WOE list of Egypt’s 50 Most Inspiring Women – 2016

Egyptian women are pushing the boundaries in unprecedented ways. Their achievements and successes are dominating the daily news.

They are breaking down barriers, challenging social and cultural taboos, and their impressive accomplishments are shaping and changing the world for many other women.

We are honoring fifty of these amazing, revolutionaries, visionary, creative, brave women, in hope to inspire, influence and empower more women to follow suit. (Names listed in alphabetical order)

amal-sabry 1. Amal Galal Sabry won the Emirates Woman of The Year (Humanitarian) Award 2016, to become the first Egyptian to receive this award. She is the Founder of Emirates Autism Center.  Her son Amr is the 1st child with autism to be integrated in a mainstream school and the 1st child with autism to graduate from high school in the United Arab Emirates.

14591720_1210607742311251_7321198538675987186_n2. On  October 2, 2016,  Amany Helmy Khalil, who had just turned 50, competed and completed the Ironman Triathlon in Barcelona, Spain. She swam 3.8km, cycled 180km, and ran a full marathon of 42.2km back to back. She’s the first Egyptian woman to complete the Ironman Triathlon in this age category.

13938508_1739770002927833_5118539532848080848_n3. Amira Selim: She joined the Cairo Opera Company in 1997, and played Rosina, her first main role in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in 1998 in Cairo. Two years after her graduation from the Cairo Conservatoire, she received a scholarship from the French government and she obtained the Diplôme supérieur de concertiste in 2004 from the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. In the same year, she played the role of ‘Lakmé’ in Delibes’s Opera Lakmé, her debut in France, performed in Opera Rennes. In 2002, she was the first prize winner at the international competition of Orvieto, Italy. Her favorite role is Gradiva, composed by Justine Verdier, which premiered in Paris in November 2016.

15380424_1240804896013955_5912342790492719627_n4. Amal Farrah won the best story award in Etisalat Children’s Book competition in the UAE for her children’s book “I want to be a Turtle”.

15420995_1243702345724210_7769058956730046952_n5. Anne Azza Aly  is an Australian politician, political scholar, academic and counter-terrorism expert. She has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives since the 2016 election, representing the electorate of Cowan.

15301309_10154597184752891_1584077110_n 6.Azza Abdel Hamid received “Takrim Honor” for her services to humanitarian causes. Azza has dedicated her life to serving the community and contributing to the well being of underprivileged of children for more than 19 years.

cvnheqaxeaaxrpc7. Ati Metwaly won the CNN African Journalist Award 2016 in Culture, for her article ‘Against all odds: Stories of the visually impaired women from Egypt’s Al Nour Wal Amal Orchestra.

Over 1,600 entries from 38 countries across the African continent were submitted to this year’s edition of the Award in English, French and Portuguese and 38 finalists were chosen. Metwaly was among the finalists and the only finalist and winner from Egypt — across all sections. Also she was one of the two finalists and winners from North Africa. Metwaly is the Arts and Culture editor at Ahram Online (Al Ahram English Portal) and Music Critic at Al-Ahram Weekly.

14572360_1165516660209446_6192222050686936514_n8. Asmaa Ismail is founder of  Human Library Egypt  where people get the chance to become Live Books, sharing their stories, and be heard by their readers “Listeners”.

This NGO was found to reduce stereotyping and eliminate blind judging of others by creating mutual understanding for the situation by both sides.
Human Library Egypt’s  first conference was held in May 2016, with few books and readers. Asmaa is a computer engineer

14370054_1150353711725741_1897934187567350436_n9. Amna El Shandawily is the  fashion Designer who  represented  Egypt in “Project Runaway Arab World”  on mbc.  El Shandaweely studied fashion design at the Italian Fashion Academy in Cairo.  In her designs she blends African and bohemian styles.

13680879_1106930836068029_391981497814781303_n10.  Weightlifter Abeer Abdelrahman  became the first Egyptian female athlete to win an Olympic medal in history after the top three athletes at the 2012 London Games were provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substances. The suspensions meant that Abdelrahman, who finished fifth in 2012, was handed the silver medal in 2016.

