Revealed: 50 most influential women in MENA retail

March 8, 2021 | By Shruthi Nair

The region was a trading hub for the rest of the world even before some Middle East countries attained statehood. Any retailer who has lived here for more than a few decades will tell you tales about the busy markets or souqs, where merchants and vendors would set up shop close to a harbour, to sell items ranging from spices and herbs to gold and jewellery.

Of course, the retail landscape of this region has evolved massively from little markets and corner-shops to megamalls and high-tech e-commerce platforms, which are giving a tough competition to global retail outlets in terms of scale, revenue, and popularity and so have the mindsets of the leaders and decision-makers of the industry.

Considering more than 80% of all purchasing decisions are made or influenced by women, it should come as no surprise that women are perhaps best positioned – both intellectually and empathetically – to be at the helm of retail businesses. In the Middle East, it is some of the female leaders that have been instrumental in revolutionising the way retail operations are conducted.

In order to celebrate the efforts and achievements of these trailblazing women, RetailME launches its first-ever 50 Most Influential Women in MENA Retail list, just in time for International Women’s Day. We have consciously made the choice to not rank the women listed here as our aim is just to appreciate and honour these individuals for serving the industry and their customers to take MENA’s retail to new heights. Hence, the names have been arranged in the alphabetical order of their surnames.

These successful, motivated, and passionate women represent different scales of businesses ranging from startups to mammoth conglomerates and have played their part in shaping and influencing the region’s retail landscape in big or small ways.

Click here to read more about these women


Both, nominations and editorial scores were considered while creating this list. The factors that played a role in shortlisting a candidate includes, but isn’t limited to, the current position she holds in an organisation, contribution to the organisation, brand visibility, other positions held in the government or non-government organisations, ability to influence, digital media presence, leadership during crises, executing innovation, personal and business growth, nominations and editorial points.

If you feel that we have missed any names that deserved to be on this list please email [email protected]




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