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10 Trailblazing Emirati Women Helping Create a Brighter Future for the UAE

As the nation celebrates Emirati Women’s Day, Vogue Arabia highlights the contribution of 10 Emirati women in building a future that is not only bright but also equitable. These trailblazers have surged forward in fields as diverse as arts, sports, and entrepreneurship, reshaping the landscape of possibilities for women across the United Arab Emirates.

Amna Al Qubaisi 

Photo: Instagram.com/amnalqubaisi_official

Twenty-three-year-old Amna Al Qubaisi has shattered stereotypes by becoming the first female F3 driver from the United Arab Emirates to compete internationally. She is also the first Arab woman to win a Formula 4 race at the F1 Grand Prix in 2019 and the first to compete in a Formula E test in Saudi Arabia in 2018. Her penchant for writing history on the racetrack has not always been easy as the realm of motorsports remains male-dominated, however, Al Qubaisi continues to stand as a testament to the resilience and skill of Emirati women.

Aisha Al Mansoori 

Photo: Instagram.com

Captain Aisha Al Mansoori is proof of the fact that the sky is the limit when it comes to Emirati women. Rising from the position of a cadet pilot at Etihad Airways, Al Mansoori became the first female Emirati captain for a commercial airline. The start of her flying duties as an Etihad captain in 2022 coincided with Emirati Women’s Day which means she has been a symbol of progress for a year. On an exciting note, Al Mansoori was inspired to pursue flying as a career after witnessing her elder sister Major Mariam Al Mansoori become the UAE’s first female fighter pilot.

Zahra Lari 

Photo: Instagram.com/zahralari

Zahra Lari has always defied expectations and stereotypes as she glides effortlessly on the ice. The first female figure skater from the UAE is an inspiration for young Emirati girls to pursue their passion regardless of the limits that society may set. More importantly, by becoming the first woman to compete in a hijab at a global figure skating event she has taught the nation that you must always be true to yourself. While Lari continues to break all barriers for herself, no matter how icy, she is also working to fulfill the dreams of others with Emirates Skating, the first figure skating club in the UAE.

Nora Al Matrooshi 

Photo: Instagram.com/astronaut_nora

Nora Al Matrooshi etched her name into the history of the UAE as the first female Emirati astronaut when she was selected to train with the NASA Astronaut Group 23 to work as an international mission specialist. Her cosmic journey from a mechanical engineering graduate to a space explorer reflects unparalleled determination and confirms the fact that STEM does not need to be as male-dominated as it is today. The UAE might soon witness Al Matrooshi blasting off into space as she is set to graduate from her training with NASA early next year.

Amna Al Ameri 

Photo: Instagram.com

Gaming is often associated with men, but 25-year-old Amna Al Ameri is shattering this idea. The first female esports athlete from the Emirates is also a software engineer who earned her master’s degree at the young age of 22 partly due to her passion for gaming and technology. The professional League of Legends player who is known as Moki was also part of the Middle East’s first female esports team which debuted at Girl Gamer 2020, an event hosted by the UAE which drew an estimated online audience of 20 million according to CNN. Al Ameri currently plays for the competitive division of UAE gaming development company Barzah Studio.

Lamia Tariq

Photo: Instagram.com/lamia_lilwonderofuae

As the youngest person on this list, Lamia Tariq proves that age is just a number. The 12-year-old rhythmic gymnast has won several accolades and medals for the United Arab Emirates across the world and is the only Emirati in the sport according to Khaleej Times. Tariq started gymnastics at the mere age of five under the mentorship of former Olympic champion Ksenia Dzhalaganiya at the Dubai Youth Olympic School of Rhythmic Gymnastics and won her first gold medal just one year later at the inaugural Dubai International Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships.

Ayesha Al Hamrani 

Photo: Instagram.com/mnawrah

Enamored by animation in cartoons, Ayesha Al Hamrani started drawing at quite a young age. Today, the self-taught Emirati artist known online as Mnawrah has a substantial social media following including 22.4k followers on Instagram which is where she shares most of her work. Al Hamrani often translates her appreciation for Emirati pop culture into alluring works of art such as a recent collaboration with Joe & The Juice for Ramadan where her doodles perfectly captured the spirit of the holy month. The artist is all about uplifting the role of women in society and often showcases that desire through her work, such as her Women on Mars project, which imagines a diverse set of women as pioneers of the Mission to Mars.

Alia Al Banna 

Photo: Courtesy of RollDxb

As the co-founder and general manager of RollDxb, and a mother of four, Alia Al Banna is not only a woman who can do it all but also one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial Emirati businesswomen. She has been passionate about sports from an early age having participated in everything from roller skating, show jumping, fencing, and motocross, to shooting. After years of roller-skating around the streets of Dubai, Al Banna, together with her sister, opened RollDxb, the region’s first and only indoor rollerskating disco venue, which became instantly popular.

Dubai Abulhoul 

Photo: Instagram.com/dubaiabulhoul

Dubai Abulhoul is a force to be reckoned with and she is insistent on changing the narrative around the Middle East. The Emirati author and Rhodes scholar is the founder of Fiker Institute, an international affairs think tank based in Dubai. With a multitude of ideas on everything from colonialism, feminism, and the environment, Abulhoul is dedicated to building a better future while understanding our present reality a little better.

Almas

Photo: Instagram.com/almasofficial_

At just 23 years old, Almas has already achieved more than many do in a lifetime. Not only did the Emirati singer and rapper perform at the opening ceremony of Expo 2020 along with more seasoned performers such as Mohammed Abdu, Ahlam, and Hussein AlJasmi, but she also found herself projected on Times Square in New York to be discovered by a global audience. Almas is a global ambassador of Spotify’s Equal Arabia program which aims to highlight female creators.

Rea Next: 

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