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Back to news room Arab Women in Real Estate: Stories that Ignite Change

Arab Women in Real Estate: Stories that Ignite Change

Women are emerging as a powerful force in the real estate industry, driving transformation and breaking down barriers. From industry leaders to rising stars, these women continue to showcase resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment to their craft.

In the Arab world, the narrative is no different. The region is witnessing an impressive surge in the number of women leading real estate conglomerates, executing multi-billion-dollar projects, and reshaping the urban landscape with their vision and expertise.


Vision 2030: A Catalyst for Women Empowerment

Vision 2030 is playing a crucial role in promoting female inclusivity and participation in Saudi Arabia. Through initiatives focused on education, entrepreneurship, work environment, and representation, the framework is creating opportunities for women to excel and contribute to the nation’s transformation. By harnessing the potential of women in real estate, Vision 2030 is igniting change for a more diverse, innovative, and inclusive future.

● Access to Education and Training:

Vision 2030 recognizes the importance of education and training in empowering women to excel in various sectors. Scholarships and educational initiatives have been introduced to enable women to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for success in this competitive field. As a result, women in Saudi Arabia are pursuing degrees and certifications, enhancing their career prospects.

● Cultural Shift:

Vision 2030 has ushered in a cultural shift that emphasizes the importance of equal opportunities, fair treatment, and non-discrimination in the workplace. It encourages companies to implement policies and practices that promote gender diversity and inclusivity, such as flexible working arrangements, maternity leave, and equal pay. This

shift is particularly evident in the real estate sector, where women are viewed as integral members of the industry.

● Women in Leadership Roles:

One of the key pillars of Vision 2030 is to increase the participation of women in the workforce, especially leadership positions. This includes promoting women's representation on boards of directors, committees, and other influential positions. By ensuring that women have a seat at the table, Vision 2030 is working towards creating an environment where women's perspectives and expertise are valued and integrated into key decisions.

● Women-Owned Businesses:

In alignment with Vision 2030's goal of encouraging entrepreneurship among women, the nation has created initiatives that enable women to start their own businesses. This includes providing financial support, mentorship programs, and access to resources and networks. By fostering a supportive environment for female entrepreneurs, Vision 2030 is not only promoting inclusivity but also driving innovation and economic growth.


The Statistics: Progress and Potential

●  Arab women's participation in the real estate industry is rising in the Arab world, particularly in the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

●  Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 initiative has boosted women's involvement in the workforce, especially in real estate.

●  The Saudi Arabia Real Estate Development Fund (REDF) has helped about 73,000 Saudi women become first-time homeowners through mortgage loans.

●  According to CityScape Intelligence, women make up 34% of registered real estate brokers in Dubai, with an impressive 4,519 women brokers actively engaged in 8,606 transactions totaling AED 696 million.

●  The Dubai Land Department (DLD) reports that in 2022, a total of 26,698 female investors registered 33,419 real estate investments, collectively valued at more than AED 58.8 billion.

●  Data from the DLD in 2023 shows a 50.7% increase in transaction volume and a 53% increase in transaction value compared to 2021.

●  According to the DLD, women comprise 34.8% of registered real estate brokers, with 4,519 women brokers actively participating in 8,606 transactions valued at AED 696 million. These women constitute 42% of the total workforce within the organization.

● Research by Wamda shows that female-founded MENA startups received USD 34.6 million in funding in 2021.


Profiles of Excellence: Women Who Inspire

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid was an Iraqi architect whose works were associated with the deconstructivist architectural movement, which challenged traditional architectural conventions and sought to create structures that appeared fragmented or disordered. One of her iconic projects is the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, characterized by its futuristic and sustainable design. Another iconic project is the London Aquatics Centre, built for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, United Kingdom.

Hadid’s work was celebrated for its fluidity and dynamism, and she was awarded numerous accolades, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in the field. Her success story is a testament to her resilience and determination, and her legacy continues to inspire women in the Arab world to pursue their passions and break down barriers.


