A look at some of the most influential business-tycoons in the Middle East who collectively have created 474 brands, employ 34,000 people, and have over $87 billion in assets – oh, did we mention these moguls are also women?
Here’s what some of these industry leaders had to say about women in big business:
“In Arab countries, I think people misread the culture – there’s perhaps an over respect of girls,” says Ghada Gebara CEO of Algeria’s largest mobile operator, Optimum Telecom Algeria. “I was able to push my technicians in a way that no man could, because he’d have been beaten down.”
“Those who want to be leaders of tomorrow must persevere,” says Dr Raja Easa al Gurg, Managing Director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group which manages international brands. “The higher you aim, the greater the risks. But the tactic is never to compromise on your goal – upgrade your ambitions instead.”
“We need to remove that phobia about women getting involved with numbers, which comes from education,” says Maha al Ghunaim, co-founder, Vice Chair & Group CEO of Global Investment House which was the first Kuwaiti company to list on the London stock exchange. “Women who think they can’t get into business are either not seeing the truth about their own capabilities, or they’re approaching the subject from the wrong angle. You need to make sure you’re always ahead of the game.”