Breaking Barriers: Inspiring Hijabi Women Who Are Making History

Muslim women’s achievements are an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Muslim women’s achievements are an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women throughout history.

It is a month-long observance that highlights the struggles and triumphs of women who have paved the way for future generations. This month serves as an important reminder of the significant role that women have played in shaping the world we live in today.

One group of women whose accomplishments are often underrepresented are Muslim women. Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, they have made significant contributions to various fields and have shattered stereotypes and glass ceilings.

By highlighting the achievements of Muslim women during Women’s History Month, we can recognize their accomplishments and amplify their voices. This not only promotes greater inclusion and diversity in our society but also empowers future generations of Muslim women to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact on the world.

One of the most common challenges faced by Muslim women is discrimination and prejudice. In many societies, wearing the hijab is perceived as a threat or a symbol of oppression, leading to discrimination in education, employment, and other areas of life. They have also faced harassment and physical attacks due to their religious identity, particularly in the aftermath of terrorist attacks that are falsely attributed to Islam.

Moreover, Muslim women have to work extra hard to break the stereotypes and prove themselves as capable individuals, often facing additional scrutiny and criticism. But despite these challenges, many Muslim women have excelled in various fields and made significant contributions to society. Their achievements are a testament to their resilience, determination, and commitment to their faith and values. 

In this article, we will shine a light on a few remarkable women whose achievements have earned widespread recognition. And to say the least, they have shaped the history of modern Muslim women and will undoubtedly inspire future generations.

Hijabi Women in Armed Forces and Security

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of hijabi women serving in the special forces in various countries. Despite the challenges and stereotypes that they face, these women are breaking down barriers and proving that they can excel in physically demanding and male-dominated fields.

They are not only changing perceptions about Muslim women and their capabilities but also challenging traditional gender roles and paving the way for greater inclusion and diversity in the armed forces and security. Through their determination and courage, these women in the special forces are inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams and defy societal expectations.

Maha Sukkar 

Maha Sukkar is a trailblazing figure in the Australian law enforcement community, as the first hijabi woman to serve as a police officer in the country.

Sukkar’s appointment to the Victoria Police force in 2004 was a historic milestone for Muslim women in Australia, as it marked a significant step forward for representation and inclusion in law enforcement. As a hijabi Muslim woman, Sukkar faced additional challenges and stereotypes in her journey to become a police officer.

Credit: Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

She said,  “It was the best day of my life, even better than my wedding day. I still smile when I think about it. It was really hard work physically and mentally to convince Victoria Police that I can be part of [them] even if I have a headscarf on. The only difference is I might look a bit different but I’ll do the same job.” 

What inspired her to do it?  She explained: “After September 11 those same people started saying bad things to me, to my face. I thought: what has changed? I am the same person I was the day before. So I wanted to change people’s perspectives.”

And in 2004 she did, making history as the first hijab-wearing officer.  She persevered and successfully completed her training, becoming a symbol of hope and inspiration for other Muslim women in Australia who aspire to serve in law enforcement.

Zeena Ali

Constable Zeena Ali has made history as the first member of the New Zealand Police to wear a specially designed hijab as part of the force’s uniform.

The hijab was introduced as part of an effort to encourage more Muslim women to join the ranks of the police force and increase diversity and representation. Ali’s appointment as the first hijabi police officer in New Zealand is a significant milestone for Muslim women in the country and sends a powerful message about inclusivity and acceptance. 

Credit: NZ Police

Her commitment to serving her community is an inspiration to all those who seek to make a positive difference in their respective fields. Zeena says: “It feels great to be able to go out and show the New Zealand Police uniform hijab because I was able to take part in the design process. During training for her wing, the Royal New Zealand Police College staff organized halal meals and made a prayer room available.”

The introduction of the hijab as part of the police uniform represents a step forward in promoting greater diversity and representation in law enforcement, and paves the way for other countries to follow suit in their efforts to create more inclusive and welcoming environments for Muslim women.

Captain Maysaa Ouza

Captain Maysaa Ouza made history as the first Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps officer to wear a hijab, and her story has been featured in a new short documentary from NBC’s Left Field.

