CairoScene celebrates International Women’s Day with a soul-stirring roster of Egyptian women creating inspiring content…
Social media can feel like a whirlpool of judgement and comparison. From brands to influencers, the commercial machinations fueling our digital lives often push agendas that perpetuate harmful beauty standards, unrealistic lifestyles, and the insidious notion that ‘success’ can be measured by a follower count and ‘likes’ can buy you happiness.
Yet here’s the trick, the simple secret we all forget - YOU are the algorithm. Meaning what and who you choose to follow, like and engage with on a regular basis also informs what you see on a regular basis. Of course with the tsunami of incessant content flooding our feeds daily, it can be challenging to sift through the sands of superficial content to find those much-needed pearls of wisdom.
This International Women’s Day we’ve curated a list of some of the most extraordinary Egyptian women to follow on Instagram. These are not just amazing women but very specifically ones who - each in their own way - intentionally, consistently and tirelessly create purposeful social media content that is truly meaningful, adds value, educates, informs, motivates, and ultimately inspires.
NOUR EMAM (@nouremam)
Founder of everyone’s favourite body-literacy and sexual health account ‘Mother Being’, Nour Emam’s content is all about self-love, body positivity, and understanding female needs and sexuality. Though vital to women’s mental health and safety, these subjects are generally taboo in Egyptian culture – which is what makes Nour and her content so incredible.
SALMA EL-WARDANY (@salmaelwardany)
London-based writer, presenter and dismantler of the patriarchy, El-Wardany creates the kind of fearless feminist content we need more of in this part of the world. She is unabashed, unafraid and gloriously unrelenting. Her debut novel ‘These Impossible Things’ is out soon, so once you’re done devouring her insta-content make sure to get ahold of her book.
NORSHEK FAWZY (@norshekfawzy)
Family, wellness, and adventure - Norshek is the face of her namesake brand, which provides Egyptians with organic, handmade, natural hair and body products and tea. Aside from being a fun-loving young mum who doesn’t shy away from sharing the challenges of parenting, her commitment to clean living, health and the environment is an inspiring reminder that simplicity is often key.
AMINA DIAB (@aminadiab)
Amina Diab is a psychologist who has gotten major traction online for her thoughtful attentiveness to therapy for parents, kids, and teens alike. Amina uses her page to discuss healthy positive parenting – how to meet not just your child’s needs, but your own needs as well. Amina’s cute infographics and engaging videos are in both English and Arabic, making it inclusive for everyone in the country and region.
RANA EL KALIOUBY (@ranaelkaliouby)
Author of ‘Girl Decoded’, founder of Affectiva (Emotion Artificial Intelligence), and featured on Forbes’ ‘40 Under 40’ list, El Kaliouby is one of the foremost Arab faces working in the male-dominated technology industry today. Not only are her achievements a source of inspiration, but so is her content, which is geared towards informing and educating her audience about all things tech and innovation.
FAYROUZ EID (@fayrouzneid)
Fayrouz Eid is the epitome of what it looks like to grow out of one’s shell. Anyone who’s been following Fayrouz for the past few years has had the privilege of seeing, in real time, how she has blossomed into the powerful female figure she is today. Her content covers everything from the joys of motherhood to the perils of divorce, all with brutal honesty. The cherry on top? She’s a nutritionist and health expert who loves to share easy and healthy recipes for mothers on the go. You know what to do!
DEANA SHAABAN (@deanashaaban)
Founder of Ignite, one of Egypt’s leading brands in wellness, fitness, and performance training, Deana Shaaban is all about empowering yourself with health and strength. With an infectious smile, fitness tutorials, and inspiring captions, Deana Shaaban is the positivity face-lift your feed has been craving.
MAY ABDEL ASIM (@mayabdelasim)
May Abdel Asim’s resume feels never ending, just like the limitless well of valuable content she shares. Founder and Managing Director of ‘What Women Want’ magazine and creative agency Media and More, May’s page will have you claiming what you want and need, fearlessly and apologetically. Follow her for her beautiful writing, stay for motivation.
MAHA ABOULENEIN (@mahagaber)
A rare female Arab voice on a global futurist stage, Maha Aboulenein’s impact spans across public relations, communications and digital content. Best known for her PR work with modern renaissance man, Gary Vee, Aboulenein has come to occupy a unique position back home, with her Instagram collating snippets of her educational talks and other valuable nuggets.
ALYA MOORO (@alyamooro)
Bestselling author of ‘The Greater Freedom: Life As a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes’, Alya Mooro stands for everything that challenges what a ‘Middle Eastern woman’ traditionally is. Her witty takes on current events and insights on real-life unfiltered female experiences are sure to make you feel like a bad-ass queen.
RANIA AL-MASHAT (@raniaalmashat)
Egypt’s former Minister of Tourism and current Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat is an international economist and one of the leading ladies behind Egypt’s growing prevalence on the world stage, spearheading projects that tackle several frontiers. Her feed gives you insights into her high-powered job and the machinations behind being a female leader negotiating the male-dominated world of politics.
ROSALINE ELBAY (@rosaline.elbay)
Though most famously known for her role in the hit Hulu-series ‘Ramy’, Rosaline Elbay’s power lies in more than just her talent for acting. As a writer, feminist, and advocate for human rights and Arab female representation in the arts, Rosaline’s content covers everything from her insightful take on political events and surviving as a woman in the Arab world.