Abdelrahman will be the first Egyptian woman to ever win a medal in the history of the Olympic games.


11.  2016 witnessed a happy ending to the love story of the  lovely couple, the swimming champs, Dina Tarek and Mahmoud Abdel Bary who met at the Swimming World Champion in Italy, where she won the bronze medal and he won both the gold and bronze medals.


12. Deana Moussa (17 years old) is the nventor of a medical compound that can stop severe bleeding faster than the medicines used in hospitals. Her product, called Hemostat V-Seal, stops bleeding of lethal wounds in between seven and ten seconds, a rate considerably faster than when using the products currently available in hospitals. Her project’s approval is now being processed by FDA

Dina Abdel Aziz

13. Dina Abel Aziz: (31 years old) is the youngest elected parliament member in Egypt. She received her master degree in political science from Cairo university and she’s proceeding with her Ph.D

Dina Sherif

14. Dina Sherif: Dina H. Sherif is CEO and Co-Founder of Ahead of the Curve. Dina was the only Arab woman selected by the UN global Compact in July 2016, as a local SDG pioneer, for making global challenges local business.

1715. Fatma Said, the Egyptian Soprano, has won this year’s Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin.

The 24-year-old from Cairo was honored at the National Concert Hall. She is one of 10 young people worldwide to receive a scholarship to study at the prestigious music academy La Scala Academy in Milan.

12031987_1132981543396869_3298075837117999820_n16. Ghada el Wakil is the founder and prime minister of the women’s government. Ghada writes for Egyptian Community newspaper and has a weekly column in ‘Le Progrès Egyptien’. Her first book Imperturbable is a collection of her articles published in the Le Progrès Egyptien.  Life Revisited, her second book in English,  breaks Egyptian taboos and delves inside the human soul.


17. Hedaya Malak, Taekwondo champ and winner of bronze medal in Rio 2016  was nominated by the Egyptian Olympics committee to be the flag bearer at the closing ceremony. Hedaya is the first Egyptian woman in the history of the games to carry the flag

1696_146460628318. Hoda Zakaria: the first Nubian woman to win the Arab Journalism Award

Zakaria’s investigative report about deceiving patients with stem cells won the Arab Journalism Award in Dubai, making her the first female Nubian journalist to win it.

13731496_1101169486644164_3268554727906978739_n19. Ingy Abdel Karim (24 years) is the first female marine engineer to graduate from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in 2016. She was the only female among 30 students in her class, which motivated her to prove that women can do whatever it takes to finish the job.

13466210_1084120878349025_6565353128089422615_n20.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) named Chef Maggie Habib as a special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses (grains)2016 for the Near East and North Africa (English Text follows)

Ms. Habib joined a group of five regional ambassadors for the International Year to  support FAO in promoting the health and environmental benefit of pulses through international events and outreach to media.


21. Manal Rostom is sending a smile your way from the summit of Mount Elbrus in Russia – one of the 7 peaks and highest in Europe. She also summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and completed the Wall of China Marathon.

Rostom is a full time pharmacist and a part time fitness instructor.

13770268_1098617386899374_6618399910465017724_n22. Maryam And Shaima El Zomor are two Egyptian engineers with passion for adventure, including rock climbing, diving and paratrooping.

They decided to summit Kilimanjaro and worked hard to get there. The couple prepared themselves well for the 5 days climbing trip of 4700 meters. The trained intensively, climbing Mount Sinai at St Catherine national park, Mount Mousa and Mount Abbas.

13882158_1114420508652395_2824916501958041462_n23. Mira Riad left a privileged life in New York, City where she was born, and her job as a lawyer in her father’s law firm and moved to Egypt to open “The Littlest Lamb” orphanage.

Her project that started in 2007 was interrupted by two revolutions, but eventually it was completed.

The Littlest Lamb is now the home of 150 children. Riad’s long term goal is to send them all to college. It’s important for her that these children receive the best health and emotional care and education as her objective is to change the social stigma associated with orphans.

