I often wonder what life must be like for girls of my own age living in the Gulf, particularly in the more conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia.
Today, as technology, and communications move at the speed of light, the world becomes evermore like a village. Neighbours aren’t just the people who live next door. As LoveHabibi stands testament, all of us Muslim girls and guys are closer than ever to our brothers and sisters. I’m so glad for the opportunity learn about how Muslim girls in other countries feel, and what they hope to achieve.
Jeddah is a city that has appeared on the radar a lot lately as a city that’s rapidly progressing in terms of socialization, art and equality. With it, has come a reassessment and broadening of aspirations among many of the city’s youth, particularly among the girls.
There’s a fascinating report in the BBC, which features 8 Jeddah girls talking about their lives and where they hope they themselves, their city, their country and the world will be in 10 years.
All mention their families as a strong source of support, and many of the girls are students, whose aim is to find a prominent place in the world.
Here is a selection of some of the quotes that most impressed and inspired me:
“I want to be a role model and bring hope to other women, to show we Saudi women are not different from any other women. Women here have a lot of ambitions and motivation… I believe they will guide the world one day” – Lama, 22, student, Jeddah.
“Saudi girls are very ambitious and very smart. They just want to be heard and have the opportunity to share their talents. Your education and your career are your weapons. What I really want to do in the future is contribute something to the society and to my family, to the world that I’m living in and especially to my city, Jeddah, where I was born. My parents don’t believe in differences between genders and I think this is a privilege.” – Rotana, 21, student, Jeddah.
“I see myself in the future having my own translation or publishing house which serves a religious purpose and helps explain and clarify lots of misunderstandings around the world about religion.I would like the chance to study more languages so I can work all over the world, translate books, programmes, anything that would serve my religion, Islam, and that would help other people to understand and to read it perfectly.” – Hasna, 27, translator, Jeddah.
“I never forget I’m actually an Arab, I can never forget my roots. All these women that have passed through my life, I look up to them and think: “They’re normal women from different parts of the world, who were brought up in different ways, but they all have one main goal: Women’s education. They want to be somebody. They want to prove that not only men are actually capable of doing things.” – Abla, 22, student, Jeddah.
“I am also interested in cooking – my husband is encouraging me a lot in that direction. He told me not to waste my talent and to think of starting a business at home or elsewhere. Perhaps I could, one day, open a restaurant and give the people something special in terms of food, environment and design.” – Asma 21, housewife and mother, Jeddah.