Yasmeen Mjalli

Country representing

United States

Languages

English
Arabic

Education

  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Graduate Student at Duke University

Current organisation

BabyFist Palestine

Current role

Founder, Social Impact Coordinator

Skills and Expertise

Activism
Blogging
Branding
Social entrepreneurship
Women’s rights

Areas of interest

Human Rights
Leadership
Peace and Conflict

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

I’m a feminist, women’s rights activist, and a social entrepreneur. My work aims to unearth the labyrinth of gender-based issues affecting Arab women throughout the world from a place of compassion and unconditional fond regard, with the conviction that deviating from the norm is to be celebrated. I’m passionate about defining Arab feminism and encouraging Palestinian women embrace that feminism in order to reclaim their agency as active and equal members of society. In Palestine, we’ve conflated tradition with gender-based discrimination and it’s crippling what used to be a vibrant culture. Unfortunately, our society and legal system justify human rights violations with honor. Honor plays a very critical role in the social structure of the Arab world. It’s inextricably coupled with the notion of modesty, both of which are used to reinforce a family’s collective status of dignity. Now, here’s the catch: The honor rests solely on women’s behavior, voices, and bodies. The moment women are born onto this earth, our bodies as flesh and blood was no longer simply that. Instead, they are transformed into an abstraction. As our bodies are the vessels containing the family honor, our control over it is forfeited. I believe that a woman’s love for herself, strength in nature, and control over her own are lost when societal standards define her purpose in the world before she is even born. We have been occupied for 70 years. Why do we keep waiting for occupation to end before tending to serious socio-cultural issues? Because we’ve waited so long, using occupation as the rug under which we brush socio-cultural issues, we’ve let generations of women pass us by who dealt with gender-based discrimination and oppression. I am passionate about empowering Palestinian women because I want women to stop existing despite themselves. I want to restructure our society into one which fosters vibrant women who are able to live freely, and contribute equal members of society.

Actions

I am the founder of a socially-conscious fashion brand which donates proceeds to women's empowerment projects in the West Bank. The apparel is all produced in the West Bank and in Gaza to support the local economy and small businesses. I run and organize feminist workshops in the West Bank to create safe spaces for women to step forward and share their stories. Through the BabyFist start-up and blog, my workshops and projects, a conversation about Palestinian women's empowerment has been fostered. A community has been built in which women can support and uplift one another on the journey of reclaiming women's rights. There is comfort and strength in the chorus of voices that ring with the survival of brutality, isolation, and incrimination.