Lubna Olayan

Lubna Olayan

Lubna Olayan is the former CEO of Olayan Financing Company, one of Saudi Arabia's largest conglomerates with diverse interests, including trading, real estate, and investment. Under Olayan's leadership, the company has made remarkable strides in the real estate sector. She has spearheaded high-profile projects, including the development of commercial and residential properties, shopping malls, and office spaces.

Her journey began in 2004 when she made history by becoming the first woman to join the board of a publicly listed Saudi company, Alawwal Bank. In 2019, she achieved another historic milestone as she was appointed Chairwoman of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), becoming the

first Saudi woman to lead a bank. Her influence in the business world was further underscored by her ranking as the third most powerful businesswoman in Forbes Middle East's 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen for 2023.


Raja Al Gurg

Raja Al Gurg

Raja Al Gurg is the Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, President of the Dubai Business Women’s Council, and board member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to Forbes, Al Gurg has carried on the family business, originally founded by her father in 1960, which now has 27 companies under its wings, employing 3,000 people.

In recognition of her remarkable achievements, Al Gurg earned the title of the third most powerful businesswoman in Forbes Middle East's 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen 2017. Her influence and impact have only expanded with time, as seen by her recent ranking as the second most powerful businesswoman in Forbes Middle East's 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023.


Rania Nashar

Rania Nashar

Rania Nashar was appointed as CEO of Samba Financial Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest national banks, for four years. Today, Nashar serves as a board member for stc, the Saudi Tadawul Group, the National Center for Performance Measurement, the Saudi Space Commission, and the Saudi Polo Federation.

Nashar's career aligns closely with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy. Her contributions to finance and real estate have been instrumental in advancing this vision by encouraging investment and entrepreneurship in non-oil sectors. This year, Nashar was ranked number 47 in Forbes Middle East’s 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023.


Majida Ali Rashid

Majda Ali Rashid

Majida Ali Rashid is the Assistant Director General of Dubai Land Department (DLD) and CEO of the Investment Management and Real Estate Promotion Centre. Rashid has played an important role in developing Dubai’s real estate sector as an investment destination and constantly emphasizing the role of women at events and conferences.

Rashid's outstanding contributions to the industry have not gone unnoticed. In 2014, Rashid was selected as Female CEO of the Year at CEO Middle East Awards. She was also recognized as the second most powerful businesswoman this year in Forbes Middle East's prestigious 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen 2023.


Lama Al Sulaiman


Lama Al Sulaiman was one of the first two Saudi women to be elected as a board member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce (JCC) in 2005. In 2009, Al Sulaiman was named Vice Chairwoman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), becoming the first woman to hold such a post in Saudi history. The JCCI is a key influencer in the commercial and real estate landscape of Jeddah and, by extension, the wider Saudi Arabian economy.

Al Sulaiman’s exceptional leadership qualities and transformative contributions in her role earned her recognition as a Young Arab Leader by The World Economic Forum, a prestigious acknowledgment of her influence and impact in the business world.


Zainab Mohammed

Zainab Mohammed

Zainab Mohammed is the CEO of Property Management and Marketing at Wasl. Over the years, she has solidified her standing as a pivotal figure in Dubai's real estate sector, contributing significantly to its growth and development.

In recognition of her contributions, she won the ‘Emirates Women Award’ twice, the second time under the slogan ‘Wisdom, Goodness and Tenderness.’ Mohammed was also awarded in the ‘Leadership’ category for her outstanding contributions to the development of Dubai’s real estate sector and her exceptional team leadership skills.


The real estate industry is undergoing a transformation, and women are at the forefront of this change. Their stories of resilience, innovation, and achievements serve as a source of inspiration for all. They remind us that diversity and inclusion are not just ideals but powerful catalysts for progress.

Join us in driving inclusivity and progress in the real estate industry at the 42nd FIABCI Global Leadership Summit. Register now at to secure your early bird tickets.

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