Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women International and Nida’a Network, talked about the important role of women in the Middle East, at the closing day of the fourth Abu Dhabi Media Summit.
Salbi said woman had played a big role in the Arab Spring and said that it’s essential for women to participate in growing economies.
“We need to really focus on Arab women because we cannot progress economically, socially or politically without the full participation of women,” she said.
She called on the younger generation in particular. “Young women are the new voice for individual freedom and citizenship, they are recreating society in new paradigms and we need to let them find a voice as they may be our hope for progress in the region.”
The digital world is now helping women to “engage in new ways, particularly for women in post revolutionary countries.”
Local and global media should celebrate women’s triumphs more, she added. “There are so many stories of Arab women doing amazing work but we don’t see them in the media,” she said.
“We see more of them in the West than on our own platforms, within our own society, but we need to see them in our own culture.”
Iraq-born Salbi is the author of Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam and The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope.