The Jordan Times: Book celebrates voices of young women on journey of self-discovery

By Suzanna Goussous
Original published on Apr 27, 2016
At the Jordan Times

AMMAN — Celebrating the voices of Jordanian women who “are not afraid to break the silence”, and as a testament of proud and brave voices, 120 young women participated in producing a book to empower themselves and their peers. In “The Voice of Being Enough”, young women share their views on themselves and stories they have experienced with the community.

During the launch, which took place on Tuesday at the University of Jordan’s (UJ), the participants shared their views on having their voices heard “in spite of the pressure against them”.

Professor Rula Quawas, who teaches feminism and American literature at UJ, edited the book and said the main aim of the narratives it features is to empower and enable young women to “stand tall” against all the challenges. “Being in the classroom and teaching you and learning from you as well… this book is about you… 120 young women. These women are courageous, they have hearts of gold. Brave hearts,” she said. Quawas added: “They were able to break the wall of silence, shame, fear — to speak their mind and to say why they are enough.”

The narratives in the book, she said, written in English and some in Arabic “speak the truth and power”, aiming to encourage young women to look at themselves in the mirror every day and love themselves despite the ups and downs. “You have to wake up every single day and remind yourselves this: You are empowered, and because you are empowered, you stand tall,” she told young women at the event. “These are your voices, strong, powerful voices, voices that come from within, because that is the meaning of empowerment.”

Eman Ajarmeh, a university student who contributed to the book, said it was “a difficult journey” to discover the strength and power within oneself. “It was an experience I will never forget because I knew my power.”

Italian researcher Marta Bellingreri, who attended Quawas’ classes, said being part of the book made her realise that challenges of women are global and not limited to one region. “It’s not about nationality, it’s about being women, to be able to tell our story, especially in a university context,” she told The Jordan Times. “With all the differences, a work like this should be done everywhere,” Bellingreri added.

Quawas said awareness among university students and young citizens progresses when they are part of a project. “The minute [students] leave the classroom, they are surrounded by the community, fears, marginalisation, ‘othering’… participants were not only aware, they were able to concretise it,” she told The Jordan Times. The professor added that through this book, the contributors gained awareness on feminist issues by writing “powerfully” about their own take on who they are as young women. “You have to listen to the music of your heart, your inner voice, which is silenced by the community, media and so many forces against you.”

Posted in The Voice of Being Enough

The launching of “The Voice of Being Enough”

13043318_10154222616358945_8421557581315264073_nThe launch of “The Voice of Being Enough: Young Jordanian Women Break Through Without Breaking Down” took place at the American Corner in the University of Jordan on April 26th, 2016 with more than 50 attendants including teachers and students from JU and from ASU as well as representatives from TAKAMOL USAID. The event witnessed readings from the book as well as a discussion of how the idea of the book came through where writers of the stories expressed their feelings and elaborated on their writings.

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The Voice of Being Enough: Young Jordanian Women Break Through Without Breaking Down
اسم المؤلف : Rula Quawas, Editor
تاريخ النشر : 2016

About the Book: “Posing the question “Am I enough?” to themselves and other Jordanian women, student-authors have found their voice through their writing, and in the process have unfolded their independence of mind and their indomitable will.”

While asked to define themselves, more than one hundred women end up re-defining the world around them. “I am Enough” is a journal of collective-self-accepting voices in a society overshadowed by a prevailing sense of gender inequality and a consistent rejection of empowering women. In giving them a space to question the “Arab woman” marginalized image, Dr. Quawas invokes each of these author’s true long-hushed identities and introduces the reader to a long-awaited dream for Arab women: “Change is Coming.” Zaina Deeb

This book testifies to the fact that being enough nurtures the living potential within young women. Reading the testimonials of the young women is life-changing, and their voices will always and insistently encourage all readers to keep becoming and to keep upgrading to the best version of “they.” Dr. Quawas has beautifully infused passion and strength in her students’ lives. Without her truth, it would have been a dark road to find their own. Layla Bseiso

The least you can say about this book is that it is inspirational, a compelling read, and illuminating. This book is beyond a narrative of why Jordanian women are enough. It is an honest testimonial of generations. Dr. Quawas and her girls managed to freeze time and space to show each writer’s background, dreams, and self value as well. Their bravery and eloquence deserve a standing ovation. Rula, you are ENOUGH! Your girls are ENOUGH! Maya H.Abu-Ajamieh

An inimitable orchestra of various voices: the lower, the higher, the intense and the gentle all merge to perform the triumphant song of freedom, celebrating the full-fledged self-enough-ness of young Jordanian women. Dr. Quawas has grown this “azalea” in its beauty, in its color, and in its fragrance inside our Jordanian women to create a feminist post-Bildungsroman about their enough-ness and to also invite us to voice our enoughness. Alaa’ Al-Dasouqi

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Quotes from “The Voice of Being Enough”

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