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Saturday, June 2, 2007

‘A Woman’s Queen’, an interview with Glamour magazine

Back in 1993, Rania Al-Yassin was working in an entry-level job at Apple Computer in Jordan when a well-connected friend invited her to a dinner party that changed her life. There she met Prince Abdullah, son of Jordan’s King Hussein; they fell in love and wed that same year; and when his father died in 1999, the prince took the throne – making Rania the world’s youngest queen at 29. 
 
Since then, she’s wasted no time in using her royal status to become one of the most influential women in the Mideast – a stylish trendsetter willing to boldly champion female rights. “Arab society is traditionally very protective of women, and this attitude, while often well intentioned, has bred a culture of dependence that ahs in some ways held women back,” she tells Glamour. “But times are changing.” That’s due in part to her efforts. She has spoken passionately about the need for more women in Jordan’s workforce, which is only 24 percent female, and she has denounced honor killings – the cold-blooded murder of women who have “shamed” their families; currently men who commit these crimes serve only a minimal sentence in jail. “Gender injustice is something that concerns me greatly,” she says, adding that the problem is “not just limited to the Arab world; it’s often part of social norms around the globe.”
 
Her latest push: helping women get loans to start small businesses. “This is especially close to my heart,” she says. “As my husband says, we’ll never get ahead if half the country is left behind.”
 

© Copyright, Glamour Magazine