How does one woman take her personal experience and idea and transform it into a global women’s rights community and movement with true social impact?
Manal is the founder of Surviving Hijab, a renowned women-only Facebook Group which helps defy stereotypes and empower women who wish to wear the hijab as a sign of faith.
Launched in 2014, the group now has more than 720,000 members – and in 2019 Manal was invited to give a speech at Facebook’s headquarters in California to share her story.
The group - and all her work as an activist and speaker since - focuses on sharing messages around breaking down barriers, inclusivity, changing perceptions, and tolerance.
Surviving Hijab has led Manal on a journey which saw her become the first hijabi model for Nike and collaborate with Nike in 2017 to launch the Pro Hijab, a performance hijab. In 2019, she featured in Nike’s global ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign.
Manal has achieved many firsts for Arab and Egyptian women on her remarkable journey; the first Hijabi woman to model in a Nike Running campaign; the first Arab to be featured in an audio guided run on the Global Nike Run Club app; the first Egyptian woman to run the Great wall of China Marathon in 2016; the first Egyptian woman to summit Mont Blanc in 2018.
Among her many goals, she is currently bidding to become the first Egyptian to finish the world’s six major marathons and the world’s seven highest summits by 2021.
Manal, who spent several years working in the pharmaceutical industry, currently lives in Dubai, UAE. After quitting her job as a pharmacist, she now splits her time between being a personal trainer, fitness instructor,mountaineer, marathon runner, Nike Run Club Coach and international public speaker.
Manal, you are such an inspirational force! Thank you for being a part of Facebook's GMS Summit and sharing your story. It's voices like yours that help bring our mission of building community to life in a meaningful and memorable way.”