Leadership Development in the Middle East

Leadership Development in the Middle East

Edited by Beverly Dawn Metcalfe and Fouad Mimouni

Leadership in the Middle East has never been as vital as it is in the wake of the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring – yet there is a lack of detailed knowledge concerning strategies for developing capacity in leadership, national skills and knowledge management. This volume aims to address this deficit. This book is the first text on the subject of leadership development in the Middle East to be published in English (drawing on both English and Arabic scholarship) and will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of leadership theory and practice in the global economy.

Chapter 13: Women, Leadership and Development: Reappraising the Value of the Feminine in Leadership Theorizing in the Middle East

Beverly Dawn Metcalfe and Lulwa Mutlaq

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, politics and public policy, leadership


Beverly Dawn Metcalfe and Lulwa Mutlaq I believe strongly in the rights of women. My mother is a woman. My sister is a woman. My daughter is a woman. My wife is a woman. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, interview with Barbara Walters 2005 I mean, what is a woman? I assure you I do not believe that anybody can know until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill. Virginia Woolf, Professions for Women 1932 INTRODUCTION In this chapter we advance the theorizing of women’s leadership development in the Middle East. We explore the growth of women leaders in the region and show how current leadership knowledge presents only a partial picture of the complexity of women’s leadership roles and practice. Our intention is to enhance the value of the feminine in theorizing as a corrective to Western constructions which have largely privileged masculinist accounts. Further, our intention is not to recreate hierarchical gender positioning, but to show that a re-reading through a feminist Islamic lens can reveal a feminine logic which has often remained silenced and marginalized. The past two decades have seen the appearance of Muslim scholars whose writings bear a keen resemblance to those of Muslim modernists of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Ramadan 2009). Their writings include feminist re-interpretations of Qur’anic verses and analyses of the authenticity of reports of the Prophet’s traditions as well as clarifications of Islamic history. These works are often ripostes to traditionalist and...

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