By Suzanna Goussous
Jordan Times, Amman.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Beautiful article on the strength and courage of a woman in the middle east who had to fight gender stereotypes in her quest to support her family after her husband left. While Um Mohammad may not have set out to be one of the millions of women in business worldwide, she is a shining example of what can result from the economic empowerment of women.
As a woman living in one of Jordan’s oldest cities, where people still hold on to the traditional image of women, Um Mohammad has broken the stereotypes and challenged social norms to reach her goal.
Born in September 1968, Fatima Zou’bi, who prefers to be called Um Mohammad Amayreh, said she started her project as a host for tourists when her children were young.
After over 30 years of marriage, Um Mohammad’s husband left his family, leaving her with five children between the age of 7 and 12 and no money on the table.
Um Mohammad, who got married at a young age just like most of the women in Salt and left school after the seventh grade, became the sole bread winner.
“I started writing my life story in an open book; I didn’t close it, because if you close it, there must be something wrong. I challenged social norms and struggled until I accomplished my goal,” she told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.
“At first, I referred to myself as Fatima Zou’bi, but then, I didn’t want to separate myself and my story from my sons, so I started introducing myself as Um Mohammad Amayreh — this project is for me and my children.”
Before she started to host tourist groups for lunch, Um Mohammad tried approaching associations and organizations to receive financial aid, but she was told she “doesn’t look like a woman who needs aid”.