14212170_1138316182929494_466404852666977917_n24. Renowned Egyptian actress Nelly Karim was selected as a juror at this year’s 73rd Venice International Film Festival.


25. The 27-year-old designer Norine Farah was nominated to represent Egypt at World Fashion Week 2016 in Paris, the dream of every designer, model and fashion lover.

14370131_1155671187860660_5154264632693206512_n26. Nadine Osama won Miss Egypt 2016 title. The 18 years old beauty queen was born on August 18, 1998 and studies Business Management at the British University in Cairo.

She represented  Egypt in the  Miss World pageant  held in Washington DC in December.


27. Nemat Shafik (Minouch), Bank of England deputy governor, quits her job after two years to become the first woman to run London School of Economics.

13906768_1119589431468836_8979763539120548889_n28. Egyptian squash player Nouran Gohar, 18 years-old, won her second World Junior Championship title and  her first  Hong Kong Squash Open.

13770451_1104246416336471_7866756017599075622_n29. Photographer Nourhan Maayouf is the first Egyptian artist to win the top award at the annual South African Barclays L’Atelier contemporary art competition. The 26 years old artist is a self-taught photographer.

13615437_1097059017055211_8090503975770638672_n30.Noha Abou Shabana  is the President of the Technical Committee of the Egyptian Federation of Gymnastics and Vice President of the Technical Committee of the International Federation of Gymnastics.She is also an international judge and the youngest Egyptian woman to hold these national and international positions. She’s 30 years old.

13254073_1070109096416870_2905745901904372811_n31. Egyptian swimmer Nagwa Ghorab, 73-years-old, won silver medal at the 2016 U.S. Masters Swimming National Championship.

nagua-alba-062-1024x68032. Nagua Goweli is the first Egyptian and youngest parliament member in Spain. Nagua Goweli, a Spanish-Egyptian woman who belongs to Podemos (We Can) Party, supervised the Spanish parliament’s internal elections and headed the first parliament session as the youngest MP and first of Arab origin in parliament

nour_el_sherbini_33. Young Egyptian squash star Nour El Sherbini won the PSA Women’s World Championship title to become the youngest champion to win the title.

12805857_1041831125911334_3335947958507979288_n34. Muay Thai player Nada Metwaly  won third place in the world tournament that was held in Thailand in March 2016. Muay Thai is a combat sport of Thailand that requires physical and mental discipline. It is also known as Thai Boxing.

15672784_1250014031759708_2438831426689795140_n35. The Dubai Design and Fashion Council, with the cooperation of Vogue Arabia and Farfetch, online shopping site, awarded their Fashion Prize to be the Egyptian accessories label Okhtein, founded by Mounaz and Aya Abdel Raouf, designers of women’s bags and accessories.

This is the second year for the prize, where the purpose is to honor exceptional emerging Middle Eastern talents.

15356005_622200874632157_1632204530_n36. Riham Khaled (24 years old), Founder and Manager of Dekka, the first cultural center in the poor neighborhood of al-Marag in Cairo.

Reham Ahmed, an avid believer in community service is determined to bring change to her poor neighborhood of Al Marg in Cairo through culture and art.  Dekka, serves, free of charge, young people in her community, between the ages of 15 and 30.

Dekka, was initially founded as a library and book club, but within two months the idea evolved to include more activities like music, arts and handicrafts.

14900450_1194050714022707_6627742882761722576_n37.  The young adults book “Screams From Behind the Doors” by Rania Hussein Amin, won the best book awards in Etisalat Children Books Competition in the UAE.


38.  Randa Tag el-Deen Mahmoud won a  gold medal for Egypt at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

Mahmoud, who previously won a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, broke her own records in Rio 2016 .

14212565_1144885388939240_8927547268467424788_n39.  Paralympics  power lifter Rehab Ahmed won Paralympic silver medal in Rio 2016.

1895f81a-1801-462e-8258-0d2f6fab6f9140. Squash team: Egypt has become the first country in 20 years to hold all three top spots on the PSA Women’s World Rankings after Raneem El Welily joined compatriots Nour El Sherbini and Nouran Gohar inside the world’s top three in the December Rankings – emulating the feats of Australia in the 1990s

souqj41.  Sarah Moussa received an award by El Amal Foundation, MBC Group, Dubai: “Representing Egypt for Living a Selfless Life & Giving Back to the Community

Sarah Moussa, founder of Sarah Moussa Charity Foundation and Social Work Hub, is also a  grief counselor.

