In March 2016, a Google search for the phrase “Women of MENA” led us on a journey. We wanted to learn more about the 173 million women in MENA, who they were and what they accomplished, past the first page Google hits that used words like ‘oppressed’, ‘can’t do’, ‘patriarchy’, ‘sexism’. We decided to rewrite the negative narrative of the women in the region and highlight their accomplishments and brilliance.

So we started a campaign, just in time for women’s day, asking for the women of MENA to show us who they are, what they are proud of, and what they have accomplished, using the hashtag #WomenofMENA.

The campaign took off, with women from the Middle East and Pakistan participating, and industry leaders and influencers such as Haif Zam Zam, and equity trader Natacha Tannous showing their support with photos that portray MENA women as successful, creative and leaders in their communities.

We learned that women of MENA were athletes, CEOs of banks and executive deans of universities. We also found that men were some of MENA women’s greatest supporters and were more than proud of their accomplishments!

In the lead up to Women’s Day 2017, we want to create some serious ‘womentum’, and keep those positive role models at the top of Google’s algorithms and at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And, this year we have the support of some amazing partners such as Elie Saab, STEP 2017, and StartUpScene who will be working to spread the news as well!

Let’s flood the world with positive messages of Women of MENA who CAN, who WILL, who HAVE, and who ARE.

This is where you, the women of MENA come in.

Grab your nearest paper, pen, stylus or lipstick marker, and tell us WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU HAVE DONE.

Tag it with #WomenofMENA and #WOMENA and upload it to your social media channels.

Let’s replace those first results of Google with examples of what #WomenofMENA are really doing…which is: anything they want!