Credit: Air Force Times

Through her dedication to serving her country and her faith, Capt. Ouza has broken barriers and paved the way for other Muslim women who aspire to serve in the military. This documentary sheds light on her journey and the challenges she has faced, as well as the support and encouragement she has received along the way. Her story is a powerful reminder of the importance of diversity and inclusivity in all fields, including the military.

Hijabi Women in Sports

There has been a significant increase in the number of hijabi Muslim women excelling in sports at all levels, from grassroots to professional competitions.

These women are breaking stereotypes and proving that wearing a hijab does not hinder their athletic abilities. They are challenging misconceptions about Muslim women and their participation in sports, and inspiring others to pursue their passions and dreams.

Through their achievements, these women are promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in sports and paving the way for a more tolerant and accepting society. Whether it’s on the track, on the field, or in the gym, these women are showing that with hard work, dedication, and determination, anything is possible.

Zeina Nassar

Zeina Nassar is a professional boxer and a devout Muslim. She wanted to wear a hijab while competing but was initially met with resistance from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which had strict rules prohibiting the wearing of head coverings in the ring.

However, Nassar refused to be deterred and continued to fight for her right to wear the hijab. Her perseverance paid off, and in 2019, the AIBA announced that it would allow boxers to wear hijabs and other religious head coverings in competition. 

Credit: Arabian Business

Nassar’s unwavering determination and advocacy for inclusivity and religious freedom have had a profound impact on the sport of boxing and beyond, serving as an inspiration for other Muslim women to pursue their passions and make their voices heard. Her groundbreaking achievements remind us of the importance of challenging systemic barriers and promoting greater diversity and representation in all fields.

Ibtihaj Mohammed

Ibtihaj Muhammad made history as the first Muslim woman to represent the United States at the Olympic Games while wearing a hijab.

Not only did she represent her country, but she also became a bronze medalist in fencing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Her accomplishment was significant not only for Muslim women but for all women and people of color who have been historically underrepresented in sports. 

She has become a symbol of hope and empowerment for Muslim women worldwide, proving that there is no limit to what can be achieved with hard work and dedication. Her story serves as a reminder of the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity in sports and in all aspects of society.

Hijabi Women in Entertainment

Hijabi women journalists and TV anchors are making significant strides in the media industry, challenging traditional norms and stereotypes.

These women are pushing for greater representation of Muslim women in the media, particularly in countries where the Muslim population is significant but underrepresented. They are using their platform to report on issues that affect Muslim communities and bring a fresh perspective to the news. 

Rowaida Abdelaziz

Rowaida Abdelaziz is a journalist based in New York City who has made a name for herself by shining a light on issues related to Islamophobia and social justice within the Muslim community. Her work has been published in a variety of media outlets, including HuffPost, NBC News, and Al Jazeera, among others.

Abdelaziz’s reporting has covered a wide range of topics, including the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment, the impact of hate crimes on Muslim communities, and the challenges faced by Muslim women in various fields.

Her dedication to promoting greater understanding and empathy toward Muslim Americans has had a profound impact on public discourse, helping to break down stereotypes and challenge systemic biases. Abdelaziz’s work reminds us of the importance of journalism as a tool for social change and the critical role that media professionals play in shaping public opinion and promoting greater inclusivity and representation.

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Jamir Hussain is a well-known British television chef, author, and presenter who rose to fame after winning the sixth series of the BBC’s popular show, The Great British Bake Off in 2015.

Her victory not only marked a significant moment for Muslim women in the UK but also catapulted her career to new heights. Since then, Hussain has signed contracts with the BBC to host several shows, including the documentary The Chronicles of Nadiya, and TV cookery series Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and Nadiya’s Family Favourites. She has also co-presented The Big Family Cooking Showdown and become a regular contributor on The One Show.

Hussain’s success as a Muslim woman in the world of television has opened doors for other aspiring chefs and media personalities from diverse backgrounds. Her inspiring journey is a testament to the power of hard work and determination, and her presence on television screens serves as a reminder of the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity in all forms of media.

