Country of residence: United Arab Emirates
Since she was a teenager, Mariam Al Mansouri dreamed of becoming a pilot for the Emirati armed forces. She fulfilled that goal, and in 2014 became the UAE’s first female fighter pilot when she led missions against ISIL in Syria. Her exploits with a squadron of F-16 fighter jets have made international headlines and trended on social media, helping to further enhance her reputation but also the dreams of other women.
One of eight children, Al Mansouri has always been a trailblazer. She excelled at school and graduated with a 93 percent average before attending United Arab Emirates University to study English literature.
She graduated from Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College in 2006 and joined the air force in 2007, the year it began accepting female cadets.