Ten inspirational women leaders in Saudi Arabia

Celebrating remarkable Saudi women
Saudi women have led industries, made history, inspired change and left a lasting impact on their communities and their Kingdom. Here is a curated list of 10 Saudi female leaders.

Throughout history, Saudi women have proven their willpower and resilience in countless critical moments. From leading an army to launching a rocket company, Saudi women are at the height of achieving the extraordinary. With the many recent developments in Saudi Arabia, especially with Riyadh being the 2020 capital for Arab women, it’s important to keep track of the influential changes that Saudi women have made in leading their industries. Here is a curated list of powerful 10 Saudi female leaders.

Basmah Al-Mayman. Image source

Basmah Al-Mayman

Basmah is the Middle East Regional Director at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). With almost 20 years of experience in tourism, she worked at the Saudi Commission for Tourism when it first launched. Basmah put in a lot of effort for sites like Al-Ula and Al-Diriyah to be registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites with hopes to preserve Saudi’s historical architecture.

Ghada AlMutairi. Image source

Ghada AlMutairi

Ghada is a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry as well as the Director of Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She received more than 10 patents and countless awards and honors. Ghada is the founder of eLux Medical Inc. and focuses her contributions and inventions on nanomedicine and pharmaceutical sciences.

HRH Princess Haifa Al-Muqrin. Image source

HRH Princess Haifa Al-Muqrin

Princess Haifa is the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She first worked at the Department of Economics at King Saud University, then moved to work at the United Nations Development Program as a project officer. She mainly focuses on social work and promoting friendship and coexistence between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

Lubna AlOlayan. Image source

Lubna AlOlayan

In 2019, Lubna became the Chairperson of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), making her the first Saudi woman to ever lead a bank. She was listed as the Top 100 Most Influential People of 2005 by Time Magazine, and she remains on the Forbes list of the Most Powerful Women to this day. Not only does Lubna focus on business, but she also has countless philanthropic contributions, including being elected to the Board of the Down Syndrome Charitable Association, and many more.

Mishaal Ashemimry. Image source

Mishaal Ashemimry

Mishaal is the first woman in the GCC to ever become an aerospace engineer. She works as a Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Miami. At the age of 26, she established her own rocket company, MISHAAL Aerospace, where she focuses on designing and building rockets to launch small satellites. Mishaal also works on spreading knowledge online, especially on her YouTube channel where she gives introductory talks and useful tips to aspiring youth.

HRH Princess Noura Bint Faisal. Image source

HRH Princess Noura Bint Faisal

Princess Noura Bint Faisal is the founder of Saudi Fashion Week. Aiming to give exposure to local designers, she founded Art Week to enhance their quality of work and reach international standards. The Princess now works as an advisor to the Saudi Ministry of Culture.

Rania Nashar. Image source

Rania Nashar

Rania is the former CEO of Samba Financial Group and part of the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. She began her career with Samba as soon as she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Information Technology from King Saud University. She works nowadays as an advisor at the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar. Image source

HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar

Princess Reema is the first Saudi woman to become the Ambassador to the United States. She is renowned for her vocal advocacy for women empowerment in the Kingdom and has worked in diverse fields to ensure that. Princess Reema is also a permanent member of UNESCO and was nominated to become a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi. Image source

Sarah Al-Suhaimi

Sarah is the first woman to become the Chairperson of Tadawul, established in 2007 and is the largest Saudi stock exchange company in the Middle East. She also worked as the CEO and Board Director of NCB Capital, where the assets under her management had doubled in growth. Sarah attended King Saud University and obtained a Bachelor's degree in Accounting with High Honors. She also completed the General Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2015. In 2017, Bloomberg listed her as one of the 50 People to Watch.

Shihana Alazzaz. Image source

Shihana Alazzaz

Shihana has been the Secretary-General and General Counsel of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) Board of Directors since 2018. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Law with Honors from Durham University and was a practicing lawyer with multiple international law firms for nine years. Shihana delivered countless speeches at conferences as well as some lectures at Harvard University. She was described as the “deal maker” in 2016 and was among the Forbes 2020 list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. Shihana is one of the first Saudi women to practice law professionally and has won the International Financial Law Review’s 2019 Women in Business Law Award. She aims to foster young talents in her field.



Did you enjoy reading this article?

Share your thoughts or questions with us at
[email protected]


Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and get the latest on programs and events