Until recently, Muslim women were long overlooked in the Western world as marginalized members of society who lacked independence and the ability to procure it from the restrictive barriers placed upon them. However, Muslim women around the world are shattering stereotypical perceptions and achieving groundbreaking success in all walks of life in spite of these preconceived notions. In honor of Muslim Women’s Day on March 27, we’ve rounded up the most important lessons we’ve learned from the women who constantly inspire us and demonstrate the unlimited potential of an empowered woman with something to prove.
HM Queen Rania of Jordan on uplifting women
“Empowerment is contagious – I see it lighting up the faces of our youngest girls,” Queen Rania told the 2018 HeforShe IMPACT Summit in New York. “It’s what I call ‘the reverse domino effect’: lift up one woman, and she’ll lift up others, who lift up more.”
Ghizlan Guenez on the need for positive role models
“Through social media, young girls and teenagers are being exposed to a whole new world of images that are telling them what is beautiful and what isn’t, so there is a responsibility that we all have as individuals and as businesses to address that and ensure that these girls and grown-up women are seeing themselves and seeing role models that they can relate to in these platforms,” noted the founder and chief executive of modest e-commerce platform The Modist.
Ikram Abdi Omar on the inclusive future of fashion
“Having models from different races, religions, and backgrounds gives hope to younger girls,” said the British-Somali model and former Vogue Arabia cover star. “For instance, a young black Muslim girl can be proud to see someone that looks just like her, in the sense of skin tone and clothing, can make it to London Fashion Week. One key message that I would put out there is to never stop doing what you love to do and dream big. I’ve always wanted to model at London Fashion Week, so if I can do it, they can do it too.”
Noor Tagouri on the meaningfulness of wearing a hijab
“The hijab has always been a personal and constant reminder of living for something bigger than myself,” recounted the Libyan-American journalist. “I don’t wear it simply because I want to dress modestly. I don’t think just because a person has a hijab on, they are now modest. It’s about character.”
Linda Sarsour on helping marginalized communities
“We have to begin seeing ourselves as whole human beings who are impacted by a multitude of issues, so our approach must be holistic and inclusive,” explained the American activist and Women’s March co-founder. “Alleviating suffering of the most marginalized communities must begin with assessing the needs of entire communities and allowing the most marginalized to lead the strategy. My belief is those closest to the pain are closest to the solution.”
Ibtihaj Muhammad on fulfilling our personal potential
“We are all born with something that God has given us and we owe it to ourselves to discover what that gift is, and to change our families, our communities, and the world,” asserted the Olympic athlete. “I truly believe our purpose is to leave a positive mark on the world.”
Melanie Elturk on the importance of diversity in the workplace
“Diversity within the team is the most important thing that brands can do and it needs to be at every level,” shared the founder of luxury hijab label Haute Hijab. “On top of that, staff have to feel as though they work in an environment where they can voice their opinions comfortably without penalty.”