Meet 8 Egyptian Women Who Are Making A Difference Around The World

Saturday April 22, 2017
By: Alexandria Kinias

They are Movers & Shakers and Decision Makers


From North America, to Europe, to Australia, Egyptian women are holding leading  positions in politics, business and entertainment.

1. Ann Azza Aly


Anne 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.

Anne Azza Aly was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1967, and migrated to Australia at the age of two years. She graduated from the American University in Cairo in 1990 with a BA in English Literature, and in 1994, and received a Master of Education degree in 1996, and PhD in 2008, from Edith Cowan University. Her PhD thesis focused on media and culture, and was entitled Audience Responses to the Media Discourse on Terrorism: The Fear of Terrorism.

Before she entered parliament, Anne Azza Aly worked in education and multicultural affairs policy for the Government of Western Australia After obtaining her PhD, she lectured in counter-terrorism and security at Edith Cowan University and at Curtin University . She has also operated her own policy consulting firm since 2011.

2. Randa Fahmy Hudome


Fahmy Hudome is Egyptian- American who has more than twenty-five years of legal and public policy experience. In 2003, Randa launched Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), a strategic consulting firm which provides critical advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, media organizations, and private sector entities with an interest in international business transactions and energy policy.

Prior to founding FHI, Ms. Fahmy Hudome was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy. Working with the White House and the Departments of State and Commerce, she developed and implemented international energy policy. Randa was also the point person at the Department of Energy for increased advocacy on behalf of American energy companies seeking business around the globe.

Prior to government service, Randa was a practicing attorney with the law firm of Willkie, Farr and Gallagher, where she specialized in the areas of international trade and corporate litigation.

3. Nagwa Alba Goweli


Nagua Alba Goweli is the youngest parliament member in Spain and the first of Arab origin. Born to an Egyptian father and a Spanish mother, she belongs to Podemos (We Can) Party. In January 2016, she headed the first procedural parliament session according to the Spanish constitution as its youngest member. She was 25.

She is a graduate of psychology from the University of Madrid.

4. Hoda Kotb


Hoda Kotb was born in August 9, 1964, in Norman Oklahoma, is an Egyptian American television news anchor and TV host known as the co-host of NBC’s Today Show ‘s. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2010 as part of The Today Show team. Kotb is also a correspondent for Dateline NBC.

Kotb graduated in 1986, with a BA in broadcast journalism from Virginia Tech. She authored three books. Her first book Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee, was on NYTimes best selling list in 2010.

5. Sherrie Mikhail-Miday


Miday is the First Egyptian and Arab American elected Judge in America. She won her seat in the November 2016 election, and now presides over Ohio’s largest county court dealing with some of the most difficult civil cases and crimes. She is motivated by her Egyptian immigrant parents to make the world a better place.

Judge Miday was born on October 12, 1976 in Cleveland two years after her parents immigrated from Cairo. She was the first Egyptian American woman running for judge and the first Egyptian American elected to the bench in United States history.

She studied at John Carroll University, graduating in 1998, before going on to study for her doctorate in legal studies from Case Western Reserve University in 2001.
Judge Miday worked as a lawyer in a Cleveland legal office for six years, qualifying her to then run for the post of judge.

She worked as a prosecutor for three years and another three as the assistant to a judge, before eventually running for office.

6. Dina Powell-Habib


Egyptian American Dina Powell Habib joined the Trump administration in a senior role focused on entrepreneurship, economic growth and the empowerment of women.  Habib was born in Cairo as Dina Habib in 1973 and immigrated to the US with her parents at a young age.

She is an American business executive and former U.S. policymaker. She was the head of Goldman Sachs’ Impact Investing business and head of Goldman Sachs foundation. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Powell served as Assistant Secretary of State (Minister) for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Deputy Undersecretary of Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy for the United States government, and as the Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, a senior staff member at the White House under President George W. Bush.

7. Nemaat Talaat Shafik (Minoush)


Nemat Talaat Shafik is the first woman to run London School of Economics. Shafik was the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England for two years before she quit her job to join the London School of Economics.

She was the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, a position she held from 2011 to 2014. She previously served as Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) beginning in March 2008.

An economist by training, she has held a number of senior positions in international organisations as well as spoke, taught and published extensively on globalisation, emerging markets and private investment, international development, the Middle East and Africa, and the environment.

Shafik was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1962. Her family left Egypt in the 1960s, and she lived in the United States as a child, later returning to Egypt where she graduated from high school. After a year at the American University in Cairo, she went to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she completed a B.A. in economics and politics.

8. Samia Yacoub


Somaya Yacout is the Professor of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montreal. Also labeled as the Egyptian Canadian Iron woman, Dr. Yacout is the first-ever woman appointed, in 1997, as Dean of Engineering at the University of Moncton, and Academic Dean at the École Polytechnique de Montreal, later in 1999.

She was also the first woman to ever be nominated as Dean of Engineering for a French-speaking University in Canada. During her career, she has supervised more than forty masters and doctoral students.

Dr. Soumaya Yacout earned a Doctorate of Science in Operations Research from the George Washington University. Earlier in 1979, she received her MSc. in Industrial Engineering, and BSC. in Mechanical Engineering in 1977, from Cairo University.

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  1. This is how far Egyptian women can reach when they are given a fair chance. We are all very proud of your niece Somaya Yacout in Canada. As for Nemaat Talaat Shafik, she is the daughter of No, 1 pesticide residue analyst in USA at his time. He taught our generation the art of pesticide residue analysis. I was on the phone with Neemat;’s mother few days ago and we had a wonderful chat.


  2. Nadia Shihata, currently Assistant US Attorney in the Seventh District of New York. Born in 1978, graduated from Tufts University and University of Michigan Law School. Worked in law firms in DC and NY and in the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.


