Fifty Million Rising: The New Generation of Working Women Transforming the Muslim World

According to Saadia Zahidi of the World Economic Forum, Muslim women are going to work in greater numbers than ever. Across the Middle East and North Africa, women from a range of sects, generations and families are launching careers outside the home. They are entrepreneurs, service workers, clothing designers, corporate executives. Their growing economic power is revolutionizing their homes, families and societies. In Zahidi's first book, Fifty Million Rising, she delves into these shifting cultural, social and economic patterns.

Zahidi, who grew up in a Pakistani Muslim family, has an economist's love of data. Her narrative is packed with statistics on subjects including marriage, divorce and childbirth rates across the Muslim world, as well as the number of companies with female executives. But her primary focus is the stories she has captured: vivid anecdotes from women (many, but not all, millennials) who are blazing new paths. Sharing their journeys and struggles are women like Mozah, who runs a catering business out of her home in Cairo; Sara, a Pakistani doctor who founded a telemedicine start-up; and Diajeng, the CEO of an online fashion platform. Although many of them face financial challenges, pressure from male relatives and other obstacles, they are determined to succeed. Zahidi explores the effects of their success on family structures, community norms and the potential for future generations of Muslim women, while celebrating their "grit, resilience and a hunger for achievement." Fifty million working Muslim women are indeed rising--and so are their numbers. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams 

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