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The 'Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia' Wants to End Racism and Sexism in the Best Way

The 'Rosa Parks of Saudi Arabia' Wants to End Racism and Sexism in the Best Way

Ever since the event for Saudi's National Day was held in 2013, Nawal al-Hawsawi — or the "Rosa Parks" of Saudi Arabia — has fought for equality for people across every gender, race, and background, despite death threats and backlash.

Her motivation for change came after she returned to Saudi Arabia with her American husband after going to school and marrying in the United States, when a woman at the National Day event called her by a derogatory Arabic word because she was black. This encounter with racism sparked a movement that led to her new nickname and her fight for gender equality as well.

At the Most Powerful Women International Summit held by Fortune in London a few days ago, al-Hawsawi told interviewer Maithreyi Seetharaman, "I think some of the things we want are like what women want in other countries, such as child care, maternity leave, time for nursing moms," adding that she hopes to one day see many more women in leadership positions.

Check out the full interview from the Fortune summit below.

NEXT: Saudi Arabia Elects Women to Local Government for the First Time »

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Photo Credit: Fortune/Peter Dench