Nahed Taher is a trailblazer for women in Saudi Arabia. She became the first woman to work for the Saudi Arabian National Commercial Bank, where she was Senior Economist. In 2006, she became CEO of the Bahrain-based Gulf One investment bank, making her the first woman to head a bank in the Gulf region.
"The most important things in business are work and creativity. I take the same view of women: first of all, they need to be active, creative personalities, not just 'ladies.' New opportunities need to be open to women, not only in the humanities but, for example, in the technical and IT fields."
Taher is co-founder of Gulf One, whose financial products are focused on large energy and infrastructure investments across the Middle East and India. She said that the bank strives for equality and hires the right person, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman.
"When our bank opened, a lot of people expected us to only hire women, but that didn't happen. Our priority has always been equality – for women and for men. The job should go to the person with the best qualifications, and gender here doesn't matter."
"Since the reign of the previous monarch, King Abdullah, women in Saudi Arabia no longer conform to accepted stereotypes. The Kingdom is taking significant steps toward supporting women."
"I feel proud of our young girls and guys who want to develop new areas of business. I admire their desire to work and start their own business. They are strong-willed, which enables them to overcome all obstacles, be they restrictions on the basis of sex or something else."