Newsletter

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.

MAKERS Moment

Forced Marriage in America

Forced Marriage in America

More From Zainab

In this video

A horrible arranged marriage brought Salbi to America. It took her years to forgive her mother and understand her desperate reasons.

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

Lisa Leslie
Lisa Leslie
Champion Basketball Player

In 2002, Lisa Leslie became the first WNBA player to dunk a basketball. Throughout her trailblazing career, she was many firsts: the first WNBA player to win the regular season MV...

Chely Wright
Chely Wright
Country Musician and Gay Rights Activist

Chely Wright is a country music artist and gay rights activist. She was the first major country music performer to come out as lesbian. Wright grew up in a small Kansas town, where...

Li Yan
Li Yan
Olympic Speed Skating Coach

Li Yan is a Silver medal winning Olympic speed skater and coach of the Chinese Short track speed skating team. Yan grew up in Heilongjiang, and first learned to skate in elementary...

Hu Shuli
Hu Shuli
Investigative Journalist

Hu Shuli grew up and studied in Beijing, where she proceeded to become an investigative journalist, founding her own financial magazine. A five month trip to the United States earl...