Emirati minister Sarah Al Amiri named in BBC's top 100 women of 2020

The head of the country's space programme was recognised among the women who made a global impact this year

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The head of the UAE's space programme has been named in a list of the most influential women of 2020.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and chair of the UAE Space Agency, was included in the BBC's 100 Women 2020.

A computer engineer who began her career building satellites, the minister oversaw the recent launch of the Mars space probe Hope in July, which made headlines across the globe.

The spacecraft is due to reach Mars in February and begin orbiting to collect important scientific data.

Ms Al Amiri will also lead the country's plans to send an unmanned craft to the Moon by 2024.

The minister, one of the youngest in the UAE Cabinet, was included in a list alongside Sanna Marin, who leads Finland's all-female coalition government, Hollywood actress Michelle Yeoh, star of the new Avatar and Marvel films and Sarah Gilbert, who heads the University of Oxford's research into a coronavirus vaccine. Jane Fonda, the actress and climate activist, was also among the top 100.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, congratulated Ms Al Amiri on Tuesday.

"She is leading a campaign to show Arab women that they can achieve anything," he wrote on Instagram.

"And nothing is impossible for her."

In a year of unprecedented turbulence, this year’s theme is ‘How Women Led Change in 2020’.

It celebrates some of the scientists, public health experts, and healthcare workers who have helped us weather the storm of the global pandemic.

Women from other industries who have all been leaders of change in their own way — from politicians, lawyers and architects to actors, writers, athletes, singers and those who have sought to improve the lives of others in their community — also made it to the list.

BBC’s top 100 women was established in 2013 as an annual series focused on a list of 100 inspirational women. It examines the role of women in the 21st century and celebrates their achievements.

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