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SIBF 2023 turns the spotlight on the remarkable contributions of women through the centuries

Sat 04 Nov 2023    
| 2 min read

Sharjah: One of the most inspiring modern-day female role models in the region – Egypt’s Reham Aiaad – addressed a packed gathering at the ongoing 42nd annual Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), and took them on a journey through time, highlighting particular personality traits that enabled women throughout history to leave a mark and become a timeless inspiration for others.

“In many ways, life is easier for women today. In the past, women had to fight fiercely to enjoy basic human rights. It is due to the relentless passion of these brave women that I am sitting here on stage today,” Aiaad noted.

Starting from the beginning of time, Aiaad paid homage to St. Mary, not only for being the mother of Jesus Christ but also for the endless support she gave her son. “She is the only one who has a Surah in the Holy Quran; no other woman has that honour.”

After describing the crucial role Sayyida Khadijah, wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) played in believing unconditionally in him, Aiaad recounted the lives of other important Middle Eastern women such as Queen Hatshepsut and Shajar Al-durr of Egypt and Algeria’s Djamila Abou Hereed, who never gave in to the demands and restrictions of society, despite facing rejection and consistent hardships.

Saluting Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, wife of late President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, for establishing the first women’s organisation in Abu Dhabi, Aiaad said Her Highness was awarded the Palm Fronds Knight of the Order of Academic Palms, one of the most prestigious French decorations in 2004. 

Narrating the life story of Madame Marie Curie, the first woman in history to win the prestigious Nobel Prize twice, Aiaad informed audiences how people objected to Curie winning the coveted prize only because she was a woman. At a dinner hosted by the Royal Institute, Curie was made to sit and watch her husband give the presentation for the project they worked on jointly as the organisers didn’t believe a woman could be on stage. But Curie never gave up. “More than 100 years after her death when BBC magazine asked people to vote for the greatest woman who changed the face of history, she won that vote.”

“Women are mothers, women give life and continuity, women are half of society and I call upon each woman to keep her faith through persistence and belief to translate her dreams into reality and never give up.”

Fun and educational, the 42nd Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is hosting exciting activities for family members of all age groups. 1043 Arab and 990 international publishers will showcase over 1.5 million book titles, including 800,000 in Arabic and 700,000 in other languages. The prestigious event is taking place from November 1-12 in Expo Centre Sharjah.

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