I have a great respect and admiration for strong women who are vocal about their rights, who have crossed boundaries and stood up to outdated cultural values, who never shied of saying things as they are. I have been lucky to meet few of them, and here in this post, I’d like to show my appreciation, admiration and love to these inspiring three ladies, who gave support to my work and honored me with talks by their side.
Mona Eltahawy is a journalist and social commentator based in New York City. She has written essays and op-eds for publications worldwide on Egypt and the Islamic world, on topics including women’s issues and Muslim political and social affairs. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Miami Herald among others. Headscarves and Hymens, Eltahawy’s first book, was published in May 2015. Eltahawy has been a guest analyst on U.S. radio and television news shows. She is among people who spearheaded the Mosque Me Too movement by using the hashtag #MosqueMeToo. (source)
I have been connected to Mona via Twitter for years but only had the chance to meet her last March in NYC when I did a book event. I was over the moon when she accepted the invitation to moderate the session and she impressed me with her professionalism and eloquence. My admiration to her has only grew after I met her.
Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese author, public speaker, journalist and human rights activist. She has been selected as one of the world’s 100 most powerful Arab women by Arabian Business Magazine for her cultural and social activism. In 2021, she was on Apolitical’s list of 100 most influential people in Gender Policy. (source)
I have been a fan of Joumana for so long! I don’t know exactly when I fall in love with her. Probably when I first saw her talking in a show she hosted on New TV about gender and sexual issues. I then read her “Superman” and was impressed with her boldness and courage. Joumana is a legend and I was honored to appear in her show “Al Mamnoo3” (Forbidden) on Al Horra TV in 2019. At the time, my book Laila got banned from entering Jordan and Joumana gave me her support in this special interview that I will never forget.
Shereen El Feki
Shereen El Feki is journalist and author, most notable for her book Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World (source).
I first met Shereen at Global Salzburg Forum in 2013. I remember flying to Salzburg from the UK when I was doing my masters to attend the forum. She arrived for a short time for her session and I was impressed with the way she speaks. She was promoting her newly launched book “Sex and the Citadel”, and I was intrigued when she told me that feminists groups in Beirut recommended “Arous Amman” to her. Later on, in 2016, when the English version “The Bride of Amman” came out in English, she was generous enough to write me a book blurb. I was also hosted by Basira in London for a book event, and she accepted our invitation to join the talk, which makes me happy, till today.