Saturday, August 27, 2011

Arab Women on Forbes Most Powerful Women Lists 2011

Obama; Merkel; Xin; Nooyi; Sandberg; Gaga

Though all lists are created subject to certain criteria, and have inherent premises or biases, it is a fine tribute to all the women who make Forbes' power lists, and worth noting the Arab women of MENA countries who have been so acknowledged. Much more could be said about each of these women, and about power and stereotypes of powerful women, as in the closing video below, but I will save that for your comments, and for later posts.

The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2011
Forbes Staff

#53 Queen Rania Al Abdullah

At a Glance

Age: 40
Title: Monarch
Residence: Amman, Jordan
Country of citizenship: Jordan
Hometown: Kuwait City, Kuwait
Education: BA/BS, American University
Marital Status: Married
Children: 4


An international celebrity, Queen Rania has become known for her philanthropic work, eye for fashion and upbeat tweets to 1.6 million Twitter followers. The honorary chair of the United Nations Girls' Education Initiative is passionate about education and has led the effort in Jordan to improve classroom quality, teaching standards, computer access and family involvement. Her NGO, the Jordan River Foundation, which she established in 1995 and currently chairs, has partnered with companies like Citigroup and Royal Jordanian Airlines to rescue abused children and help families out of poverty. Earlier this year she faced harsh criticism from tribal leaders, who accused her of corruption and having undue political influence. Her children's book "The Sandwich Swap," advocating cultural tolerance, was published last year and quickly became a New York Times Best Seller.

Profile Gallery: Queen Rania (40 photos)

#63 Lubna S. Olayan

At a Glance

Age: 56
Title: CEO, Olayan Financing Company
Country of citizenship: Saudi Arabia
Education: BA/BS, Cornell University; MBA, Indiana University
Marital Status: Married
Children: 3


As CEO of Olayan Financing, the holding company for The Olayan Group's operations in the Middle East, Lubna Olayan oversees 40 companies engaged in product manufacturing, distribution and services. Olayan Financing is consistently listed among the top ten businesses in Saudi Arabia. In addition to her role as CEO, Olayan is a principal of The Olayan Group, a private multinational enterprise engaged in manufacturing, distribution and services, founded by her father in 1974. She credits her success to her late father, Suliman, who died in 2002; he encouraged her to join the family company in 1983 at a time when few women were welcomed in Saudi business. In 2005, Olayan co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Fifteen Minutes of Power: Women Who (Briefly) Rocked 2011
Meghan Casserly, Forbes Staff
8/25/2011 @ 11:01

Manal al Sharif

The women’s rights activist, 32, inspired a June 2011 campaign to encourage Saudi Arabian women to defy the ban against women driving cars. She was arrested in May and bowed to the Saudi government, confirming she would not attempt to drive again. But her Youtube video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times and led to an internationally-watched day of defiance on June 17th.

Nawal El Saadawi

Women in Egypt clamored for equality even as their country weathered revolution. This fearless activist fought tirelessly—and captured headlines. What role will women play in a post-revolution Egypt?

Power Women: Women To Watch [in 2012]

Nashwa Al Ruwaini
CEO, Pyromedia, UAE Called the Oprah Winfrey of the Arab world. (Photo via Newscom)

Who would you add to the list?
Of which of these women were you aware previously?
What is your impression of each of these women?
How would you define power? women's power?
What are the stereotypes of powerful women in your experience?
Other comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

Related Posts:
فيميو Femeo: An Arabic-English Reference Point, Networking Site, and Community for Women Working in the Middle East


Wendy said...

Interesting lists all ways round!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I admire and am fascinated with Malalai Joya who bravely criticized the war lords and criminals in the corrupt Afghan Parliament. She also has been critica of the Talaban and the American occupation of Afghanistan.
Her courage must be an inspiration to many Afghani Women.


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