In the quest for gender parity, it’s crucial that we as Muslim women consider the ways we can truly help, rather than compete with, one another. I believe that one of the key ways to do this is to seek out inspiring role models, Muslim women who have “been there and done that”, because, at the end of the day, you can’t be what you can’t see. The question is: how exactly does one find a role model?
Here are several ways you can search for one — or several — Muslim female role models.
~ Nadia Sayeh
Read books written by female leaders.
The best way to understand a concept or a person is to get to the root. Read books and articles on topics that interest you. If you find an individual you admire, read what they have written. Create a deeper understanding of where their ideas stem. Seek to understand their voice and their personal story. Someone’s background can shine a light on how they managed their circumstances and ended up where they are today.
Do some research on the women who inspire you.
If you see someone that you admire, parse through their internet profiles. See the material they present to the public and research their life and career story. Fortunately, many people today publish their own content on blogs and social media platforms, inviting others to take a look at their personal worldview. You can learn a lot about a person through a simple Google search.
Attend networking events for powerful women.
Quality role models are hard to come by, but with some investigating, you can find leads. One of the best ways to find role models is to put yourself in situations where those around you are successful. Leadership conferences and conventions for your industry of choice are perfect hubs to hear various powerful voices in the field and gauge your interest. Don’t just pick a role model for the sake of picking one, but rather, find someone with whom you can relate and learn from their journey.
Emulate qualities you like, but make them your own.
When you find someone that you look up to, understand which qualities you admire about them. Is it their genuine and honest approach? Is it their ability to overcome the adversities of life? Whatever the case, emulate the positive qualities. Work to achieve these goals in your own life. By no means reject your true self, but incorporate your favourite qualities of your role model into the best version of you.
Watch YouTube videos and take notes.
The best way to learn a task or quality is to watch others do it well. Take your education into your own hands the modern way. Use the Internet, namely YouTube videos, to garner visual knowledge on a topic. If your role models have their own channel, even better. If not, just research and investigate topics of interest. For example, your role model may be into public speaking. Study up on videos of the best public speakers and their tips for improvement. The more you learn the better you will get, and seeking your own educational path is a great start.
Revamp your social media.
Social media is a large component of your self-image. If you want to find role models online, seek out and follow inspiring content. Completely refine who you follow on various platforms by only following content that fuels your mission to be a better person. These digital profiles of individuals are no fewer role models than those you know in ‘real life.’ Due to the amount of time spent on social media platforms, this content influences your beliefs and habits tremendously.
Contact them directly for assistance.
If you discovered a role model on the Internet or in real life, it is never a bad idea to reach out to them. Don’t expect a response — especially if they are pretty well-known. However, you never know what kind of relationship can manifest from your effort to connect. If you contact them digitally, you may foster a relationship that starts casual and ends up amounting to an in-person friendship. It is worth the risk, and if nothing comes of your outreach, it’s still meaningful to express your gratitude for their impact on your life.