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

The Cause or the Relationship

The Cause or the Relationship

More From Zainab

In this video

Despite the toll her work took on her former marriage, Salbi believes women can have it all.

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

Kathy Kusner
Kathy Kusner
First Licensed Female Jockey

Kathy Kusner is a pioneering jockey who became the first licensed female jockey in the U.S. Growing up, Kusner couldn't afford a horse of her own, but she worked in stables so ...

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...

Emily May
Emily May
Harassment Avenger

Emily May is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York City-based Hollaback!, an organization which empowers women and LGBTQ folks with an empowered response to street hara...

Ophelia Dahl
Ophelia Dahl
World Health Care Advocate

Ophelia Dahl is an American health care advocate who has fought for the rights of the poor and sick for over twenty years. The daughter of two accomplished parents, author Roald Da...