Last weekend, the AUC Greek Campus stage welcomed some of the most inspiring Egyptian women. The day started at 10:00 AM and went on until 5:30 PM, containing 14 speeches. TED Talks are known for their effortlessly motivational nature; and in that sense, they definitely did not disappoint. The speakers were all women who faced challenges, took risks and knew their worth. They work in print media, education, raising awareness, and even show business. We were lucky to have a few words with some of those awe inspiring women.
Hend Sabry: A Modern Woman’s Motherly Love
Hend knows all the woes of a working mom. And in her speech she reflected on how our mothers have faced much more challenging situations on that front. Since our mothers were some of the first women to sustain a successful career, while caring for their children. The balance between work and children is one of many balances a woman tries to maintain, “with the way social media is, we’re in an era where everything has to be summed up, so we are put in molds”, she tells, “I wouldn’t mind if we could get out of that mold and talk about women with femininity and determination at the same time”. As the word feminist is being stigmatized, Hend explains what it really is about, “we’re not angry, we’re not bitter, we just want equality”, she says. Hend is aware that a lot of the problems facing women boil down to sex, “I think we are in the worst era of sexualizing our bodies either by us or by the media”, she says.\
“we’re not angry, we’re not bitter, we just want equality” Hend Sabry
Ibtisam Abaza: A True Fighter
Ibtisam lost her vision when she was young. This did not stop her from dreaming big, and she went on to graduate with a psychology diploma. She also started an initiative where people would volunteer to read and record books for the visually impaired. Ibtisam’s perseverance was moving, “anyone can do anything if they set a goal for themselves. They will have people who believe in them”, she says, “All they need is a plausible idea that will benefit those around them”.
Rania Refaat: A Multi-Talented Bundle of Joy
Rania can sing, dance, and act. She also has a law degree, and is a puppeteer! She is the Founder of El Pergola, a cultural hub where everything from fashion shows to art workshops to educational lectures takes place. And she would like to start a law theatre project in the future, “it would be in the form of sketches. God has given me a set of talents and I feel I’d be punished if I don’t use them to help people”, she laughs. She is also interested in movie making, “I want to revive female cinema”, she tells. Not only that, but she aspires to become the Minister of Culture one day.
“God has given me a set of talents and I feel I’d be punished if I don’t use them to help people” Rania Refaat
Eman Ezzat: Protecting The Little Ones
Eman gave Egyptian children something they urgently needed: protection. She founded Protection Campaign, which aims to teach children through song, dance, and fun activities how to identify and reject sexual predators. Children are not the only focus of the initiative, “when I give a session to children, I also give it to their parents and teachers, because it’s a triangle”, she says, “I don’t want the child to tell their parent only to have them not believe their claim”. The sexual predators themselves are the bigger problem, “there is a law that is supposed to punish them, but it is not being implemented”, she explains. Eman has seen awful examples which only made her more passionate about her cause, “sometimes their parents don’t believe them, or punish them”, she tells, “it’s not the child’s fault they were harassed, it’s the parents’ fault. We go to impoverished areas and raise awareness because it’s this kind of mentality we need to change”.
“it’s not the child’s fault they were harassed, it’s the parents’ fault.” Eman Ezzat
Noha Kato – Proving that Funny Girls Exist
The myth that girls cannot be funny is dying thanks to women like Noha. Her stand up act is witty and hilarious. Her work as a standup comedian started because she knew that she could do it, “I felt that I could do it, so I said ‘why not?’”, she says. Standup comedy is a tool that could be used for empowerment. Noha believes this to be true, “of course. It depends on your story, so if you are sarcastic about certain things in society, that would hopefully influence people”, she concludes.