Saudi women

First but not last: Meet the Saudi Arabian women making their mark in the world

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

From becoming ambassadors to their country to flying commercial planes and driving race cars, Saudi Arabian women have taken great strides in the Kingdom in recent years.

Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, hundreds of job opportunities have become readily available and transformative reforms have swept the nation.


“Saudi women are yet another great asset.. We will continue to develop their talents, invest in their productive capabilities and enable them to strengthen their future,” the Crown Prince said when the reforms were first introduced.

Here are some Saudi Arabian women who were the first in their field:

Princess Reema bint Bandar

Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema bint Bandar became the Kingdom’s first female ambassador when she was appointed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2019.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, walks with Saudi ambassador to the United States Princess Reema Bint Bandar. (File photo: AP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, walks with Saudi ambassador to the United States Princess Reema Bint Bandar. (File photo: AP)

In 2020, Princess Reema was also elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Since her appointment as the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, cultural attaches have included six women – an expansion of women’s role in the diplomatic corps.

Yasmeen al-Maimani

Yasmeen al-Maimani became Saudi Arabia’s first female pilot to fly a commercial plane in the Kingdom in June 2020.

Yasmeen al-Maimani. (Instagram)
Yasmeen al-Maimani. (Instagram)

Al-Maimani had piloted a domestic flight on Nesma Airlines from Hail to al-Qassim.

The female pilot had completed 300 hours of flying practice in the US after getting her qualifications in Jordan. In 2013, she was able to exchange her American license with a Saudi one.

Reema Juffali

Twenty-nine year old Reema Juffali made her debut as the first female race driver from Saudi Arabia at the F4 British Championship at Brands Hatch last weekend.

Reema Juffali. (Supplied)
Reema Juffali. (Supplied)

In pursuit of her life-long dream of becoming a race car driver, Juffali applied for a racing license in the Kingdom in 2017. She was the first woman in the country to do so.

The next year, she participated in her first racing event at the TRD86 Cup in Abu Dhabi, where she ranked second and third in two races.

Adwa al-Arifi

Adwa al-Arifi made history in 2019 by becoming the first Saudi Arabian woman to join the Saudi Football Federation.

Al-Arifi founded the Kingdom’s first women’s football team. Al Yamamah plays matches in Riyadh. She is also a board member of the Saudi Olympic Committee.

Adwa al-Arifi. (Screengrab)
Adwa al-Arifi. (Screengrab)

Since her appointment, the Kingdom has launched its own female football league.

Read more:

Top Content Trending