Sara Akbar: Kuwait's hero and female leader in the oil industry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The history and modernization of women's rights and leadership in Kuwait is explored through an introspective from Engineer Sara Akbar, CEO of Kuwait Energy. Akbar gives detailed accounts of her brief history of work and life as a woman in leadership. Through a lengthy ethnographic research, I traveled to Kuwait City as a Fulbright Scholar at the American University of Kuwait (AUK 2009-2010) and had my first interview with her at the Engineers Society building. In 2013, on our first study abroad program at AUK, I invited Sara Akbar to give a lecture to my ASU students as part of a Lecture Series I organized; then I had another interview with her in her office in the new premises of her company, Kuwait Energy in Salmiya. Akbar's dialogue highlights her theoretical feminist framework for life in Kuwait. In addition to her recounts of oppression and struggle as a woman in her workforce, Sara Akbar gives a call to action for people in all social and occupational hierarchies, men, and women, in Kuwait to broaden their horizons for women in leadership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-225
Number of pages19
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Gendered occupational hierarchies
  • Kuwaiti women
  • Oppression of women
  • Women's leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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