In line with the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) 2018 was “Press for Progress,” SAT-7’s Needle and New Thread program shares stories of women who have persevered and reached their goals through the support and encouragement of their mentors, including men.

“I would watch my father perform surgeries since I was three years old,” shares Dr Hala Mofeed, Professor of Pediatrics. “He made me indirectly love medicine. He never forced me to become a doctor.”

For IWD, Needle and New Thread broadcast a special episode featuring strong and accomplished women in Middle Eastern society. These women that have persevered, pressed and progressed, reached their goals and succeeded in their careers. Dr Mofeed is one of the women Needle and New Thread interviewed who shared of how the right support from her father helped her to become a Doctor and Professor.

“My father has always been proud of my sister and me I, and never felt ashamed that he didn’t get a son, like many men of Upper Egypt,” expresses Liza Sherif, a girl from Upper Egypt who is now studying dentistry. She shares how her father’s encouragement and admiration helped her to dream big for herself.

“I had a lot of destructive criticism when I first started to write my novel,” expressed Egyptian life coach Rania Fouad, “but I persisted because I love to write, and I found an editor for my novel. She gave me constructive criticism that helped me finalise my novel.” Rania is now the successful author of the novel Beyond the Obvious.


Through these stories, Needle and New Thread aims to communicate the message to women throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to not be afraid and to surround themselves with people who support their dreams and ambitions. Furthermore, male viewers of the program are influenced to be encouraging and supporting of the women in their lives, and in this way maintain healthier and happier relationships.

“There’s a stereotype for women in the Middle East that they must be demure, nice, soft and smiling whole men must be strong, powerful, proactive and managers. When a person does not fit the stereotype, they by others,” shares Ghada Mostafa, a specialist in gender studies, and guest on the show.

Mostafa explains to the presenters of the program that women who are submissive are not that way by choice, but that they are victims to so many rejections by their families and husbands. Mostafa describes how these women feel broken inside and submissiveness is their only defence mode to protect themselves.

Addressing the program’s female audience, Mostafa says encouragingly: “Broaden your horizons, fight the good fight and don’t be afraid as long as you are not doing wrong. Consider others’ opinions but don’t let them force you to do anything. Don’t be afraid of society because social norms change.”

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