Zainab Salbi (2013)
|Born||September 24, 1969 (age 47)
|Alma mater||George Mason University (BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies),
London School of Economics (Master’s in Development Studies)
|Occupation||Host and Creator of The Nidaa Show and Founder of Women for Women International|
Leadership is about encouraging women to break their silence and tell their stories to the world.
Sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff without knowing where you will land.
The single thing all women need in the world is inspiration, and inspiration comes from storytelling.
I have come to understand that in order to effectively advance women's rights, we need to galvanize a global women's movement.
I grew up with injustice and could do nothing about it. But once in America, I had freedom of choice.
Being a leader for me is about having the courage to speak the truth, and live the truth, despite attempts to silence our thoughts, feelings, and past experiences.
While women may look different, as some wear suits and others wear saris, or some cover their hair while others wear their hair loose, women need to stand together because they all face the central point of discrimination, although the extremity of which may be different from Kigali to Kabul.
No change can come if those who are impacted the most by discrimination are not willing to stand up for themselves.
I don't want to be someone in my sixties holding on to a group that I created when I was in my twenties.
By accepting what the external structures have told us we need to do, we have given the power of our realities and ourselves to others. It is time to tell a new story for women, and that can only start with women.
Do you know that people fall in love in war and go to school and go to factories and hospitals and get divorced and go dancing and go playing and live life?
I by no means intend to simplify the challenges women face in any culture. Women are marginalized in all cultures in my opinion, some in more extreme ways than others.
Like life, peace begins with women. We are the first to forge lines of alliance and collaboration across conflict divides.
There is never a typical week. I don't think I can live with a typical week.
I couldn't find anyone doing something about the astounding injustices women were experiencing, so I decided to do something myself. I cannot tell you how many people ridiculed my efforts.
As women, we must speak out, speak up, say no to our inheritance of loss and yes to a future of women-led dialogue about women's rights and value.
In my 20s I was such a serious, boring-looking person. I would never do my nails. I never even danced. But I was taught by the women. They had gone through hell, but they would dance and sing. I came to realise I can't argue for a happy world if I am not happy myself.
I don't have a child, so Women for Women is like my child. But I always said I would step down after 20 years. I didn't want to be a 60-year-old woman holding on to something I created when I was 23.
There's a lot of projection that if you're in service then you shouldn't look good. I'm no different from anybody else. I like clothes, I like shoes, I like to go have nice dinners, I like to dance. Just because I've dedicated myself to serving women, why do you think I need to sacrifice myself?
In every single culture I encountered, there were always women who defied cultural norms to do what they believed was right for them. This phenomenon has never been related to how rich, poor, successful or not successful the woman may be.