Industry: Banking and finance
Company: Gulf One Investment Bank
Country: Saudi Arabia
Saudi-born Dr Nahed Taher is the only woman in the Gulf to head up a bank. Gulf One Investment bank, which she co-founded in 2005, has financed the construction of several key projects in the region including the airport terminals that serve pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Taher has broken the glass ceiling on more than one occasion. She turned down a high powered job with the International Monetary Fund to return home, eager “to do something for my own country” before being hired as the first woman by the National Commercial Bank. Taher is also a strong advocate for a greater role for women in the kingdom, although she has also criticised some members of her gender for not working hard enough.
“Women should work harder to make their economy better, especially now when you have high unemployment and high poverty in such a rich country,” Taher told Bloomberg in 2011.
“They should be part of the solution. If you ask some women if they want to work, you’d be surprised. They don’t want to. Men need to open doors, but things have to start from the woman herself.”