How My Mother Raised Me to be a Global Advocate for Girls and Women - Global Moms Challenge

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The first leader I ever met was my mother. Her life is a series of sacrifices that society often writes-off and disguises as the necessary duties of any woman. At 19, my mother left her own family and moved to Canada, a country where she didn’t know the language, or the people. By my age, now 26, she had lost a daughter, and she had me, her seventh child. I am what some academics call “the radical middle” … And what some parents call, the “malignant middle.” As a young child I was a handful – I was curious and inventive – my mom not only tolerated that, she fostered it. Not the telling tall tales part, but the ambition. The curiosity.

My childhood was riddled with daily evidence of my mother’s courage. I saw my oldest sister, Amera, graduate from medical school at 22 and go on to become a renowned pediatric plastic surgeon, inspiring myself and my entire community. I saw my older sister Ahlam choose to be a stay at home mom, and go on to create the same environment for her own children that my mother had created for me. In both these cases – opposite life paths, they received the same enthusiasm and support from my mom. Her definition of leadership was to nurture the necessary confidence and build the skills for her daughters to make their own decisions.

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