Some of the Western world’s understanding of Muslim women is that they are expected to live in the shadow of their male counterparts, but at the forefront of changing such misconceptions is Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi woman and youngest Arab to conquer Mount Everest. After arriving in Dubai in 2003 to complete her university education, Raha found that being here gave her the freedom to live as she pleased, unapologetically, enhancing her ‘gender-blind’ upbringing. This bolstered her courage, and last year she achieved her ambition of standing at the top of the world, shoulder to shoulder with men, on the Arabs with Altitude expedition. The feat served to confirm to Raha the importance of being raised to be a free spirit. “If children are raised to be confident and curious, without having to apologise for who they are, and taught to respect the environment, even the impossible is achievable,” she says.
A freelance art director, Raha still has plenty to keep her busy while she trains rigorously for her next adventure, but surprisingly, says she doesn’t like to have a hectic pace of life. Preferring to spend quality time with her close friends, holding movie nights and spending lazy days at the beach, it seems she has found the best of both worlds.