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Arab women among world’s most influential

Shaikha Al Bahar, Shaikha Lubna, Shaikha Mayassa recognised for political, economic and cultural might

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:35 August 23, 2012
  • Gulf News

Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi
  • Image Credit: Arshad Ali
  • Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, and Korean Consul General Young Jong Hong.

Manama: Three Arab women feature on the 2012 list of the most powerful women in the world.

Shaikha Al Bahar, the chief executive officer of the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), was ranked 85, Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister Of Foreign Trade was 92nd and Shaikha Mayassa Al Thani, the chair of Qatar Museums Authority, was 100th.

Bibliographies published by Forbes magazine that issues the list annually referred to Shaikha Al Bahar as a powerful force in the NBK Group with its total assets reaching $51.1 billion (Dh187 billion).

Forbes reported that Shaikha Lubna became the first woman to hold a cabinet position in the UAE when she was appointed Minister of Economy in 2004. Fours year later she was appointed Minister of Foreign Trade, and this year, she has been using her post to strengthen exports to Arab markets, it said.

“She is also a well-known businesswoman. In 2000, she founded online trading platform Tejari, often cited as the first and largest B-to-B commerce site in the region,” the magazine said.

“An observant Muslim, she fights to improve the rights of women in the UAE. Speaking at a gathering to support International Women’s Day 2012, she urged women to seek more education and knowledge to develop in their fields.”

Shaikha Mayassa was introduced as “arguably the most powerful woman in the art world today.”

“As head of the Qatar Museums Authority, Shaikha Mayassa, by Forbes estimates, controls an annual art-buying budget in the neighbourhood of $250 million.”

According to Forbes, the 100 women “adhere to the traditional classifications of power (political and economic might) and those who have risen to the top of the social and cultural landscape.”

“This year the list features eight heads of state — including our No 1, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, plus one monarch who just celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, 25 CEOs who control $984 billion in revenues and 11 billionaires personally worth nearly $80 billion. We feature some dozen entrepreneurs and 10 celebrities who do more than look good: they’re philanthropic do-gooders and entrepreneurial go-getters,” the magazine said.

Newswomen who made the list include Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, (No 5), Vogue’s Anna Wintour (No 51) and Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren (No 94) for her run as the longest-serving current cable news anchor, Forbes said.

The magazine said that almost all women on the list were active on social media and had a combined 90 million Twitter followers.

“The most prolific tweeters, not surprisingly, are celebrities — Lady Gaga with 28,199,061, Shakira with 17,716,022, Oprah with 13,180,843, Ellen DeGeneres with 12,842,222 and JLo with 10,239,010.”

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