the realm and achieve our wildest dreams.

1 of 22
Ghadah W. Al Harthi

Having spent the past 10 years in establishing partnerships in arts and culture between UK and the Gulf region, Saudi PhD holder Ghada W. Al Harthi has received an The Rawabi Holding Award in London where her job is as a senior cultural consultant for companies who have project in the GCC. The cultural specialist has also announced plans that she will be launching a cultural initiative this year. So stay tuned!

2 of 22
Fatimah Al Ghamdi

With women, we know the sky is the limit. Fatimah Al Ghamdi was one of the first Saudi female pilots to be trained by Aramco this year to fly. The young pilot was one of the women to be trained, sponsored, and employed by the Saudi oil company, and with that, she has blazed the trail for many women after her.

3 of 22
Mariam Saleh Binladen

Mariam Saleh Binladen is a Saudi swimmer who has broken a record this year of crossing the Red Sea. The endurance swimmer completed a 4-hour, 9 km swim from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. This isn’t a first for the athlete as she has many awards and records in her career, including being the first ever woman to swim the entire River Thames in London. She also dedicates her time in helping Syrian refugees and raising awareness on their cause.

4 of 22
Lina Abu Akleh

Lina Abu Akleh, prominent Palestinian activist, was featured in Time100 Next list for 2022 that highlighted 100 up-and-coming front-runners who are acting as crucial components of forming the future of politics, activism, science, business, entertainment, and more. Lina has spent this year meeting with American lawmakers, and conducting interviews to campaign for her aunt, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was died while covering an Israeli military aid.

5 of 22
Mishaal Ashemimry

Other than being one of the most prominent women in Saudi Arabia in the field of aerospace engineer and the first to join NASA, Mishaal has yet another achievement to her name this year. She is the first Saudi woman to be elected as one of The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) 12 vice presidents.

6 of 22
Reem Al Hashimy

Reem Al Hashimy was the first Emirati woman to deliver a speech at the UN General Assembly for the United Arab Emirates. In her speech, she mentioned how UAE was prepared to be part of the new international order to setting peace, recovery, and prosperity all over the world.

7 of 22
Soudade Kaadan

Soudade Kaadan is a Syrian filmmaker who won an Audience Award at the Venice Film Festival this year. Her movie, Nezouh, which means “migration” in Arabic, talked about the story of women who were dislocated in Damascus because of war, and it was shot between the UK, Syria, and France.

8 of 22
Leila Hoteit

Leila Hoteit is the Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG. She was the BCG’s only female senior partner in the Middle East in 2021, and with her leadership she has expanded BCG’s social impact practiceby more than 60% in the past years. The Lebanese powerhouse also is the global lead of Boston Consulting Group's education, employment, and welfare sector. 

9 of 22
Sara Sabri

Sara Sabri is the first Egyptian citizen to travel into outer space aboard the New Shepard, by Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company. Sabri also happens to be part of a project, “Space for Humanity”, whose goal is to provide “affordable access to space for non-astronauts”. The astronaut is also the creator of the Society for the Promotion of Space Research.

10 of 22
Sally El Hosaini

If you’ve been on Netflix recently that you for sure have stumbled upon Sally El Hosaini’s masterpiece of a movie. Sally is the Egyptian filmmaker who directed “The Swimmer”, a heart wrenching story about two Syrian sisters who escape the way and go on to create amazing paths.

11 of 22
Ons Jabeur

Ons Jabeur is the first Arab tennis player to quality for the Wimbledon semifinals the past year. The Tunisian athlete is ranked 2nd in the world and has won the biggest title of her career at the Women’s Tennis Association 1000 event in Madrid, also making her the first Arab/African woman to win that.

12 of 22
Sarah Brahim

Sarah Brahim is one of the up-and-coming artists in the kingdom who has left a mark on the scene the past year. Her work is thought provoking, performative, and rather innovative in Saudi Arabia, as she is own of the few who adopt this approach. Her work has been featured in Noor Riyadh this year as well.

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Sheikha Asma Al Thani

No mountain is high enough for women, as Sheikha Asma Al Thani climbed Mount Everest this year and was the first Qatari woman to do so. Her journey had taken one month and 10 days before she reached the peak with her team. She was awarded the GCC Excellence Decoration for her influence and support of Qatari youth.

14 of 22
Sarah Al-Akour

Sarah Al Akour is the first Saudi woman to be a sport commentator at camel races in the kingdom. She was actually chosen between 27 applicants at the Golden Commentator competition with charismatic attitude and adept skill at communicating. Here’s to seeing more women on the screen!

15 of 22
Ghizlane Sahli

Ghizlane Sahli, Moroccan textile artist and designer, was nominated for an international luxury design competition, “Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge”. She now continues her stunning work alongside local Moroccan women specialized in craftsmanship. Sahli’s work is grounded in finding new ways of experimenting with silk thread.

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Dr. Hanan Al Ahmadi

Saudi Shoura council members, Dr. Hanan Al Ahmadi has won the International Award for Exceptional Achievement from Tulane University. Other than being a prominent figure in the council, Dr. Al Ahmadi has been a central figure in enhancing the lives of Saudi women all over the kingdom.

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Aseel Al Omran

Aseel Al Omran made fashion history this year as she became the first ambassador from the Middle East to represent Dior, the luxury fashion house. Omran is a successful Saudi actress and singer, and also is keen on practicing philanthropy whenever she can.

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Tala Bashmi

Bahraini chef, Tala Bashmi was named Best Female Chef of 2022 at MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 awards ceremony. Tala’s dynamic cooking skills and captivating personality is what makes her one of the most loved chefs in the region. The culinary artist is also the founder and patronne chef at Fusions by Tala, one of the most stylish rooftops in Manama, Bahrain.

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Dania Akeel

Dania Akeel is the first Saudi women to race at the Dakar Rally, an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation that is being held in Saudi Arabia since 2020. She was also the first Saudi woman to acquire the racing license and participate in the challenge in the kingdom.

20 of 22
Celine Semaan

Celine Semaan is Lebanese designer, writer, advocate, and founder of The Slow Factory, an establishment that sheds light on the “intersecting crises of climate justice and social inequity”. She is considered one of the pioneers when it comes to sustainable fashion and sustainability in the region and the United States.

21 of 22
Sharifa Yateem

Sharifa Yateem, founder of Sharifa Yateem Consulting, is the first Emirati women to be occupy the role of Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Sharifa’s experience and career is grounded in autism and helping train educators, nannies, parents, siblings, and anyone else that is in the life of a person with autism. The specialist is an active a part of the Emirati community that helps individuals with special needs. Her work mainly revolves around integrating these individuals into society and helping them contribute to the economy.

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Dana Al-Sulaiman

Dr. Dana Al Sulaiman left her mark in 2022 by creating a cancer-detecting chip and receiving the recognition of “Innovators Under 35”. This technology the Saudi doctor designed is important not only in its function of detecting cancer cells in the body, but also because of its non-invasive method.

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