Hijabi Women in Aviation

Muslim women are also making significant strides in the aviation industry and excelling in traditionally male-dominated fields. From pilots to air traffic controllers to ground crew, Muslim women are taking on crucial roles and proving themselves as skilled and dedicated professionals.

Despite facing challenges, these women are determined to succeed and inspire others. Their contributions to the aviation industry are helping to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, where all individuals are valued for their skills and expertise regardless of their gender or religion. 

Huda Al Musallami

Huda Al Musallami made history 18 years ago when she became the first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Her journey, however, was not an easy one.

Credit: Gulf Today

Al Musallami faced numerous obstacles, including a four-year battle to be allowed to wear a headscarf while flying. Additionally, she encountered prejudice from some passengers who doubted her abilities as an Arab woman. Al Musallami also had to contend with sexist jokes from some male colleagues who believed that women could not drive cars, let alone pilot planes.

Despite these challenges, Al Musallami persevered and has become a role model for women in the UAE and beyond.

Syeda Salva Fatima

Syeda Salva Fatima’s journey to becoming a commercial pilot has been an incredible one. Despite growing up in a poverty-stricken household in Hyderabad, she never let her circumstances deter her from chasing her dreams.

Her journey began with flying a two-seater Cessna, but she quickly progressed to navigating global air traffic on an Airbus a320, amassing 550 flying hours along the way. Her journey was not without struggles, but through hard work and determination, she overcame them all.

Credit: The Times of India

Fatima is an inspiration to many, especially young girls who aspire to become pilots. 

Hijabi Women Representing Modest Style and Fashion

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of hijabi women who have gained prominence on social media for representing modest fashion and style.

These women have used their platforms to challenge stereotypes and showcase that modesty and fashion can go hand in hand. Their influence has extended beyond just fashion and has impacted the way Muslim women are perceived in society.

By showcasing their style in a way that is relatable, these hijabi influencers have helped create greater representation and inclusivity in the fashion industry. Their stories serve as a reminder of the power of individual agency and creativity in shaping mainstream culture and promoting greater acceptance and understanding of diverse perspectives.

Hadha Ana

Hadha Ana is one of the top Indian hijabi influencers, entrepreneur, and advocate for inclusivity and representation in the fashion industry. She is the founder and CEO of Anah.co, a hijab brand that caters to women looking for chic and modern designs that are both comfortable and practical.

She also made headlines for her part in a groundbreaking ad campaign for Kay Beauty, which featured a diverse cast of models, including Anah, wearing a hijab. The campaign was celebrated as a landmark moment in promoting greater representation of Muslim women in India’s beauty industry. Through her work, Anah has shown that hijabi women can be successful entrepreneurs, influencers, and advocates for change. 

Jasmine Fares

Jasmine Fares is one of the top Canadian hijabi influencers, models, and now fashion designers who has been a passionate advocate for modesty in fashion.

She has used her platform to promote a positive and inclusive image of Muslim women, challenging stereotypes and showcasing the beauty of modest clothing. She launched her own eponymous line, FARES, which has since gained a loyal following for its elegant and minimalist designs that are both Instagram-worthy and modest. 

Fares’ commitment to promoting modest fashion has earned her recognition in the industry, including being named as a “Hijabi You Should Follow for Major Style Inspo” by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Her work is a testament to the growing influence and power of hijabi women in the fashion industry, and the importance of representation and inclusivity for all.

Through her fashion brand and social media presence, Fares has created a platform that empowers women to express themselves creatively while embracing their faith and identity.


In conclusion, Muslim women around the world are creating history by changing perspectives about head-covering.

Through their activism, creativity, and determination, they are challenging stereotypes and misconceptions about the hijab and Muslim women in general. Whether it’s in sports, journalism, entrepreneurship, or the military, these trailblazing women are breaking down barriers and paving the way for greater inclusion and diversity in society. 

They are showing the world that being a hijabi Muslim woman is not a limitation, but rather a source of strength and resilience. Their achievements are an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.