Top 10 women in Islamic finance

For all you long-suffering women feeling like a minority in the sector, here is some inspiration to keep you going.

1. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz
Of course. Governor Zeti is the first lady of Islamic finance. She has been Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia since 2000, the first woman to hold the position, and is largely responsible for laying the foundations for and driving Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry – which is now the envy of the Islamic finance world.

2. Engku Rabiah Adawiah Engku Ali
A professor of law at International Islamic University Malaysia, she is credited as being the first female Shari’ah scholar, and is said to have inspired a whole generation of women Shari’ah scholars after her.

3. Raja Teh Maimunah
One of the best known personalities on Malaysia’s Islamic finance scene, Teh is currently the CEO of Hong Leong Islamic Bank. Teh has spent nearly 20 years in the Islamic finance industry heading operations for some of the biggest names, including Bursa Malaysia – the largest destination for Sukuk listings in the world..

4. Datuk Noripah Kamso
The retired Chief Executive of CIMB-Principle Islamic Asset Management, Kamso not only headed one of the largest Islamic asset management companies in the world but made plenty of noise while she was doing it. A regular at Islamic finance conferences and events, her genuine passion for the industry is as noteworthy as her resume.

5. Jamelah Jamaluddin
The CEO of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia), she is one of the few prominent women in Islamic finance to be recognised in both Asia and the Gulf. She has headed several Islamic banking operations in her career, including RHB Islamic Bank.

6. Nevine Loutfy
Known as one of the most approachable CEOs in Islamic finance, Loutfy is a shining example of what a woman’s touch can do for an Islamic bank. Currently Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director for The National Bank For Development in Egypt, Nevine Loutfy has spent the last 30 years battling her way up the ranks and is frequently recognised as one of the most powerful women in the region.

7. Baljeet Kaur Grewal
As the Managing Director and Vice Chairman at the Investment, Advisory & Research arm of Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Grewal is one of the few prominent women in Islamic finance academia and research. Grewal has spoken on how the gender gap in Islamic finance is steadily closing, and she is a shining example of the women making it happen.

8. Aida Othman
One of the few female lawyers working in Islamic finance, Aida also happens to be one of the most highly qualified Islamic finance lawyers in the world. She currently serves as Director of ZI Shariah Advisory Services in Malaysia.

9. Rusni Hassan
Hassan is one of the few female Shari’ah scholars in the world. An academician by profession, she burst onto the scene in 2003 after completing her PhD in Islamic commercial law from the International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM), particularly in the area of Fiqh Muamalat..

10. Nahed Taher
A bit of a cheat seeing as how she is actually the CEO of a conventional bank (the first lady in the Gulf ever to be promoted to such a position), however she cut her teeth at National Commercial Bank in her native Saudi Arabia, where she rose to the coveted post of Senior Economist. In 2006 Forbes Magazine ranked Taher 72nd in the list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.