Breaking Stereotypes is an online series to show off ordinary Arab women who are changing mindsets. Today’s post is special to my heart because I am talking about a woman who inspired me to be me today! An Iraqi woman who fought the odds to become successful! My grandmother, Faiza!

My grandmother was the 1st woman in her neighborhood to study medicine, I remember hearing stories about how much support she get from her father, how she challenged everyone to study!

Her Life

In the age of 18, she got married, she told me that she cried in the beginning, she didn’t want to leave her study, She wanted to be a DR. My grandfather on the other hand, was a man of science, he let her continue her studies till she got her Phd in Bacteriology.

In her years in collage, she had 2 kids and waiting for the 3rd. She was a mom, a Dr and a wife.

In the age of 25, both of grandparents went to England to finish their studies. At that time, she had 3 children and a full time job. They wanted to make something of theirselves and their daughters.

After they came back to Iraq, She started working in , they created their own life with their 3 children. She started teaching in the university and that’s when number 4 came along, she was pregnant, teaching and taking care of 3 other little girls.

my mom always used to tell me: ” I have no idea how she manage, I can’t manage 2 kids”. I believe she was just super women.

like any other woman, she faced a lot of problems, a lot of people gave her a hard time, she was kind, pure but we all have enemies.

By the 5th child, life has torn her apart yet she was strong, she took care of her girls, gave them the best education possible. She made sure that her name wasn’t going to waste.

Leaving Iraq

At the age of 60, War happened. I can’t tell much about how she felt, my grandmother loved Iraq with all of her heart. The hardest thing was when she had to leave. Babo (as I call her) used to open the news and cry about the tragedy of Iraq.

Babo moved to Amman, she used to love life, always ready to travel, to share some positivity in the world! No one forgot her beautiful smile walk down the street.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with brain tumor that took her life only 1.5 months after. It was one of the hardest thing in my life, to say goodbye to a strong and an amazing woman like her.

Even after her death, she took care of her girls, she worked so hard in her life to make a difference and she made it in me.

You will never hear her story in the media, yet she is the perfect example of a strong Iraqi woman who broke stereotypes!!

Follow this link to check the 1st episode Breaking stereotypes-Fatimah Alawwad!

One week ago I started a campaign about strong Arab women that inspire us everyday to be our best self.

There is more good in this world than bad our purpose, my purpose is to share what I can to make the world a better place.

My very 1st Article is going to be about Fatimah. I have known fatimah for over 5 years now and everyday she inspire me to believe in myself more and more!

Her Story

The moment you meet Fatimah you will be like she is a “typical” Arab Woman, she wears hijab, she lives with her parents and never traveled alone! BUT fatimah is not normal, Fatimah like me have big dreams and she is trying to achieve them.

Fatimah grew in a converstive society, She grew to be the perfect Arab. Yet she fit in, she was able to graduate as a chemical engineer with a very good GPA (better than me hehe)! She struggled to find what she actually wants! The society kept telling her that she needs to get married, she needs to be normal, but what is normal?

After graduation, she started working in a research center in her university, it wasn’t easy for a fresh graduate to compete with big whales! She did it anyway, she was one of the top engineers there, then life happened!

She was forced to leave her job because of “management” issues! She left with heavy heart. I can tell you, this was her worst time.

Working in the research center gave Fatimah the ability to discover new products and also gave her the spirit of innovation! She started “playing” with some elements and she created her own polymer product!!!

Not a lot of people can create new products that will help the environment or help cleaning the world! SHE DID!! She is also a part of ACS (American Chemical Society).

Fatimah never believed in herself as I did, that’s why I am presenting her to you! She is different she is not your ordinary Arab women! She is breaking stereotypes!