This March we celebrate these 16 Egyptian women who made us proud with their creativity, achievements, wisdom and contribution to the community, and their roles as mothers, grandmothers, daughters and sisters.
Queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshipped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc.
Egyptian singer, songwriter and actress who sang for almost four decades, known widely as “the fourth Pyramid”. Her success as a singer and a songwriter across the Arab region is unparalleled until today.
She recorded hundreds of songs and toured the Middle East singing in cities like Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut, Tunis, and Tripoli, and performed in Paris as well. She had private concerts for Presidents and Royals. Today, Kulthum is regarded as the greatest female Arabic singer in history.
Executive Director of Magdi Yacoub Foundation, Vice President of the Board of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, and a lecturer at the Banking Institute in Cairo and the Diplomatic Institute, Hassouna began her career as a diplomat for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
She later went on to work for the Council of Arab Economic Unity, Egypt’s International Economic Forum as the Director-General, and Misr Iran Development Bank as Assistant General Manager.
A remarkable Egyptian national who worked for 33 years with the UN and the World Health Organization. Younes served as Deputy Spokeswoman for the Secretary-General from 1988 until 1993 and Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Rome.
After a long, successful career, her life was tragically cut short on August 19th 2003 by the devastating bombing at the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, which was being used as the UN Headquarters in Iraq.
A nuclear scientist who dedicated her life to making medical nuclear power affordable to all, Moussa organized the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference. A pioneer in her field, she was honored and awarded posthumously by the Egyptian Army, and former President Anwar Sadat.
Perhaps one of Egypt’s most famous feminist figures of all time, along with Durriya Shafiq, Safia Zaghloul and Ester Fanous; Sha’arawi was the founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union. In 1919, Sha’arawi helped organize one of the largest women’s anti-British protests of all time.
After attending the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome, Sha’arawi made a conscious decision to remove her face veil, an act that would go down in history as one of the most defining moments of feminist resistance in Egypt.
An iconic Egyptian jewelry designer who founded Azza Fahmy Jewellery. After acquiring a BA in Interior Design, Fahmy began her journey with jewelry in a Khan El Khalili workshop, learning centuries-old handcrafting techniques from masters in an all-male-dominated field. Forty years later, her work has gained global recognition and has been featured in fashion magazines and on international fashion catwalks.
One of Egypt’s and the Arab world’s most prominent actresses and producers, she was chosen as ‘Star of the Century’ by the Egyptian Writers and Critics Organization at the 2001 Alexandria International Film Festival. With a rich roster of classic and groundbreaking films to her name, she is still held as the standard for acting talent across the region.
The biggest female name in entertainment in the Arab world was born as Civene Mohamed Nasim, and adopted Yousra as her stage name. Yousra began her film career in the 70s and has amassed a film legacy unparalleled by any contemporary actress today.
She has worked as UN Goodwill Ambassador and ranked 29th most influential Arab woman by Arabian Business. Yousra has received more than 50 awards in recognition for her work as a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.
Actress, writer and producer, Esaad Younes is also CEO and Co-founder of Al Arabia Cinema, CEO of Renaissance Cinemas and the popular host of Sahibat Al Saada talk show. Her diverse talents have made her one of the most loved and appreciated figures in Egypt’s cinema, radio and publishing fields.
Tahany El Gebali
Tahany El Gebali made headlines in 2003 when she was appointed as Egypt’s first female judge. She gained nationwide prominence after acquiring a series of high-profile cases.
She was also the first woman to be elected to the Permanent Bureau of the Union of Arab Lawyers. Tahany was ranked 23rd on The World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women by Arabian Business. Recently, Tahany was appointed Deputy President of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court.
This distinguished Egyptian-American freelance journalist, has work that has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Miami Herald Tribune, U.S. News and World Report. She was ranked the 30th most powerful Arab Woman in 2012 by Arabian Business.
Lotfia El Nadi
The first Egyptian woman to be a licensed pilot at the age of 26, Lotfia was among the youngest at the time to achieve her lifelong dream.
The current holder of the fastest female swimmer in Africa record, Farida Osman is a competitive athlete that keeps on breaking barriers. Having just won her fourth medal during the 12th African Games in Rabaat, Morocco, this incredible feat is the latest among many.
Specializing in the freestyle and butterfly categories, the international champion won a silver medal for completing the 50-meter freestyle race in 25.6 seconds, and during the African Games, Farida won two gold medals for the 100-meter and 50-meter butterfly competition. She also landed a silver medal in the 100-meters freestyle competition.
Nour El Sherbini
This Egyptian professional squash player is a four-time World Champion and was the youngest woman to win the Women’s World Championship in 2015.
Known as the “Cinderella of Egyptian cinema”, Soad Hosny was one of the most influential actresses in the Middle East and the Arab world.