September 4, 2007


Muslim Women In Charge (Elizabeth MacDonald and Megha Bahree, 08.30.07, Forbes)

Despite the barriers, 10 women executives from the Middle East made our World's 100 Most Powerful Women ranking this year. How are they managing to break through the glass ceiling?

Good old-fashioned capitalism has played a role. The economic liberalization of several Muslim countries in recent years, and the privatization of large chunks of government-run companies, have helped Muslim businesswomen get a greater foothold. "Now opportunities are open to everyone," says Laura Osman, the first female president of the Arab Bankers Association of North America. "The private sector runs on meritocracy."

In fact, banking in the Muslim world is populated by a growing number of women, even in the historically all-male executive suite. Sahar El-Sallab is second in command at Commercial International Bank, one of Egypt's largest private banks. There are more women climbing the ranks behind her. Today, four out of 10 of Commercial International Bank's employees and 70% of its management staff are women.

Similarly, Maha Al-Ghunaim, chairman of Kuwait's Global Investment House, has steadily grown the investment bank she founded to now manage more than $7 billion in assets. It recently won permission to operate in Qatar and next wants to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia.

Muslim businesswomen now also sit at the top ranks of mega-conglomerates.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 4, 2007 6:11 PM
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