The NYUAD Women’s Leadership Network provides opportunities for dialogue and action related to women’s equality, empowerment, and leadership.
Because of the Spring Break schedule at NYUAD, we will no longer be sharing the stories of women from Tuesday onwards. We hope that these blogposts and the initiative has brought some new knowledge about women doing great things from long ago to modern days. 
Today we will focus on Zadie Smith! Smith is a British novelist born in 1975. Coming from a Jamaican mother and English father, she grew up in a multicultural neighborhood in London and went to Cambridge, where she published her first novel. Up to date, she has written four novels, White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, and NW, with which she has received high acclaim and many awards.Zadie Smith is considered one of the most important figures in contemporary literature and an important figure in the community of female writers and black writers. And, NYU students pay attention, she has been a tenured professor in NYU’s creative writing program since 2010.
Her novels have focused on the lives of women and the social interactions of women, in addition to issues of race, academia, family, and culture. You can read an excerpt of her discussion on her recently published novel NW here with PBS.
Back to the week and back to posts about women.
This image is of a painting called Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi. Gentileschi was an Italian Baroque Painter who lived from around 1593 to 1656 and became the first woman to be accepted as a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno, a renowned art academy in Florence.
This piece depicts Judith’s murder of Holofernes, a general sent to kill all the Jews. Judith, overhearing this story, decides to come into favor with Holofernes with her beauty. After he gets very drunk, she beheads him and saves the Jewish people. 
Gentileschi was born into a painter’s family, and her artistic talents were cultivated and encouraged by her father. Her father was working together with another painter on a project, and he hired him to also be Gentileschi’s tutor. However, this painter Agostino Tassi raped Gentileschi at the age of 17, and her family only pressed charges after finding out that this tutor, Agostino Tassi, was not planning on marrying her and instead planned to steal some paintings from the family. He ended up serving one year in jail, but this experience marked a change for Gentileschi in her artistic styles.
Gentileschi is an innovator of artistic styles, one of the first feminist artists, and one of the first respected female artists. In her works, she displays liberated and free women, and her life has inspired novels, movies, and plays.
Today we will be focusing on Sara Bowers Posada, who works for the Nike Foundation, a foundation under Nike,Inc. that strives to empower girls and give them an education that will allow them to fulfill their dreams. 
For the Audacia Forum in 2011, the organizers wrote a biography for her, which you can see below. 

Sara Bowers Posada has worked on education and child protection since 1998 in countries including Zimbabwe, Uganda, Guatemala, India, the United States, and Afghanistan. She is currently a Portfolio Manager at the Nike Foundation, funding programs that empower adolescent girls worldwide. She spearheads Nike Foundation’s education and legal rights investments and works closely with partners such as Save the Children, Landesa, Synergos, and Equality Now. Sara also leads the Learning Action Network grant portfolio, which promotes more and better girl-focused programs among key Foundation partners.
Before joining the Nike Foundation, Sara designed and implemented education programs in South Asia with Catholic Relief Services. Chief among these programs was the PACE-A community-based education program in Afghanistan, which worked with both remote communities and the Ministry of Education to create locally-led, government-recognized schools to provide rural children and adolescent girls access to education for the very first time.
Sara holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree in government from Wesleyan University. 

Sara Bowers Posada’s work has helped to improve the situation of girl’s education around the world. Check out Nike Foundation for more about the work.
Kim Gordon! 
Kim Gordon is the bassist for alternative rock band Sonic Youth, but also a singer, visual artist, and fashion designer. In the late 1980s, she served as a frontrunner for women in no wave and experimental music and art and demonstrated the power and worth of women in these areas. In addition, she influenced many great female musicians later, such as Courtney Love and Kathleen Hanna, and the director Sofia Coppola. 
To read:
TGA Magazine
Rolling Stone
RookieMag (run by Tavi Gevinson, featured earlier!)
& check out Sonic Youth.
-Emily <3 <3
Yaa Asantewaa (c.1850-c.1920)
Yaa Asantewaa was the queen mother of the Ejisu, now in modern-day Ghana. Her role in history is mostly defined as her brave actions, starting from one very special and secret meeting. In this meeting with the chiefs of the Asante government, the chiefs expressed their fear of the British forces and their reluctance to fight for their exiled king. Yaa Asantewaa, however, is supposed to have stood up and spoken these words proudly:

Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.

And with that, in 1900 she led the Ashanti Uprising against the British Imperial Government and helped maintain the Asante Empire’s de facto independence. 
Meet Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, an African-American and Iranian artist that piloted the “Stop Telling Women to Smile” Project."Stop Telling Women to Smile is a street art project that addresses gender based street harassment. The project consists of a series of portraits of women - women who I have sat talked with about their experiences with harassment. The portraits are designed into posters, including text that is inspired by the subject’s experiences. And then I wheat paste. STWTS started in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012. It is an on-going, traveling series and will gradually include many cities and many women participants. Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women world wide. This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street - creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”check out the actual project at http://www.tlynnfaz.com/Stop-Telling-Women-to-Smile
-from Lotus Mohajer
Happy International Women’s Day! This is the day to recognize all women, those who have helped fight for suffrage, those who are working to secure equality in the workplace and government, and especially those who are in your life. 
We will return tomorrow with inspirational female figures. <3 
Maya Lin

At the mere age of 21 and only a senior in college, Maya Lin sent in a submission to an open call for design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the age of 21 and won with her idea in 1981.
After winning the contest, Maya Lin came under the disapproving eye of the public. Some veterans found her simple design offensive. Others questioned the validity of her work because of her background as an Asian American, despite Maya being an American, born and raised in Ohio.  

