Throughout the ages, from the earliest days of Islam to contemporary times today, Muslim women have been and continue to be active leaders in their communities and countries across the world. This directory is a growing archive of leading Muslim women scholars, activists, writers, politicians, artists, religious and spiritual leaders, civil society leaders and more. Please contribute to this archive by suggesting Muslim women to be featured through our recommendation form.
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- WISE Conference 2011 Participants
I hope to inspire everyone—especially young people, women, and young girls all over the world, and in Middle Eastern countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men—to not give up their dreams and to pursue them...It may seem impossible to them at times. But I believe they can realize their dreams if they keep it in their hearts, nurture it, and look for opportunities and make those opportunities happen.
Known For: First Female Muslim in Space
Dates: Hijri 1385 – Present (AH)
Common Era 1966 – Present (CE)
Country: United States
Born in pre-revolution Iran, Anousheh Ansari immigrated to the United States as a teenager. Soon after receiving her master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University, she began working at MCI.
In 1993, Anousheh and her husband founded the telecommunications company, Telecom Technologies, Inc which was later sold to Sonus Network, Inc. In 2004, she and her family made a multi-million dollar donation to the X PRIZE Foundation, which promotes innovation regarding social and environmental issues. Subsequently, the X-PRIZE award that supports private space exploration and space craft design was officially renamed the Ansari X PRIZE.
In 2006, Anousheh became the first Muslim female in space, when she blasted off in the Soyuz TMA-9, through Space Adventures, Ltd. She is only one of a handful of self-funded spaceflight participants and the first private female space explorer. She has conducted multiple experiments while at the International Space Station. Anousheh is the first person to contribute to a blog from space.
She is the recipient of multiple awards and was one of only two women listed by Fortune Magazine’s “40 under 40” list in 2001.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Czech Republic
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States