provide women’s access schemes
March 25th, 2015: Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and the first Saudi woman to conquer Mount Everest, has revealed how her father's refusal to allow her to take on the immense challenge fuelled her determination to succeed. Raha was speaking among a line-up of inspiring women at a recent event to celebrate International Women's Day, held at Canadian University Dubai (CUD).
Speaking of her childhood growing up in Jeddah, Raha described how she felt the walls of gender rising up around her, and how she had always yearned for adventure, but was increasingly aware that, in the eyes of many, the colour of her passport was going to dictate her capabilities.
"Ultimately I found myself at a crossroads - marriage or adventure - and at that point I chose to listen to my heart and follow my dream", she revealed, "But it was only when my father told me 'no' that I knew I could actually do it. I discovered that my love of adventure exceeded my fear of rejection. I raised the courage to confront my family and eventually, they told me to go for it."
Raha's adventure first took her to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro where, after a grueling ascent, she was inspired by the landscape to take on the next leg of her momentous journey. Having climbed Mount Vinson, Mount Elbrus, Aconcagua, Kala Pattar, Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl, she moved on to the world's highest peak, simply because, she says, 'I believed I could do it', and in 2013 she stood shoulder to shoulder with a group of men on the summit of Mount Everest, becoming the first Saudi woman to reach the top of the world.
The Women's Day event, organized to celebrate international womanhood, also heard from another inspiring Saudi female, Summer Nasief, who, as a healthcare and life sciences executive, has recently been ranked number 47 amongst the Most Powerful Arab Women of 2015. Drawing on her life experiences, including becoming the first female executive for IBM in Saudi Arabia, she assured the audience of young women and men that, with the right tools and attitude, anything is attainable.
Alongside the two inspiring life stories, representatives of the University community provided their own perspectives on the past and future of womanhood. Students Asma Ghanem and Lavender Sheshe profiled a range of inspiring UAE women from Olympic athletes Latifa Al Maktoum and Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum, to the first woman appointed to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi.
Student Kazem Aboudan paid his own tribute to womankind through a recital of his self-penned poetry, while the event culminated with a spectacular celebration of fashion as ladies from a whole spectrum of nationalities took to the stage in a colorful display that celebrated their traditional dress.