#GIRLBOSS: 7 Arab women changing their industries and the world

If you’re in need of a little inspiration to finish 2020 strong (or at all), here are 7 unstoppable Arab women who are achieving incredible things in their industries, which range from media, art, food and fashion to science, journalism, politics the humanitarian sector.

Marriam Mossalli 🇸🇦 @marriam.mossalli

Marriam Mossalli is a Saudi fashion editor, entrepreneur, creative and the very definition of a #girlboss. She began her career in journalism, writing for Marie Claire Arabia and Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and starting the Life & Style section at Arab News. Marriam went on to become an established name in the fashion and luxury industry. She is the founder and Chief Executive of Niche Arabia, Saudi Arabia’s leading luxury communications consultancy, and her work has put the Saudi Kingdom on the map in the world of fashion.

She has authored a number of books including one focusing on disappearing traditional crafts in Saudi Arabia, and recently curated and edited Under the Abaya, a project featuring street style images of Saudi women. The first book of its kind, Under the Abaya showcases the individualism of Saudi women while shattering stereotypes and lifting the veil on Saudi society and identity. The proceeds of the book also go towards funding academic scholarships for women.

Sama’a Al-Hamdani 🇾🇪 @Yemeniaty

Sama’a al-Hamdani is an analyst, researcher and media commentator focusing on Yemen. A Non-Resident Scholar at the Washington DC-based Middle East Institute and Director of the Yemen Cultural Institute for Heritage and the Arts, Sama’a is one of the leading voices on Yemeni politics and culture. Her blog, Yemeniaty, became a key resource for those seeking to understand the Arab Spring in Yemen between 2011 and 2015.

Sama’a and her work have been featured by a number of mainstream publications and media outlets including the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, France 24 and others. As her Directorship of YCIHA suggests, Sama’a is also a lover of the arts. Her work with the Institute is dedicated to conserving and protecting Yemen’s rich heritage and arts, providing a platform for Yemeni artists and engaging stakeholders both inside and outside Yemen to secure the safety of Yemeni culture and traditions in the face of the ongoing conflict.

Samira Mahboub 🇲🇦 @samiramahboub

Samira Mahboub is a Moroccan-German model, performance artist, Postcolonial and Intersectional Feminist Scholar and social entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Limala, a cultural project and social enterprise selling handmade Moroccan rugs and traditional products made by Moroccan women in the Atlas Mountains. Limala uses storytelling and visual narrations to celebrate the art of traditional Moroccan crafts and the artisans who make them.

Through her work, she not only highlights the beauty and uniqueness of Moroccan cultural heritage, but also seeks to reclaim it for Moroccans and end the cultural plagiarism that has taken root in her industry over the years as a result of post-colonialism. Samira is not only a creative and an entrepreneur – she is an activist, and the creative industries need more people like her.

Manal al-Adawi 🇴🇲 @manal.aladawi

Manal al-Adawi is an Omani Life Coach and certified Positive Psychology practitioner who aims to help her clients and her online community shift from surviving to thriving. Manal supports millennials in getting unstuck and discovering their life purpose as she believes living a purposeful life is key to thriving.

By sharing her own personal struggles with anxiety and depression on social media, along with research and evidence-backed support and advice for others who are struggling, Manal’s work is de-stigmatising mental health issues in Oman and beyond.

Dalia Dogmoch Soubra 🇸🇾 @daliaskitchen

Dalia Dogmoch Soubra is a Syrian-German food consultant, cookbook author and Food Editor at Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Dalia shares her love of food through eclectic, Syrian and Middle Eastern-inspired recipes, published both in mainstream media publications and on her Instagram account. Her cookbook, Food, Love and Life from Dalia’s Kitchen, topped the charts in the Middle East.

Dalia is a foodie with a conscience. She often uses her Instagram account to highlight political and humanitarian issues in the Middle East such as the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the economic and political crises in Lebanon. Dalia has hosted fundraising events for charities and also contributed recipes to the UNICEF cookbooks, #cookforsyria and #bakeforsyria.

Ella Al-Shamahi 🇾🇪/🇸🇾 @littlemsfossil

Ella Al-Shamahi is a British Paleoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist, National Geographic explorer and stand-up comic of Yemeni and Syrian descent. She specialises in the study of Neanderthals and has conducted expeditions in caves and other hostile territories around the world. She is the producer and presenter of the BBC show, ‘Neanderthals: Meet Your Ancestors’ and has also performed three shows as a comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Through her work, Ella makes history, science and Palaeoanthropology accessible to the masses. Her TED talk, ‘The fascinating (and dangerous) places scientists aren’t exploring’ has been viewed over 115,000 times on YouTube. Ella also uses her social media platforms to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis and the impact of conflict on cultural heritage in her ancestral homeland, Yemen.

Nour Tagouri 🇱🇾 @noor

Noor Tagouri is an award-winning Libyan-American journalist, producer, motivational speaker and activist who uses innovative storytelling to shed light on marginalised communities and subcultures. Her video documentaries and podcast series, The Process, tell extraordinary stories of strength and resilience and seek to build bridges across social divides.

She shares motivational and educational content on Instagram with her over half a million followers, encouraging them to lean into difficult conversations about complex issues and to overcome their internal struggles to live their best lives.

We hope you found these #girlbosses and their incredible work inspiring! If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

7 local Instagrammers to follow if you’re travelling in the Middle East

3 Arab women filmmakers causing a stir

8 places you won’t believe are in the Middle East

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