Most Powerful Emirati women: In pictures
A selection of photos of a few of the most powerful Emirati women in our list
Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group\n\nRaja Easa Al Gurg wears many hats. Not only is she the managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, the firm of which her father is chairman, but she is also president of the Dubai Business Women’s Council.\nAl Gurg is also deputy chairperson of the board of directors at Dubai Healthcare City Authority, and a board member at both the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Dubai Women’s Council. She is also a member of the Dubai Economic Council, the Arab International Women’s Forum, the National Advisory Council and the College of Business Sciences.\nShe represents the UAE at many international conferences and roundtables as a keynote speaker and is also part of the Government of Dubai’s official delegation for various trade and commerce meetings.\nBesides providing valuable counsel to various business groups and international trade alliances, Al Gurg spends considerable time in several philanthropic, social and charitable activities, notably with the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Charity Foundation. Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade\n\nIs it tough at the top? Ask Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. For the second year running, the UAE’s first female minister tops our women’s power list. And it’s not just any ministerial position; Sheikha Lubna’s brief involves promoting greater trade ties with international partners, which is a vital part of the UAE’s diversification strategy.\nThe Emirati national’s background lies in IT; she won plaudits for developing a system that slashed cargo turnaround times at Dubai airport, and in 2000 founded Tejari, the Middle East’s first business-to-business online marketplace. The firm, which is now one of Dubai World’s most successful units, has franchises across the Middle East and was initially funded by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, and prime minister of the UAE. Sheikha Lubna was appointed to her first ministerial post in November 2004 – becoming Minister of Economy and Planning, before taking the Minister of Foreign Trade brief afterwards.\nIn January, Sheikha Lubna met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss enhanced trade ties. The Gulf country is already the largest export market for US goods in the Middle East. The minister is also currently working hard to sign off the US Middle East Free Trade Area by next year. But amidst her whirlwind tours around the world, Sheikha Lubna has still managed to retain her own business interests, which have included setting up a perfume line. The minister also sits on the board of directors at the Dubai Chamber for Commerce and Industry, and is on the board at the National US Arab Chamber of Commerce. Dr Amina Al Rustamani, CEO, TECOM Business Parks\n\nMany in Dubai will be familiar with the name Dr Amina Al Rustamani, the CEO of TECOM Business Parks, the umbrella organisation for nine of Dubai’s free zones.\nAl Rustamani joined TECOM in 2001 as a project engineer for Samacom and quickly moved up the ranks, taking control of Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City and International Media Production Zone as the executive director of media for TECOM Investments. She is a board member of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI), and also sits on the boards of Lamtara, Tunisia Telecom and the Dubai Holding Audit Committee. Al Rustamani has also played a significant role in establishing Dubai International Film Festival and is a regular contributor to leading technical journals in the fields of wireless technology around the world. Fatima Al Jaber, COO, Al Jaber Group\n\nIn her position as chief operating officer of the Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group, Fatima Al Jaber oversees more than 50,000 staff and manages around $4.9bn in assets.\nThe conglomerate, which has built a number of iconic projects across the UAE, was founded by her father, Obaid Al Jaber, 40 years ago. Prior to her appointment at the firm four years ago Al Jaber had a hugely successful career at the public works department at Abu Dhabi Municipality. She is a regular speaker at business conferences across the region as well as a high profile ambassador for women in the workplace. She is also fiercely proud of the opportunities available for Emirati women. “Everything is there; if a woman wants to start a business she can. If she wants to work in government, she can find a job. If she wants to study, there are all sorts of education venues and places to study. The choices are all there,” she told CEO Middle East last year. Al Jaber became the first Emirati woman to be elected to the board of directors at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce in December 2009. Salma Hareb, CEO JAFZA and EZW\n\nFormer lab technologist Salma Hareb studied for diplomas in IT and business while also holding down a job at Dubai’s Department of Health before she decided on a change of career. In 1997, she started working as a planner for Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA), the operator of one of Dubai’s busiest free zones. Hareb quickly moved up the ranks and in 2005 was appointed the CEO of JAFZA and its parent company Economic Zones World. The new title saw her become the first woman in the Middle East to lead a free zone. Nayla Al Khaja, Film Maker and Owner, D-SEVEN\n\nNayla Al Khaja, the UAE’s first ever female filmmaker, has already made three short features in her brief career.\nOne of Al Khaja’s films won a prize at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2007. In addition, the Emirati has also set up her own production company (D-SEVEN), and she also heads up the UAE’s first official film club.\nAl Khaja’s career choice coupled with her willingness to tackle taboo subjects has often led to controversy. Her last short film, which was released in 2010, took a look at the issues raised by arranged marriages. In ‘Malal’, a young Emirati couple visit Kerala on a honeymoon that is soured by the wife’s boredom with her new husband. In January she told Arabian Business she thinks she has ‘mellowed’ somewhat. Her first feature — which tells the story of a young Arab girl and a British traveller’s chance meeting in the deserts near Hatta in the 1960s — is currently on the drawing board. Noura Al Kaabi, Board Member, Abu Dhabi Media Company\n\nNoura Al Kaabi is a board member of Abu Dhabi Media Company, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Flash Entertainment. She also sits on the Advisory Board for Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation and Tawteen, an initiative by Emirates Foundation. Al Kaabi joined twofour54, an Abu Dhabi media free zone, in 2007 during its start-up stages. Al Kaabi is likely to soar up the ranking next year’s list as it was recently announced she will take over as CEO of twofour54 from incumbent Tony Orsten in April. Salma Al Baloushi, First Officer, Etihad Airways\n\nKnown as ‘the Amelia Earhart of the Middle East’, Al Baloushi is the first Emirati female to rise to the rank of first officer at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. At just 24 years old, her achievement earned her an entry in The 100 Greatest Women in Aviation, a book looking at women’s contribution to the growing sector.\n“I can only hope my accomplishment encourages many of my Emirati sisters and brothers to push the boundaries and reach their goals,” she said. Hind Seddiqi, Vice President, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons\n\nHind Seddiqi is considered a role-model for Emirati women in the workforce – breaking with tradition to become the first female family member to join the corporate office of Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. After graduating, Seddiqi joined Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons with a humble beginning as an intern; her vision saw her rise through the company. One of the lynchpins to her success has been educating the market on the art of watchmaking, particularly the craftsmanship and precision which goes into the industry. Dr Maryam Matar, Founder, Chairman, UAE Genetic Diseases Association\n\nMaryam Matar is one of the UAE’s finest public servants. After working in several public health positions, Matar launched a series of outreach initiatives, including ‘UAE Free of Thalassemia 2012’. She has also launched the UAE Down’s Syndrome Association in 2005 and the UAE Genetic Diseases Association in 2006. Matar was the first Emirati woman to hold the director general in the Dubai government, at the Community Development Authority. She is the deputy chairwoman of Dubai Cares. Wedad Lootah, Author\n\nWedad Lootah is an Emirati marriage counsellor working for Dubai’s main courthouse, and the author of the Arabic-language sex guide Top Secret: Sexual Guidance for Married Couples, published in 2009. She caused a controversy by discussing sensitive topics in the book. Although her frankness earned praise from liberal Muslims, it also drew death threats from fundamentalists who consider the book blasphemous and her “an infidel, and a sinner”.