Women you have heard of, some you are meeting for the first time. Some you like, some you disagree with, women that cover, women that don’t, some young, others older, some athletic, some academic, some a little bit of both. One fictional, a few political, but in the end, all strong women of today, all Muslim, all unique, from all over the world, all known for paving the way for others to follow.
In 42 pages, 19 females are highlighted and illustrated to inspire Muslim and non Muslim boys and girls alike, but really Muslim girls will get the most out of it. Sure a female gets mentioned here or there in other compilations of influential people of our time, but this one, well, this one seems mostly for us.
There are famous females in science, activism, fashion, film, sport, education, media influencers, make-up artists, you name it, and Muslim’s participate, so finally a book shining a light on the best of the best. With each person getting a full two page spread, a few tidbits about who they are and what they are “famous” for are detailed in easy to read sentences that inspire, and if you haven’t heard of them before, enough general knowledge to get acquainted. A few felt a little generic, but once you have a name, Googling them or researching them, is obviously, not difficult.
I wish there was a bit more information detailing who was chosen and why. At first I thought it was US or “western” movers and shakers, but then you have Maria Toorpakai Wazir, the tennis player in Pakistan, and Shirin Ebadi from Iran. So then I thought ok, they are all contemporary, but Maryam Mirzakhani passed away in 2017. Needless to say, one could argue that the list is arbitrary, and I think I would agree.
One could also argue, that these women may make history for notable things, but that they might say or do things that you might take issue with, and again, I agree. They are people, they are fallible, and diverse, and have different perspectives and life experiences, but that’s ok, infact I think that might even be the point. We all have different passions, and paths, and views and yet at the end of the day we should be able to lift each other up and inspire. I think every person who reads this book will find someone that sounds or feels or looks like them, and that is a good thing, no, a great thing!
My favorite was the Kamala Khan entry, because I didn’t realize the G. Willow Wilson was Muslim. I erroneously assumed the other co-creator, Sana Amanat gave Kamala’s back story and home life its sense of OWN Voice, and I love that I learned I was wrong from a book.
The illustrations are right on and do an amazing job of conveying the character and the inspiration of the collection. The book is much needed and I hope they do a similar style book for Muslim women in other time periods.
Special gratitude and appreciation to Gayartri Sethi (IG @desibookaunty) for gifting me this book for no other reason than to share the power and strength of women, and being a leader in that, by sending me a beautiful book. May I learn from your generosity and pay it forward! Thank you.