Industry: Culture and society
Company: UN Population Fund
Designation: Former executive director
Country: Saudi Arabia
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid is the third woman on our list to be elected to Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council. She was also the first Saudi national to head a UN agency when she took over as executive director of the UN Population Fund and under-secretary of the United Nations in 2000. Obaid served ten years as executive director before leaving the post to become the chair of the WLP’s board of directors. Obaid is renowned for her work with governments to establish programmes to empower women. On taking up her role in the Shura Council, Obaid said that “the perspective of women is integral to discussions” and promised to focus on youth unemployment.