13921044_1119593394801773_7655741314260921316_n42. Safia Baraka: Writer and Creator of Lamis comic book.  Lamis, is the first Egyptian female Superhero. The comic book is available on Koshk Comics App, to all comic fans in Egypt and the Middle East

13939578_1117571058337340_2555886489639069297_n43. Sara Aziz is a  Child Abuse Consultant, Trainer, Counselor and Founder of SAFE. Sara’s mission is to prevent child sexual abuse. She actively engages with communities, families, caregivers, adults and kids through awareness sessions to improve attitudes and to change behaviors to assure keeping children and teenagers safe.

She also volunteered in one of Cairo slums known for sexual abuse where she taught young girls how to protect themselves from sexual abuse and how to say ‘NO’.

13924925_1117221648372281_4764946134639394148_n44. Sara Samir (18-years-old) won third place and a bronze medal, in Rio 2016, the first for Egypt in the 69 Kg category.

14192545_1137805159647263_3381726797302636949_n45. Shosha Kamal has won The International Product Design Awards for the year 2016, London, UK for her Wing Sofa Design. The pharaonic inspired sofa is  officially named by the prestigious jury panel as the best sofa design worldwide for the year 2016.

Inspired by the goddess Nekhbet wings, the Wing Sofa is the first attempt to resurrect the Ancient Egyptian Design Style, creating the first of its kind, contemporary Pharaonic furniture line.

13882246_1116297485131364_1589825889668087626_n46. Synchronized swimming team participated in the Rio 2016 Olympics.  The team achieved its goal of beating Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, finishing seventh overall with 155.5505 points.Vogue Australia also  listed the 9 best synchronized swimming uniforms in Rio and Egypt made it in at number 4.

14495531_1167146090046503_3597741911572131855_n47. Cyclist and adventurer Shaimaa El Zayat   went on a self challenge trip and cycled solo in South Korea, from Seoul to Busan in 6 days covering 633km,  crossing the Rivers Bike Path challenge

 15036639_1200205573407221_8372114295352318821_n48. Sherine Adel is the  first Egyptian woman to travel around Egypt on a motorcycle. On Saturday, 29 October 2016, Shereen had successfully completed a circular route of 2700 km in 9 days, from Cairo to Marsa Alam, Aswan, Luxor, Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra, Bahareya and back to Cairo.

Shereen Adel is a travel writer who had published 3 travel books. Her book “Hostel” is a bestseller for 2016.

15697537_1249116315182813_5171815457169391469_n49. Shireen Aqk is an Interior Designer, Writer, Project Manager of Mega Projects of the Food Bank .Since 2008, she has been working with several NGOs in projects to develop poor villages in Egypt. In the last 5 years she has been working for Egyptian Food Bank, The Mega project department for developing needy villages. She is the head of department, Project Manager and Project Designer.

For the first time in Egypt, Shireen created a fragrance in Paris with her name, for allergic people. It is 100% natural and from the beet root sugar.

28e35db94a50. Women in Parliament: In the parliamentary elections of 2015, which took place during October and November, women garnered 73 seats, out of total 568, while 14 were appointed by the president, leading to an unprecedented total of 87 seats in parliament. Among the 73 elected seats, 56 were elected through the electoral lists and 17 won individuals seats.



  1. This is really great but please please if you’re going to write a piece like this have someone check the grammar and spelling. It’s horrible.


  2. Great work capturing all these awesome ladies,but I guess u missed out Mai Medhat the CEO of Eventtus who met Obama and won enterpreneur of the year


  3. I can not believe that when a mag that claims it is an advocacy movement to empower women in Egypt decided to select the 50 most inspiring women in Egypt and NONE of them is a women’s rights activist such as Azza Suliman, Mozn Hassan and many others then you know that there is something wrong with this list.


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