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Trailblazers: The Saudi Women Who Paved The Way For The Rest

Despite Saudi Arabia’s progress towards gender equity, Saudi women are often portrayed as weak and passive. These bold women have broken the mold and are showing women everywhere what they are capable of.

Hanadi Zakaria al-Hindi, Commercial Airline Pilot
This trailblazer is the first Saudi woman to become a commercial airline pilot. To pass that milestone, she worked as the pilot of Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s private jet, and he even spoke at her graduation in 2014, saying that he is “in full support of Saudi ladies working in all fields.”

Raha Moharrak, Mountain Climber
A young graphic designer, Raha Moharrak is not your typical mountain climber. She decided she was going to climb Mount Everest and in one year, scaled eight mountains. In 2013, she stood at the top of the world, but she faced some adversity.
"One person actually said 'What is Barbie doing on the mountain?' and I said: 'Don't let the Disney princess hair fool you,'" she told CNN.

Somayya Jabarti, Editor-in-Chief of Saudi Gazette
Somayya Jabarti became the first woman editor-in-chief of a Saudi national newspaper in 2014. With more than 10 years of experience in the industry, she worked as the newspaper’s executive editor, managing editor and deputy editor-in-chief – and was the first Saudi women to hold those positions in the country as well. She was listed among Arabian Business’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2014 and 2015. The outgoing editor-in-chief of the Saudi Gazette had this to say about her promotion, “It was not a question of gender but of merit that decided and earned her this opportunity.”

Haifa al-Hababi, Municipal Election Candidate
One of the most recent changes in Saudi policy was the inclusion of women as voters and candidates for office. In 2015, Haifa al-Hababi became the first woman to register as a candidate, and campaigned with her face uncovered. Though she didn’t win, she opened the door so that other political hopefuls could cross through. “I'm not looking at it as a woman or a man — I'm looking at it as an equal,” she told NBC News. “For me, it's an opportunity for the whole country to participate."

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