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Drafting a New Story: Women's Rights in the Middle East

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In April 2010, Hissa Hilal, a 43-year-old women from Saudi Arabia, appeared on the Abu Dhabi television show “Million’s Poet,” a poetry-reciting contest. She competed as the only woman among a cast of all male finalists. Though she knew she would be scorned and threatened for her performance, she persisted. She was supported by her husband, who said that his wife’s strength and bravery set a positive example for their young daughters, one of whom suffers from autism. Dressed in a full niqab, she recited a poem in which she tells viewers not to be afraid of the repressive, conservative forces working against society, particularly those clerics who perpetuate extremism.

ABC news named Mrs. Hilal their “person of the week” after her performance on “Million’s Poet.” Watch their profile of Ms. Hilal here:

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