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6 Most Powerful Egyptian Women in 2012

CEO Middle East Magazine revealed its list of the top 100 most powerful Arab women, including six women from Egypt.
Arabian Business | 14.05.2012
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi has topped CEO Middle East magazine’s list of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women for the second year running.

The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Trade beat Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkul Karman to rank in first place.

Among the other notable public figures that made it on to the countdown was Princess Ameerah Al Taweel, wife of HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who was the list’s highest ranking newcomer in fourth place.

Out of the top 100, 43 were from a culture and society background, with the likes of Emirati film maker Nayla Al Khaja, Lebanese singer Fairuz and Arab Business Women’s Council Sheikha Hessa Bint Saad Abdullah Salem Al Sabah also featuring.

1. Nawal ElSaadawi (Rank 21):

Nawal Al Saadawi is famous for her 60-year long campaign against female genital mutilation. The Egyptian feminist, writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist has written more than 70 books tackling problems faced by women in Egypt. In 1972, Al Saadawi published Women and Sex, for which she lost her job as a director at the Egyptian Ministry of Health, and in the 1980s she was jailed for three months for “crimes against the state”. She is currently writing a novel about the Egyptian revolution.

2. Sahar ElSallab (Rank 29):

Sahar Al Sallab is perhaps Egypt’s top female financier. Between 1981 and 2008, Al Sallab served as vice chairwoman and managing director of Commercial International Bank (CIB), the largest private-sector bank in the country. She then served in the government as a deputy minister for trade until March 2010. Right now, Al Sallab is the chairperson of HitekNOFAL, a family-owned business that works in hi-tech solutions and engineering. She has a degree from the American University in Beirut.

3. Dalia Mogahed (Rank 32):

Egyptian-born Dalia Mogahed was propelled onto the international spotlight when she became the first Muslim veiled woman to be appointed to a position in the White House.
Mogahed was selected as an advisor to US president Barack Obama on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighbourhood Partnerships in 2009. Mogahed also heads up the Gallup American Centre for Muslim Studies, a non-governmental research centre that provides data-driven analysis on the views of Muslim populations around the world, and is the co-author of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. The book, which is based on six years of research and more than 50,000 interviews, represents more than 90 percent of the world’s Muslim’s community, making it the largest most comprehensive poll of its kind. In her role as Gallup scientist, Mogahed is a frequent expert commentator in global media outlets and international forums. She also serves as a Global Expert for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

4. Samira Ibrahim (Rank 47):

Today, 25-year-old Samira Ibrahim is regarded as the woman who has put an end to virginity testing for female prisoners in Egypt. During protests last year, Ibrahim, who was one of 17 women arrested at a rally and later abused, filed a lawsuit against the military-led government for the practice. She won her case and an Egyptian court subsquently banned virginity testing for female detainees. Ibrahim says she has received death threats for her actions, but believes she made the right decision to speak up.

5. Mona ElTahawy (Rank 52):

Mona Eltahawy is one of the foremost female Arab journalists. The 43-year-old New York-based, Egypt-born speaker regularly appears on US television and in newspapers around the globe.

Eltahawy is a columnist for Canada’s Toronto Star, Israel’s The Jerusalem Report and Denmark’s Politiken and writes often for The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. Previously she’d been Cairo and Israel correspondent for Reuters and reported from regions as diverse as Saudi Arabia and China. She was the first Egyptian journalist working for a Western agency in Israel. In 2010, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded her its Special Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism and the Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media at the University of Denver gave her its Anvil of Freedom Award. An active element in last year’s Egyptian revolution, Eltahawy was shockingly assaulted in the Interior Ministry. “When a woman who took part wrote to tell me I’d helped to inspire the march because I’d spoken out on Egyptian TV about my beating and assault, I was finally able to cry. They were the tears of a survivor, not a victim,” she said.

6. Bothaina Kamel (Rank 70):

A long-standing pro-democracy candidate, Bothaina Kamel leapt to international attention last year through her campaign to become Egypt’s first female president. Not new to controversy, Bothaina’s TV and radio shows brought condemnation from religious conservatives. She was a regular element in Tahrir Square last year, and is still frequently seen there, campaigning both against the military junta, and in support of her own presidential bid.

Find out who was on the list in 2011:
About the author: Arabian Business