, Saudi Arabia
Lina K. Almaeena is a Saudi writer, member of the Young Saudi Business Committee and Sports Investment Committee in the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce, and the Kingdom Young Business Women Council. She is listed as one of the 200 Most Powerful Women in the Middle East by Forbes Magazine 2014. When Al Maeena founded Jeddah United (JU), Saudi Arabia’s first private female basketball club, in 2003, the government did not license female gyms or clubs, and only a few elite private schools offered sports for girls. The team’s players faced backlash from disapproving family members to texted threats and harassment by the religious police, Saudi Arabia’s official enforcers of strict social mores. But today, after a long campaign to change attitudes toward women’s athletics, the Saudi government has written them into Vision 2030, its new economic development plan to improve infrastructure, encourage community sports and support elite competitors.