Let’s start with a simple experiment: Think of 5 people, within the public sphere, that inspire you. Done? Cool. Now, how many of them are women? 2? 3 maybe? Okay, now how many of them are Arab women?
When looking for inspiration within the various aspects of our lives, we may look within our families, workplaces, communities and the media that we consume. These are people who not only inspire us but also help us see parts of ourselves in them. They may look like us, speak our language, share our views or beliefs. What we look for is representation. As is, women are often underrepresented or boxed within a narrow sphere in many fields globally and the case isn’t much different when it comes of Arab women specifically.
So I decided to compile a list of talks by Arab women, who may not be high profile politicians, multimillionaires or celebrities, but are no way any less inspiring.
Here’s a part of the list of Ted Talks by Arab Women pioneering in their respective fields and their brilliant stories that may hopefully inspire and motivate you to pursue your passions. Enjoy!
1. Suad Amiry, Palestine: My work, My Hobby. Simply look inside you never at others
Why you should watch: Palestinian architect, Suad Amiry, highlights the importance of identifying what drives you and turning what you love into a career.
2. Tamadher Al Fahal, Bahrain: I am a mad Arabian woman
Why you should watch: Tamadher shares her experience of overcoming social and cultural challenges through art.
3. Dr. Rana Dajani, Jordan: The Butterfly Effect
Why you should watch: Hear Dr. Rana share how she turned her passion for reading and literature into a fast growing movement.
4. Leila Hoteit, Lebanon: 3 lessons on success from an Arab businesswoman
Why you should watch: In her talk, Leila shares what it is like to be an Arab woman navigating in the business world and challenging gender stereotypes.
5. Eman Mohamed, Palestine: The courage to tell a hidden story
Why you should watch: Eman, Gaza’s first female photojournalist, shares her courageous story of overcoming obstacles and telling stories through her lens.
6. Maysoon Zayid, Palestinian-American: I got 99 problems. Palsy is just one
Why you should watch: Actress and comedian, Maysoon Zayid, talks about how she never believed in limiting herself and her dreams despite the obstacles that she may face.