Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.


Always An Outsider

Always An Outsider

More From Zainab

In this video

Salbi on the meaning behind her autobiography's title, Between Two Words.

Zainab's Biography

Cause of Choice: Women for Women International
Early Career Ambitions: Pilot or flight attendant (until her father told her the latter job would involve cleaning)
Feminist Foremothers: At a very young age, her mother had her reading the work of leading Arab feminist Nawal El Saadawi.
A Young Woman for Women: She started Women for Women International when she was only 23.

Women for Women International is a grassroots humanitarian and development organization helping women brutalized by rape and war. Iraqi emigré, Zainab Salbi and her husband Amjad Atallah gave up their 1993 honeymoon to found the organization and aid survivors of the Yugoslav Wars. Salbi then continued to guide it for more than 17 years as its chief executive officer. Women for Women offers rights awareness training, education, and vocational skills in a program that literally saves lives. It has distributed more than $103 million in direct aid and microcredit loans and has helped 316,000 women access social and economic opportunities. The ripple effect is profound: those 316,000 women have carried and nurtured more than 1.7 million family members which in turn secures the political and social health of their wider communities. Salbi’s drive and conviction is deeply personal. As a teen, she escaped the terror of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle for the United States, a flight chronicled in her 2005 memoir Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny—Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam.

Related Videos

Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker is an actress, producer, and designer. Her career in the entertainment industry is rooted in live performance. In 1976 at the age of 11, she made her B...

Whitney Smith
Whitney Smith
Teen Advocate

Whitney Smith is the Founder of Girls For a Change, a national organization that empowers girls to create social change. Prior to founding GFC, Smith worked at the executive level ...

Sara Hurwitz
Sara Hurwitz
First Female Orthodox Rabba

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained “Rabba,” in Orthodox Judaism. She is the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also...

Faye Wattleton
Faye Wattleton
Former President, Planned Parenthood of America

African American social activist, author, and businesswoman, Faye Wattleton has dedicated her life to preserving and protecting the rights of women, first as an advocate for reprod...