An Afghan girl reads from a booklet in an undated photo.

The portrait on the wall is from an iconic 1985 National Geographic magazine cover. It took 17 years to determine the name of the girl in the portrait: Sharbat Gula

This morning my mom tried to tell me that ‘girl power’ was only a fantasy that American women had and that it didn’t exist in places that weren’t first world countries… so of course I decided to educate her.

I started with one of the oldest example of female power to show that this is not some new radical idea:

  • Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC to 30 BC) the last truly active Pharaoh of Egypt. OMG a woman in charge of an entire country that’s crazy like alert the press immediately!


In which she counter argued “but what about modern Muslim states?” Well, mom, I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with Pakistan:

  • Benazir Bhutto (1953 to 2007) was the 11th prime minister of Pakistan, making her the first woman to head a Muslim state in 1988. While this boss lady was in charge she ended military dictatorship in the country, and was noted for her battle for women’s rights; go figure a women wanting to help women and stopping men’s shit.


  • Malala Yousafzai (1997 to present) is the youngest person EVER to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, she fought for women’s right to education and even after the Taliban shot her IN THE HEAD she still did not give up. If you think this 17 year old Pakistani girl isn’t one the biggest female role models we have then you’re completely insane.


Let’s move into Afghanistan now:

  • Niloofar Rhmani, 2nd Lt. in Afghan Air Force who made history in 2013 by being the first female Afghan military pilot to graduate in more than 30 years and she opened the doors for the women of her country. Paving a way and inspiring women to work hard for what they want!


  • Nahid Nazary, Journalist and single mother of 5 children who refuses to leave her job on account of death threats because she wanted to report on the Taliban’s beheadings. This is one tough mama who won’t let the Man get her down.

[group of Afghan Journalist]


By the time I was ready to move on to the next country’s examples of women role models in Muslim countries I was silenced because my mother wished to hear no more.

The women mentioned was only the start of the bigger picture; girl power is everywhere and any time period.