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Najla Bouden
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Geologist Najla Bouden: First Female Prime Minister

Geologist Najla Bouden: First Female Prime Minister

Najla is our Smart Girl today because she has worked hard to become the first-ever female prime minister in the Arab world of North Africa. She vows to revive Tunisia’s economy and end corruption in various institutions in the country. Her appointment as prime minister is symbolically important to end ‘male privilege’ in the Arab world, but a lot of work needs to be done to end violence against women in Tunisia. We are all rooting for her to stand up and fight for the rights of the women in Tunisia. Najla is, beyond a doubt, an inspiration to girls everywhere!

Early Life

Najla Bouden, also known as Najla Bouden Romdhane was born on the 29th of June 1958 in Kairouan, Tunisia. Her father Mohamed Bouden worked as a professor at the Sadiki College- a college in Tunisia. Bouden has four brothers who are all scientists.

Education & Professional Career

In 1983 Najla graduated from ESTP Paris with a Bachelor’s in Engineering. She also holds a Master’s in Petroleum Exploration. In 1987 she got her Ph.D. in geology from the Mines ParisTech after defending her thesis in earthquake engineering.

Bouden started her career by working as a professor at the National Engineering School of Tunis and Tunisia Polytechnic School. She taught seismic hazards at these institutions and trained many executives of the Tunisian Petroleum Activities Company.

She also held senior roles at the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. From 2011-2015 she went on to work as a Director General and a cabinet minister in the Tunisian government. In 2016 she oversaw the $70 million World Bank-funded program that was to reform and modernize university education in Tunisia. The program would help reduce the widespread unemployment among Tunisian graduates.

Bouden’s Political Career

On September 29th 2021, Tunisian president Kais Saied appointed Najla to form the country’s new government. It was a time when Tunisia was going through a political crisis. Najla made history as the first woman to take up this office in the Arab World. The president described her appointment as an honor to Tunisia and Tunisian women.

Najla vows to use her position to put an end to the corruption and chaos which have spread to many institutions in Tunis and improve the economy of Tunisia.

Personal Life

Bouden is married to an eye surgeon, Kamel Romdhane, and the couple is blessed with two children. She is a shining example of a modern woman who juggles family and career. She is an inspiration to young girls everywhere who live in societies that have “male privilege,” as she works to give more opportunities to women.

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