By Suzanna Goussous
Original published on Apr 27, 2016
At the Jordan Times http://jordantimes.com/news/local/book-celebrates-voices-young-women-journey-self-discovery
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.”