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March is National Women's History Month

posted on: Mar 1, 2023

Women’s History Month–Arab America

By Alison Norquist / Arab America Contributing Writer

Women, of course, have been around since the beginning. Without women, humans would cease to exist. Everything about them was created to give and sustain life. To nurture. But women are more than just mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters. They are the strong foundation upon which civilization was built. Without their contributions, we would not have the beauty that exists in the world.

Profile photo of Marwa Janini
Marwa Janini, Executive Director at Arab American Association of New York – LinkedIn

The Road to Celebration

Beginning as a week-long celebration in Sonoma, CA schools in the late 70s, Women’s History Week didn’t really gain popular traction until it was proposed to be celebrated nationally in 1980 by then-president Jimmy Carter. After being tossed around Congress for several years, it was decided that it should not only be expanded to a month but be put into proclamation. Each year, the theme is different. This year, we celebrate the women who tell our stories.

Ways to Celebrate

Each culture has different ways to honor the women in their lives. In case you don’t have anything off the top of your mind, here are a few of the great ways to learn about and celebrate women. Our list has a bit of an Arab twist, of course.

General Session with Maysoon Zayid.jpg
Comedia and actress Maysoon Zayid – Wikipedia

Watch movies featuring strong women characters like The Exchange, The Nightingale’s Prayer, Wanderers of the Desert, or Souad. You could also read amazing books about Arab women by Arab women. Mirage by Somaiya Daud, The Hidden Face of Eve by Nawal el Saadawi and Scheherezade Goes West by Fatema Mernissi. Want something a little more current? Check out the plethora of podcasts hosted by Arab women who focus on the things they care about most.

(Marie Claire Korea) 마리25주년 스타들의 축하 릴레이 - 벨라 하디드 (1) (cropped).jpg
Supermodel Bella Hadid – Wikipedia

Want something that celebrates all women? Try checking out the National Women’s History Museum. They have virtual exhibits that celebrate the many women of America. I was especially excited to look through the highlights of Arab American women like Diane Rehm or classic figures like Harriet Tubman. You could also check out movies that celebrate women of all cultures and ethnicities.

Food blogger and cookbook author Suzy Karadsheh – Instagram

But if you are anything like the women we celebrate all through March, you will want to make the lives of others better. You can research local women’s shelters or centers for domestic violence to volunteer at. You can call on your representatives to fight for basic human rights women have fought for that are being questioned. You could donate to charities like the Malala Fund, founded by the notorious Pakistani young woman who strives to ensure that all girls have a chance to be educated or Girls Who Code, helping women enter the technology industry. Want to help Arab women especially, here is a great list of charities who focus on helping women in the Arab world.

Dr. Amal David, cofounder of the Arab American Foundation – Chaldean Cultural Center

Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate the many women who have helped to contribute to making Arab America great. Half of our founding duo, Dr. Amal David, has gone to great lengths to make sure that all Arab Americans are heard and supported. Our newsletter features dozens of young, amazingly talented women from various backgrounds, especially those of Arab descent. There are so many wonderful women who are and have been a part of the Arab America team. This week, I celebrate having the pleasure of working with all of you!

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