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Empowering Women Around the World Dr. Moudi A. Al-Humoud has built her career around breaking the gender status quo in government and academia in Kuwait.

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Headshot of Dr. Moudi in Kogod.
Dr. Moudi at Kogod. Credit: Will Diamond.

Dr. Moudi A. Al-Humoud has charted a professional path around leadership and women empowerment. She hopes she can serve as an inspiration for other women pursuing business careers.

Al-Humoud, a recent visiting scholar at Kogod, is president of Arab Open University in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Her CV boasts an impressive career in both academia and government. She has co-authored two textbooks—Introduction to Business Administration and Public Administration (Ministry Education)—as well as written 17 papers.

During her time in the Kuwait government, Al-Humoud held a few different positions. From May 2008 to March 2009, she was the State Minister for Planning & Development and State Minister for Housing Government of the State of Kuwait. And from 2009 to May 2011, she was the Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education.

“When I finished my four years in the cabinet as a minister, I went back to academia,” she said. “This is my passion, academia.”

Her experiences align with her focus on empowering women around the world, especially in the Middle East, where women’s rights are still developing.

“Being a woman [and] having experience in many leadership positions gives me an advantage, to reflect on my experience and research, and open doors for other females,” Al-Humoud said.

In November, Al-Humoud spent a two-week residency at American University’s Kogod School of Business, where she had the opportunity to connect with professors in her field and sit in on a couple of classes. There, she observed a new generation of women learning how to be leaders in the classroom.

“I love the atmosphere of American University, the engagement of the students here,” she said.

During her time at Kogod, Al-Humoud learned about new developments in the field and updates in her research area. After spending years dealing with human resource management in Kuwait’s government and private sectors, she is commited to learning how women can be better utilized in the labor market.

Despite the high number of women in universities, they still remain a minority in the labor market—especially in Kuwait. This, Al-Humoud explained, is a problem that stems from the many challenges women face when they try to enter the professional field. Both in her region and in general, women are underutilized.

Al-Humoud hopes to help women address and surpass these challenges, and successfully enter the business world. “There are too many things that hinder the involvement of women in business,” she said. “We have to address these challenges and facilitate nationally.”

Her most current research focuses on the role education plays in empowering Arab women to participate in the labor market and occupy leadership positions. Currently, Al-Humoud is investigating the impact of the factors that determine if women participate in the labor market, which include the economic environment; job-specific policies; and social or cultural norms. To do so, she’s gathering data and working with a sample of women leaders in the public and private sectors.

Al-Humoud has also participated in workshops at Harvard, as well as numerous conferences and seminars around the world. She has amplified her research through nearly 20 published papers, expanding on how the business sector utilizes its workforce and how women fit into that picture.

Al-Humoud’s years of experience, combined with her women-centric research, is a powerful reminder of the role women can, and should, play in the business world. And a guide for the future, as women continue to proliferate and impact the business world for good.

“I want to have a better future for my daughters, for my colleagues, for the females in general anywhere in the world,” she said. “I know they can make a big difference. Women can make a difference in any institution.”