Women hailing from the resource-rich Islamic countries of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab of Emirates (UAE) fill three spots on Forbes’ most recent list of powerful women.
Among Forbes’ most powerful 100 women are, Shaikha al-Bahar, chief executive officer of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), Shaikha Lubna al-Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade and Shaikha Mayassa al-Thani, the chair of Qatar Museums Authority.
Al Arabiya reported the women’s accomplishments, with al-Bahar ranking highest among the three at number 85. Kuwait’s al-Bahar is described by Forbes as “a powerful force in the NBK Group,” which reportedly has assets reaching up to $51.1 billion. According to her individual Forbes online profile, al-Bahar served as chairwoman of the Al Watany Bank of Egypt before taking over as CEO. “Additionally, she sits of the board of the International Bank of Qatar." NKB is ranked as the “Best Bank in the Middle East" by Global Finance, Euromoney and The Banker in 2011.
Kuwait, known for its oil, petroleum and natural gas exports, has an estimated $94.47 billion in exports and produces an estimated 2,127,000 barrels per day in both crude oil and oil products. It ranks eighth as one of the world’s top oil produces, falling right beneath Iraq in a 2009 CIA Word Factbook report.Qatar, another country known for its petroleum, natural gas, and foodstuffs has an estimated $104.3 billion in exports, also had reason to be proud. Its Minister of Foreign Trade, Shaikha Lubna al-Qasimi, made the list at number 92. Qasimi is described by the magazine as “a pioneering woman when she became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the UAE” after she was appointed Minister of Economy in 2004. She was later appointed Minister of Foreign Trade in 2008. In her individual online Forbes profile, the magazine credits her with founding the “…online trading platform Tejari, often cited as the first and largest b-to-b commerce site in the region.”
The final Arab woman to round out the list was the chair of Qatar’s Museums Authority (QMA) Shaikha Mayassa al-Thani. Mayassa is said to be “arguably the most powerful woman in the art world today,” according to Forbes, and ranks as the list’s final member at number 100. Mayassa has been called “Qatar’s culture queen” by the Economist. The Economist also states in the same article that Qatar’s ruling family has been “avidly buying art,” which has helped draw attention to the Museums Authority. For her part, Mayassa studied at Duke University and Columbia University in the U.S. and went on to run the QMA.