Trailblazing Emirati Women

The late Sheikh Zayed and our “Mother of the Nation,” Her Highness Sheikha Fatima, recognized early on that stability and peace are not possible without providing equal opportunities to both men and women. Sheikha Fatima championed universal education for women in the 1970s, and as a result, literacy rates for both men and women are today close to 95 percent. Education is a catalyst for community development and personal transformation, and Sheikha Fatima’s investment in education – which began over forty years ago – has come full circle. Here are the stories of just a few of the thousands of women who are working hard to create a better UAE, a better Middle East and a better world.

Here are the stories of just a few of the thousands of women who are working hard to create a better UAE, a better Middle East and a better world.

Alia Al Neyadi, Ballerina

Alia Al Neyadi is an Emirati ballerina who spent part of her childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she first discovered ballet. Now back in Abu Dhabi, Al Neyadi continues to hone her craft, perform with renowned global dancers, and inspire future ballerinas.

Nadya Ahmed, PhD Candidate

Nadya Ahmed went outside her comfort zone to pursue a PhD in computer science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Ahmed is now working on a project to integrate machine learning and AI into the petroleum industry back home in the UAE.

Yasmin Baker, Aerialist

Yasmin Baker picked up aerial arts while studying in Washington, DC. Now an aerial silks instructor based in Dubai, Baker has become a Nike brand ambassador and has helped pioneer the UAE’s growing aerial arts scene.

Fatma Mahmood, Architect

Fatma Mahmood is an Emirati architect who moved to the US in 2017 to study for her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York, where she has honed her craft.