Meet the thought-provoking Dr. Marwa Azab with a PHD in Biological Sciences with emphasis on Neuroscience from the University of California. She is also a public speaker and life coach teaching her clients not just to get through life but to develop the courage to live life. Also known for her interesting TedTalks; discussing matters of the brain and human behavior. Currently she is a lecturer at California State University teaching topics related to the brain and behavior such as: psychobiology, neuropsychology, psychopharmacology, psychology of stress, social psychology, human development: aging, and psychology of emotions. To add to her list of accomplishments she is blogs for the HuffingtonPost and elephant Journal. She has given many talks across the USA and Canada.
Arab Woman Platform had the pleasure to interview Dr. Marwa and find out more about the woman and her career,
Kindly tell our readers how the way you were raised played a part in your success and love for education?
I spent my childhood in the Middle East. My father valued education and especially for females. He typically engaged in thought provoking conversations with me since I was a child, we still have these conversations until today. My mother was and is super woman. She was able to seamlessly manage so much, I don’t think I can ever do half what she used to do. Both my parents immigrated to Canada with their three children and worked very hard to provide a safe and secure home for us.
Did you always know that you wanted to study psychobiology and neuropsychology? How did your line of expertise impact your personal life?
I was always interested in human behavior since I was a child. I sympathized with everyone, even the ones designated by society as most cruel. I tried to explain any human behavior in terms of surrounding factors. Of course, I was aware that explanations do not mean justifications.
What are some of the obstacles that stood in your way during your career and how did you overcome them?
When I started my PhD, I was married with two kids. I had to compete with mostly unmarried students who had nothing on their plate but to do well in their doctorate program. About half way through my PhD, I had baby number 3. I remember trying to manage it all, it was not easy but it eventually got done in the typical 5 years.
What keeps you motivated?
My three children! One of the reasons I got my bachelor in psychology was so that I can be a better mother. My children have taught me how to work very efficiently, because of the limited free time of a mother. I love reading and I model that, so my children like reading too. My children often come with me to my talks. They all attended my second TEDx talk.
What is next for Dr. Marwa Azab?
Writing, writing and more writing! I am writing a book and will provide more details as the structure becomes clearer. I also intend to do more TEDx talks, I really enjoyed my first two TEDx talks and found the experience rewarding. In general, I enjoy sharing what I know with many people, so expect more public talks and more writings.
In your opinion what is the biggest challenge that stands in the way of Arab women today?
Other women! I think women are either too judgmental of other women or harsh on themselves. The career woman devalues the work of a housewife; the housewife devalues the mothering of a career woman. We already live in a man’s world; we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves or other women.
What message or advice you would like to share with our readers especially women?
Commendable efforts by feminists were made to provide equal opportunities for women. However, the opportunities came in one size that does not necessarily fit all! Society established a success narrative that is based on manhood. Then, someone convinced women that they too would fit in the same uniform; well, the uniform was loose and long. So, women lost their femininity in its looseness, and they tripped over its lengthy requirements.
Instead, I wish efforts were made to make the world accept different sizes of success narratives, one that respects women’s unique biology and psychological makeup. Sameness to men without considering established biological, genetic, and psychological sex-related differences is actually anti- and not pro-feminist. In order for any movement to really advance women’s rights, it must consider our unique biology, hormonal systems, psychology and brain wiring. In this book, equality is defined as freedom to choose from well-informed options; the list of options has to be compatible with our biology, genetics and psychology. We should not be chained by the desire for an identical list delineated and best suited for men and their biology. We are too stuck for too long in the sameness game that we have diverted from equality…
To you my dear sister:
Take time to get to know yourself; don’t be afraid of the woman within you. There is nothing wrong with being feminine, it is the least challenging way to be for a women.
You may contact Dr. Azab for public speaking engagements on her public Facebook page or LinkedIn.
Watch Dr. Marwa’s TEDxWomen