  3. Number 5 is not the first Egyptian-Arab judge in the United States. A female Egyptian was appointed by the governor to the district court bench in April 2016.


  4. Number 8 is wrong , the first Egyptian / Canadian Woman to become the Dean of Engineering is Dr. Hoda Elmaraghy . She was appointed Dean of Engineering of the University of Windsor in 1994. She also was the first woman in Canada to get a PHD in Mechanical Engineering in 1974 from the University of McMaster. She is a holder of the Order of Ontario and a senior Canada research chair.


    • Thanks Hanan for your comment.

      Dr.Samia Yacoub was the first woman to ever be nominated as Dean of Engineering for a French-speaking University in Canada.

      Of course no one can’t forget Dr. Hoda Elmaragy. She was included in our e-book Pearls of the Nile, which we published in celebration of Women International Day. Please send us your email so we can send you a copy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Amira Gohara is the first Egyptian to lead an American College of Medicine. Amira was Dean and Provost of the Medical College of Ohio at Toledo for 8 years from 1996 to 2004 also serving as acting President from 2002-2004.

      In addition to her administrative achievements, Amira is a distinguished medical educator. She received 24 Gold Apple Awards for Best Teacher as well as The Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Amira has been recognized in her community by receiving the Milestone Women of achievement Award sponsored by the YWCA of Northwest Ohio.

      Amira received her medical degree from Cairo University in 1964 and trained in England and the United States in pathology. She continues to practice renal pathology and transplant immunology and educate future physicians.

      Amira is a board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology as well as immunopathology. She serves on multiple community boards. She is also the proud mother of Miriam Gohara, J.D, Clinical Associate Professor of Yale Law School and Mona Gohara, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at Yale College of Medicine and four grandsons, Amir, Kiran, Jai and Marlon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Dr Mohsen El Guindi for the nice compliment about my husband Dr, Talaat Shafik
    Allah Yerhamo , as a family we are very proud of him he loved his profession and was very dedicated
    Spending late hours and week ends in the lab


  6. Not one Egyptian in this list actually 🙂 they all have Egyptian origins, but never lived nor educated in Egypt… I bet the majority can’t even speak arabic…. quite a miss-leading article


    • Not sure where you hail from but your comment is nonsensical and preposterous. These women are ALL Egyptian high achievers regardless of where they were educated or where they lived. They ALL speak Arabic and are proud of their roots and heritage. I left my homeland 54 years ago and my fluency in my native language has never been better.
      We don’t need negativity from you or anyone else!


    • ايه الحقد ده – are you so jealous of women’s success? What have you achieved in your lifetime?


  7. Elvia Marei also known as Viva Marei, migrated to Australia in 1970 and studied at Melbourne Victoria University. She is the first female public accountant Certified Practising Accountant since 1991. Her practice is one of the biggest Arab accounting firms in Australia, and the biggest female practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Alexandria Kinias,

    You and I have similar ideas and are working in the same direction! A few weeks ago, I received “Pearls of the Nile,” and was very impressed by it, but had no idea who collected the information: bravo, great job! In fact 7 or 8 women featured in it are among the 38 in my anthology, “Daughters of the Nile: Egyptian Women Changing their World” (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016).

    If you are in the UK or the US, I would like to invite you to some of the forthcoming presentations of our volume: London, May 23 and 24; Geneva, September 12; Auburn University, October 3; and Washington, DC, November 6. The book has already been launched in Ottawa, November 24, 2016; in Paris, December 14, 2016; Alexandria, March 5, 2017; Cairo, March 8, 2017; and New York, March 16, 2016.


    • Hello Merit, when we were all very young our families used to get together in Alexandria. My Dad Grant Assabgy was Uncle Mounir & Uncle Helmy’s 2nd cousin. I am Amira Assabgy Said


  9. I believe that if they are born outside Egypt they are no longer Egyptians and should not be classed as such, but children of Egyptians would be a correct description.


  10. I am really proud for those Egyptians and i am quite sure when ever we gave the chance for Egyptian to create and prove what they can do they succeed perfectly i do love Egypt


  11. Where would all these women be had they not been born or brought up of studied and stayed OUT of their country of origin?

    They – and we – can so righteously be proud of their achievement each in their own field.

    And we are left to mourn the stiffling, castrating situation in our area of the world where some assholes decide that a woman is treated as a piece of commodity and has to live inside a black robe with a window only for her eyes… And where opening your mouth puts you at great hazards! One needs to reflect on WHY is that so?


  12. I was,
    as far as I know, the first American to study medicine in Egypt. My Egyptian husband and I went to the minister of Education who set a quota of 1 for Americans to study Medicine in Egypt. I went to the University of Alexandria, School of Medicine. One of the things that impressed me most about the Egyptian Educational System was the absolute equality in the treatment of men and women in the system. The women I met were intelligent and educated. The atmosphere was very different from the American treatment of women in the educational system.


  13. While I am applauding the success of these exceptional women, I am also stuck with a sad sense of loss. Egypt has suffered a huge Brain Drain during the last several decades and this hemorrhage continues to this day. Educated and talented Egyptians are still leaving Egypt to achieve their true potential in an open and encouraging environment, away from a sometimes stifling one. Very sad.

    Antoine Hawara

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Not one Egyptian in this list actually 🙂 they all have Egyptian origins, but never lived nor educated in Egypt… I bet the majority can’t even speak arabic….
    Amira is a board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology as well as immunopathology.


  15. There is another Egyptian worth exploring. Marie Henien, said to be the most respected and feared criminal lawyer in Canada.

    In 2011, Canadian Lawyer magazine named her one of the “Top 25 Most Influential” saying she was “one of the most sought-after criminal lawyers in the country” and “a key go-to lawyer for high-profile accused in Toronto.”


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