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.


Just Being

Just Being

More From Zainab

In this video

Salbi shares the advice that helps her rein in self-criticism and perfectionism.

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

SuChin Pak
SuChin Pak

SuChin Pak began her television career in high school when she was recruited to host a teen-based television show for an ABC affiliate station, and eventually moved on to jobs at O...

Maria Pepe
Maria Pepe
Little League's First Girl

It’s the three-game Little League pitching career “heard ‘round the world.” Maria Pepe was eleven years old when the neighborhood boys with whom she had bee...

Catharine MacKinnon
Catharine MacKinnon
Pioneering Legal Scholar

Catharine MacKinnon is a legal scholar who pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment. As an undergraduate at Smith College, MacKinnon was first introduced to the constitution...

Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
Champion Soccer Player

Mia Hamm is the soccer champion widely regarded as the world's best all-around women's soccer player. At 15 she became the youngest woman to ever make the U.S. Women's ...