On March 8 the world celebrates International Women’s Day. The idea is to imagine a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. The Kingdom of Bahrain is filled with women who break barriers, encourage inclusivity and campaign for a more diverse and equitable world. It is these women who take action to drive gender parity and not only use their voice as a platform to encourage equality, but more importantly, drive the agenda for their fellow women. Here are nine proudly Bahraini trailblazers who continue to raise the bar and inspire the men and women in the Kingdom.
Noor Yousif Taha
This athlete broke her personal record in the 50-metre freestyle, finishing in a speedy 28.87 seconds at the Tokyo Olympics. She started swimming when she was just four years old and by the time she was seven, she entered the world of competitive swimming. She told Woman This Month that her Olympic debut was just the start of her athletic career and she planned on dedicating all her energy on perfecting her craft. She believes anything is possible of you want it hard enough so there is no doubt Taha will be on the most inspiring women of Bahrain list for years to come!
Kanoo is the CEO of Khalil Bin Ebrahim Kanoo company and International Motor Trading Agency. She is considered one of the most influential female business leaders in Bahrain. She uses her voice to advocate for the empowerment of Arab women. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and has travelled with the UN to Syria to visit refugee camps. Kanoo’s hard work in creating a voice for women empowerment in the region has made her a leading voice in gender equality.
Narjes Farookh Jamal
Taking the lead for digital transformation at the Bahrain Bourse, Jamal is a leading figure in the banking and financial services sector. The Bahrain Bourse has a market capitalization of around US$24 billion, with a six month CSR initiative involving teaching middle school students investment and trading skills. Jamal has openly spoken about outperforming her peers in a male-dominated industry and learning how to navigate the challenges of being a parent and a successful businesswoman. She says she has always been willing to learn to expand her skillset, which has paved the way for her career trajectory.
Breaking down barriers is what Amy has managed to achieve after she became Bahrain’s first female stand-up comedian. She’s been performing since 2013 and is a founding member of Bahrain’s first comedy improv group. Amy is also a successful businesswoman. She is the founder and CEO of My Gold Souq, the regions first direct to consumer business for gold jewellery. She also has a strong professional writing portfolio and is an accomplished financial writer.
Read more here: http://www.amyvaya.com/
Mona Yousuf Almoayyed
Almoayyed has been the managing director of family run business Y.K. Almoayyed & Sons since 2000. The company focuses on electronics, luxury goods and automobiles. Almoayyed sits on the board of the Arab International Women’s Forum and is also the head of the Audit Committee for Ebdaa Bank. On joining the family business, Almoayyed said she had to balance raising her family and being involved in the business. She said her father recognised that being a woman meant she had extra responsibilities while still respecting her dedication in the workspace.
She’s a young mom and indoor basketball coach. Her focus? Coaching young men. Fatema Reyadh has broken all stereotypes to gain the respect of her peers after she was named the assistant coach of the Al-Najma basketball coach in Manama. With a black belt in Taekwondo, Fatema dreams of being head coach and leading a team to take home the national basketball championship. Speaking about her journey to get respect as a female basketball coach, Fatema said her hard word and dedication gained her the unwavering support of those who work with her.
Najla Al Shirawi
She has more than 25 years’ experience in investment banking and is currently the CEO of the SICO Bank. This trailblazer was appointed CEO in 2014 and is a board member at the Bahrain Economic Board (EDB) and a Chairperson on the board of directors for two SICO subsidiaries. Al Shirawi holds an MBA and a BA in civil engineering from the University of Bahrain. Her steady rise to leadership positions has seen her gain the respect of men and women in the banking world from across the world.
Reem Al Mealla
Al Mealla is the first female field marine biologist in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She received her bachelor’s and PhD in marine science and is the creator of Bnature, Bahrian’s first environmental online platform. She has served as the National Project Manager for the revision of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) project. Impressively, she also created the first national biodiversity database in Bahrain. Al Mealla is a globally recognised leader in marine science and has become a strong voice in advocating for the protection of the environment.
Dalal Al Qais
With over 20 years’ experience in the banking field Al Qais was appointed CEO of the Bahrain Development Bank in 2021. She is considered a regional leader in the financial industry and has played an instrumental role in being a catalyst of growth for the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial pool of talent. She has also held several leading positions at Standard Chartered Bank and United Bank.