Celebrating the Brown and Bold Amongst Us This Women’s Day!
International women's day is coming up and Sedit is going to be celebrating the brown and strong amongst us all month! We're here to shine a light on a few of the empowering, inspirational accomplishments of women throughout South Asia and the Middle East. From breaking stereotypes around the world and making changes beyond their countries, to being specialists in their field, women are fighting hard and without apology for their beliefs, values and passions. Let’s take a look at what some of our powerful khoobsurat sisters are roaring about.
Being a woman in Yemen comes with an unfortunate amount of repression, the patriarchal system has no place for females, however Tawwakkol Karmen beat the system. Aware of the increasing injustices around her, she fought to protect and free women from the positions they were trapped in. She stated, “I want the world to know Yemeni women are strong, and if empowered, they can achieve. The world needs to look beyond stereotypes and dress code.
In our hearts we are just human beings who want to live a dignified life.” As a politician, journalist and human rights activist she promotes freedom of speech, and works tirelessly to overturn corrupt systems from Yemen to Egypt. She has played an active role in various peaceful demonstrations, as well as founded a campaign group called ‘women journalists without chains’ in 2005. In 2011 Tawwakol made us all proud, when she became the first ever Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize! A true inspiration to humanity.
Dr Sara Al Madani
But inspiration comes in many different ways and Dr Sara Al Madani shows us anything is possible. Breaking out of her own social chains, this Emirati single mother is making waves in the UAE. Already a serial entrepreneur, ambitious business woman, renowned fashion designer and the youngest board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce she’s proving you really can have it all.
Sara is the CEO of HalaHi, as well the co-founder of ‘proposal cupids’ a company dedicated to making fairytales a reality. On top of it all, she’s challenging herself to master the male dominated tech industry. She told Cosmopolitan, “if someone tells you there’s no chair for you at this table because it’s a man’s world, you don’t wait for someone to hand you that chair. You grab it yourself.” This public speaker works to inspire women everyday, everywhere.
Another girl grabbing a chair at the table is Pakistani entrepreneur and influencer, Anaa Saber. Based in New York City this fashion enthusiast is creating space for and expanding the media representation of South Asian women. Her multicultural background has led to unique ideas, reshaping cultural norms as her style encompasses the East and West. Anaa is paving the way for young, expressive South Asian girls everywhere, by creating new trends, and breaking the ‘rules,’ she has set the tone for new forms of expression.
She has been recruited into “the society” which is the US division of Elite world, an organization trying to eliminate racial biases in fashion while protecting and representing coloured creatives and artists within the industry. Anaa’s blog, ‘oursecondskin’ goes beyond fashion, it dissects the cultural appropriation, biases and lack of agency of minority groups. In her article ‘Tone deaf’ she claimed, “This was not a platform for these marginalized women to get representation; they were not treated as humans, with agency and with stories of their own to tell.” This young fashionista believes in speaking up for those who cannot, and is not a force to be reckoned with!
The last girl we’re going to mention is the outspoken Pakistani, artist and designer, Misha Japanwala. After stepping outside Karachi’s patriarchal society, Misha flourished in New York City, where she made a name for herself, through hard work and expression. The 25 year old told Vogue, “I didn't understand that I could be here and do this until I created the work.”
The artist works hard to reclaim the female body, by subverting the male gaze and deconstructing the narrative we are all so used to seeing! This visual artist addresses deep seated issues within Pakistan, such as violence towards women and honor killings. Her collection titled, ‘Azaadi’ which translates to freedom in urdu highlights her intention to free and protect women. At merely 25 Misha Japanwala has already made the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list, was featured in ‘Vogue’ and worked with icons Cardi B, and Gigi hadid. This girl is not apologetic for what she wants or desires, and neither should we be, don’t be afraid to create, you never know what your ideas could become!
These amazing, influential ladies are role models for women everywhere. By embodying what they represent they have shown us we can do whatever we put our minds to. They struggle everyday to create spaces for themselves and women around them. Be a mother, be a boss, be both, be neither, but don’t fall prey to the limitations and taboos of social circumstances. Every lady has a Goddess hidden within her, so let her out and let her shine, and she will make the world a better place.