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

Leadership Lesson

Leadership Lesson

More From Zainab

In this video

Hardly a sign of weakness, Salbi argues that good leadership means showing vulnerability.

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

Katherine G. Johnson
Katherine G. Johnson
NASA Mathematician

Katherine G. Johnson is a pioneer in American space history. A NASA mathematician, Johnson's computations have influenced every major space program from Mercury through the Shu...

France Córdova
France Córdova
First Female Chief Scientist at NASA

France A. Córdova, an internationally recognized astrophysicist, once said, “I didn’t have a strategic plan for my life. I have an appetite for discovery. I&rsqu...

Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney
Co-Founder, Sesame Workshop

A founder of the Sesame Workshop and co-creator of Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney knew that educational television was her calling the moment she walked into Channel 13. Born and ...

Yang Lan
Yang Lan
Chairperson

Yang Lan learned from her resilient grandmother the strength of women and has been using media to show that strength ever since. She made a name for herself as a TV talk show host ...