She talks about this in a PBS interview.

Yeah. I was in school and I was taking the subway in. And I remember these three working class guys were up on the top of the passover and they were trying to spit on me. And they were saying incredibly racist and intensely painful things.What’s strange is you look at Black Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Chinese Americans, and New York is such a mixture. And at times you wonder, sometimes we’re acceptable, we blend in, we’re not spat on. Do other races have a harder time? Yes, the answer is horrible at times.And you can really relate. And you feel sometimes the funny thing about being Asian American is if you’re black American you’re American, whereas I will always inevitably get into a cab sometime and the cab driver will turn around and say, “Where are you from?” And I’ll say, “Ohio.” And they’ll say, “No, no, where are you really from?”And there could be a white German whose English is okay. He could have just traveled here yesterday and they will assume he’s American. I was born and raised here. Looking the way I look, you will always get that question, even sometimes at polite cocktail party: Where are you from? Where are you really from? And that leaves you in a weird in- between world. Like you’re both.
But that does something to you. Like, well, are we really not allowed to be from here?

Maya Lin, a woman who barreled through all the controversy and disdain and emerged with a canon of work that defies all stereotypes and expectations against her is an inspiration for us all. It is uplifting to see someone who has survived the barbs of the world and can be an example for others, wanting to follow in her path. 
In the design world, in the art world, women are important as another set of eyes and another voice for communication. They make decisions, for example, on how women’s bodies are perceived and add a different lens on the world, that was previously singularly only male. Maya Lin has played big role in promoting minority women in the predominantly male art world. 
Yesterday was our screening of Girl Rising. Thank you so much to everyone who came around! It’s very important for these type of events to exist in our community and to acknowledge that women’s rights are something worth fighting for. 
For the rest of Women’s History Month, I (Emily) and Nafi will be blogging about inspirational women and sharing details of their lives. Today we will be presenting Tawakkol Karman, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient for “[her] non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work” as declared by The Nobel Peace Prize Committee. Tawakkol is a Yemeni journalist and she is most known for leading Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), which provides media training and reports on human rights abuses in Yemen. Starting in 2007, she began peaceful protests in Sana’a against corruption and governmental repression and protests for democracy and human rights and continued up to 2011, when she directed her protests into the direction and spirit of the Arab Spring. She is considered by Yemenis “the Mother of the Revolution” and the “Iron Woman.” Her efforts have been life-threatening, as government officials and civilians have made death threats on her life. And yet, she continues to work for human rights and for democracy in Yemen. 
Tawakkol Karman is a leading member in the opposition party Al-Islah, which has affiliations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. Karman herself has links to both the Muslim Brotherhood and American and European organizations, but views her efforts as stemming from her beliefs. She has fought to eliminate child marriage, called attention to female illiteracy, and reinforced the idea of the hijab as a woman’s personal decision by wearing colorful hijabs instead of the niqab. Karman says with confidence, 

“Women are no longer victims. They have become leaders. They are at the forefront of the demonstrations. We will share a role in all aspects of life, side by side with men.” 

Today today today!!!! Come to DTC Garden at 7:30 for the screening of Girl Rising and become inspired. 
Talking of girls rising, we’ll be introducing Gabby Douglas. Gabby Douglas is a US-American gold-medalist in gymnastics and also the first African-American to win the all-around. She accomplished this feat at the London Summer Olympics in 2012 at the age of 16. 
As with many women who receive widespread public attention, attention of the public is unduly focused on their appearance. Despite Gabby’s record-breaking achievements, much of the internet decided to make comments on her hair instead. But in response, Gabby says,
Nothing is going to change. I’m going to wear my hair like this during beam and bar finals. You might as well just stop talking about it.
I don’t think people should be worried about that. We’re all champions and we’re all winners.

Gabby Douglas is just another example of a girl who overcame the odds and came out strong. When she was 14, she left her family to go live in Iowa to train with a coach. In Iowa, there were very few other black people in her community, and in gymnastic events, she was often the only black gymnast present. Gymnastics is a predominantly white sport in the United States, and the lack of a minority presence in the sport and wider community made Gabby feel self-conscious, but it turns out that this self-consciousness was for the better.

“I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m black and no one thinks I’d ever win,” she said. “Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.”
- “A Very Long Journey was Very Swift”, New York Times

Thank you Gabby for inspiring us. Have a great day everyone and come to the screening!