In its second year, BBC World Service launched its 100 Women campaign this October. Aiming to shed light on the role of women in the 21 st century, the event culminated in all honorees being invited to the BBC headquarters in England.

From their list, we’ve pulled twelve women from the Middle East who come from all walks of life, from innovating in business to entertaining on the stage. Check out these movers and shakers below.

Contributions in Technology

Hind Hobeika, founder of Instabeat, Lebanon

Hobeika first designed the heart rate monitoring device Instabeat to improve her swimming workouts. Called the " Google Glass " of swimwear,  the device has won many awards including third prize in the The Stars of Science in  2010 and first prize in MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Business Plan Competition's in 2012. Her start up, Instabeat, is hailed by many as a success story in the region because of the global appeal of its product.

Contributions in Art and Design and Entertainment

Bahia Shehab, artist, designer and art historian from Egypt

When asked to participate in a 2010 exhibition commemorating 100 years of Islamic art in Europe, Shehab had only one word in mind: “No” . Echoing the Arab saying, Shebab compiled thousands of different visual representations of the word from 1,400 years of history into a book "A Thousand Times No."

Hatoon Kadi, comedian from Saudi Arabia

Speaking up comes in different forms. Some people choose to shout out their ideas, while others, like Hatoon Kadi, choose to express them through blogs and "vlogs" or video blogs. With a lifelong passion for performing and acting, Kadi created YouTube episodes called Noon Alniswa where she narrates different situations in a humorous way.

Bushra El-Turk, composer for London Symphony Orchestra from Lebanon and the United Kingdom

Influenced by her Lebanese roots, El-Turk’s music is an intersection of the east and the west. She recently accepted the AHRC award to study PhD in Musical Composition with Michael Zev Gordon at Birmingham University in the UK.

Contributions in Social Work

Sarah Hesterman, equal rights campaigner, Qatar

Hesterman, acting president of Girl Up Qatar, founded the organization to promote leadership skills for boys and girls. It aims to provide the youth with a platform to advocate for girls' right to education in developing nations.

Alaa Murabit, founder of The Voice of Libyan Women, Libya

Murabit founded her NGO, The Voice of Libyan Women in August 2011. It promotes women empowerment and development in Libya.

Contributions in Business and Entrepreneurship

Sally Sabry, businesswoman, Egypt

Sabry and Doaa Zaki founded Best Mums in 2006 to provide new mothers across the Middle East with high quality nursing products.

Asma Mansour, co-founder of Tunisian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Tunisia

Mansour co-founded the People’s Movement of Human Rights Learning, an organization that promotes the integration of human rights into the daily lives of citizens.

Contributions in Health

Dr Yasmin Altwaijri, mental health and obesity scientist, Saudi Arabia

With a PhD in epidemiology, Dr Altwaijri is the Senior Scientist and Head of Epidemiology Research at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh. She is also the chair of the Saudi Women in Science Committee.

Khuloud Saba, researcher and public health worker, Syria

Khuloud Saba is researcher at the Syrian Center for Policy Research and is also a PhD candidate in International Public Health Policy. Among her several contributions is a paper entitled " Syria's Next Generation: Youth Unemployment, Education and Exclusion ."


Arine Rinawi, photo journalist and entrepreneur, Palestine

Through her lens, Rinawi records snippets of the daily life in Ramallah, Palestine and the struggles that Palestinians face there.

Müge İplikçi, author, Turkey

This well-known Turkish author has published over 14 books, which range from novellas to fiction to nonfiction.