Breaking through the culture of shame

Ayat's dreams

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Ayat Al-Zoubi , 39 Jordan Storyline

Going against the odds

Ayat became passionate about fashion, but she had to struggle to convince her father and family that becoming a fashion designer is a respectable career path. "According to my family, I needed to be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer to be a decent and respectable woman."

Even though they did not agree, Ayat decided to follow her dream. She started buying old clothes, then refurbished and sold them. After a while she managed to open her own store – yet she soon had to sell this store again in order to help her brothers through university. Ayat wanted to start selling from home, but her husband did not agree. She realized that in order to continue her business she would have to divorce her husband. In Jordan however, women are not allowed to file for a divorce – her husband would have to do so. After a long struggle, Ayat’s husband finally agreed to divorce her, on the condition that she would not request any money or property.

Ayat would rather start from nothing than be with her ex-husband for another day

Freedom at last

"I decided I would rather start from scratch than to spend another day with my husband. I took my children and left without anything, but I was determined to make it." She managed to re-open her sewing place and started saving money. After a few months she was able to take out a loan from the bank and bought a house and a car. She also hired five employees for her sewing store. The business became successful and within a year she managed to pay back her loan. She sold the small store in order to buy a bigger one with modern machinery. After Ayat began making a name for herself she remarried. This marriage did not work out either, as her husband tried to exploit her financially. Ayat divorced him after six months and has stayed alone ever since. She is determined to focus on her career and her children.

Nowadays Ayat is running a flourishing global business in fashion and is happier than ever before.


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