MONA EL TAHAWY (@monaeltahawy)
Founder of ‘Feminist Giant’ and author of ‘The Seven Necessary Sins For Women & Girls’ and ‘Headscarves & Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution’, Mona El Tahawy is one of the Arab world’s leading feminist figures paving a way for more discussion surrounding women’s rights. Known for her passionately aggressive stance on women’s rights and fighting the patriarchy, Mona’s voice, though at times divisive, is vital in instigating conversations that mustn’t be tiptoed around.
NAJLA SAID (@najlasaid_)
Najla Said is a feminist photographer and art director whose account is filled with beautiful and real women. Championing natural bodies and gorgeous faces with proud Arab features, Najla’s feed will not only make you proud to be an Egyptian woman – she’ll make you want to pick up a camera and appreciate the beauty in you and everything around you.
LARA INGRAM (@hausof.light)
British-Egyptian Lara Ingram describes herself as a consciousness explorer and empowerment photographer – she also just happens to be a documentary filmmaker credited with both the BBC and Vice. Aside from being insanely cool, Lara’s feed is the photographer’s gorgeous portfolio celebrating women’s bodies and female relationships. Sisterhood, friendships, love and self love are the themes she covers in the form of stunning photographs that place women at the heart of mother nature.
DINA ZAITOUN (@artopathic)
Dina Zaitoun is an artist whose work champions feminism – in Arabic, no less. With gorgeous cartoons, bold colours, and her signature bubble-letter Arabic typography, Dina’s content will give your feed the creative and vibrant boost it needs. Not to mention, as an ex-dentist, Dina’s content is sure to inspire you to tap into your creative side no matter what your profession may be.
GHADEER AHMED (@_ghadeerahmed)
Author of ‘Abortion Tales’, writer Ghadeer Ahmed is another incredible woman discussing topics that are conventionally taboo in our society – but need to be talked about. If you want someone who understands what it means to be an outspoken woman in our culture, Ghadeer is the person to follow.
NARIMAAN FAROUK (@narimaan.farouk)
English-Egyptian plus-size fashion blogger Narimaan Farouk is the woman to follow when your auntie - three generations removed - decides that your body is her prerogative and urges you to succumb to toxic beauty standards. Nariman's page explores all things fashion and falling in love with yourself despite the nagging compulsion not to.
JANA AMIN (@janaamin03)
Egyptian-American activist for girls’ education, Jana Amin uses her content to change the narrative surrounding Muslim women. She works with the @theconversationalist, @arab_america, and @chegg - and at just 17-years-old, the young activist has already been featured in the New York Times.
SORAYA BAHGAT (@sorayabahgat)
An advocate for women and girls, Soraya Bahgat is a social entrepreneur and renowned public speaker championing for women and children’s rights alongside UN Women. Through her page, she provides insightful information and numbers on issues related but not limited to violence against women, education, and equity.
MANAL A ROSTOM (@manirostom)
Marathoner, mountaineer, Nike ambassador and founder of @survivinghijab, Rostom tirelessly uses her social media platform to dismantle stereotypes around Muslim women, while encouraging all of us to get fit and feel strong.
DALIA MOGAHED (@daliamogahed)
Egyptian-American researcher Dalia Mogahed is the current director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) and the CEO of a consulting firm of her own name, Mogahed Consulting in Washington, DC. On her page, Mogahed shares powerful personal stories as well as advice for young girls surrounding racialisation, socio-cultural issues, and navigating life as a Muslim woman.
YASMINE NAZMY (@livingreenwithyasmine)
Owner of vegan business Kaju, environmental engineer Yasmine Nazmy uses her social media to raise awareness about environmental issues, food products, and health as well as providing tips and tricks about how to navigate Cairo as a plant-based individual.
SAMAR HAMZA (@samr_hamza_76)
World champion and Olympian wrestler, Samar Hamza is the reason behind Egypt’s first-ever world championship medal in the women’s category. When she’s not making history, Hamza invites you to follow along on social media as she trains, motivates and inspires a new generation of athletes to dream big.
YARA SHALABY (@yara_shalaby_)
The first-ever Egyptian woman cross country rally champion, Shalaby takes her audience on a play-by-play account of her time in the male-dominated world of rally racing, motorbiking, paragliding, and paramotoring. Her daily snippets are not only inspiring, but offer real-world advice about how to do the same.
AYA AYMAN (@aya.ayman.abbas)
With fistfuls of medals under her belt, Aya Ayman is a Guiness world record holder and Paralympic swimmer. She’s no stranger to television appearances, and is not shy of sharing her story and struggles with her audience.
RANIA HAMMAD (@rania_hammad)
Effortlessly stylish, Hammad is an Egyptian blogger and designer making a claim for diversity within an industry dominated by able-bodied influencers and models. Featured in countless international magazines including Vogue Arabia, Hammad makes it a point to say that fashion is for everyone.
GIANA FAROUK (@gianafarouk)
Olympic medalist and Karate world champion, Farouk is one of the few hijabi women to dominate in the sport, using her platform to dismantle stereotypes and inspire a legion of young women to pursue their dreams.
SHAHD OMAR (@bodywithshahd)
A member of the famed ‘@thisismotherbeing team, Shahd Omar is a pelvic health yoga teacher and boundaries and consent educator. Her feed is filled to the brim with infographics, inspirational quotes in both English and Arabic, and short videos where Shahd herself shares tutorials on how to feel one with your body.