Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.
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Maha ElShinnawy is the director of Goldman Sachs Women’s Entrepreneurship and Leadership (WEL) Center. The center is a cooperative project among investment firm Goldman Sachs, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the American University in Cairo, where Maha is a professor. Part of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, the WEL Center’s mission is to “enhance the business knowledge and leadership skills of Arab women entrepreneurs and to serve as a research and resource center for women’s leadership and entrepreneurial empowerment in the region.”1
Maha graduated in 1984 from the American University in Cairo (AUC) summa cum laude, earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration. She received a master’s degree in business administration two years later from the same institution before going on to pursue a doctorate degree in management at the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Maha’s research there earned her a spot among the finalists for the Institute of Management Science’s Best Dissertation Award.
Upon completing her graduate studies, Maha joined the faculty of Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in the Department of Business Analysis and Research. She became a tenured associate professor in 1998. In 2004, she became an associate professor in the Department of Management at the American University in Cairo, becoming first a tenured professor three years later and then the Brown Chair in International Leadership in that department. In addition to her present position as director of the WEL Center that she took in 2008, she also served as the associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research at the American University in Cairo from 2009 to 2010.
She has contributed to leading journals and presented her work around the world, earning her international recognition. Her expertise in leadership, gender, change management, and group dynamics has not only garnered respect in academia, but led to the creation of economic opportunities for thousands of underprivileged women throughout the Arab world.2 The WEL Center teaches skills in areas from leadership to business management to writing and communication and recently offered instruction in Arabic for the first time. Under Maha’s direction, the WEL Center has graduated six classes of female entrepreneurs. The center has also introduced one-one-one mentoring sessions with faculty and experts to further develop the potential of participants. For her many achievements, including her work at the WEL Center, Maha was named one of ArabianBusiness.com’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States