Refleksi: Sangat menarik sekali bahwa Ratu Haya dari Dubai tidak memakai jilbab atau burkha. Apakah alasan pribadi atau karena kedudukannya dibolehkan demikian?
http://www.arabnews.com/?page=24§ion=0&article=114685&d=23&m=9&y=2008 Tuesday 23 September 2008 (23 Ramadan 1429) New in Gulf: Bigger role for some first ladies AP Dubai's Princess Haya DOHA: The first lady of Qatar walked up to the podium in a luxury hotel banquet room and sized up the crowd of mostly wealthy businessmen. "Do not be afraid to take risks and to try," she told them. "Think out of the box." Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al-Missned took on a very untraditional role in rallying the men to support a $100-million initiative to tackle unemployment. Like her counterpart in Dubai, Oxford-educated Princess Haya, Mozah is taking up the Western "first lady" model - activist, globe-trotting and involved in public affairs. The emergence of high-ranking wives on the public stage is part of the booming Gulf states' efforts to appear more in sync with the West as they seek investment, political clout and even big-name sporting events like the Olympics. In recent years, Qatar has transformed its desert landscape into a financial and media hub. Mozah, who is believed to be in her 40s, has taken a starring role in the transformation. She is one of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani's wives and the only one who makes public appearances. Her most prominent role is as chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation, which launched Education City, a 2,500-acre campus outside Doha and home to branches of prominent American universities like Carnegie Mellon and Georgetown. Mozah is increasingly rivaling Queen Rania's globe-trotting, giving speeches at institutions in the US and Europe. Last year, she claimed one of the spots on Forbes magazine's list of the world's 100 most powerful women. "No Gulf royalty stands out as Mozah does," said Rima Sabban, a Dubai-based sociologist. "She broke all cultural barriers and shaped an image of a woman that is fully modern, fully confident and fearless of a backlash from the society... Mozah's strategy is part of her husband's goal to put Qatar on the world map." In the even glitzier city of Dubai, Princess Haya is also breaking the rules - giving speeches on public welfare, working on public projects, appearing in magazines, keeping personal websites and traveling the world. Dubai gained significant political influence in the region through the 2004 marriage of its powerful ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, with the 34-year-old Haya, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan. Like Mozah, Haya has taken on public roles, including chairing the Dubai International Humanitarian City, a cluster of Western and Islamic charities. She represented Jordan in equestrian show jumping in the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia, is president of the International Equestrian Federation and even has a truck-driving license, obtained in Jordan to help transport her horses. Other wives of Gulf rulers are active in campaigning for women's rights, charity and humanitarian issues, particularly in Bahrain and Kuwait, but they have not sought foreign attention or assumed highly public roles.