To mark international women's day, Google Doodle honored 13 women from around the world including two from the Middle East: Turkish archaeologist and Olympic fencer Halet Çambel, and Egyptian aviator Lotfia El Nadi.
Here's more about the two inspiring Middle Eastern women:
Halet Çambel: The first Muslim woman to compete at the Olympics
The well known Turkish archaeologist and fencer is considered 'one of the region's most important researchers for primeval and ancient history'. She was also the first Muslim woman to compete at the Olympics.
Born in Berlin in 1916, she later lived with her family in Istanbul and went on to pursue her interest in fencing during her high school years.
In a move considered 'bold' in Turkey at the time and in an aim 'to expose the young republic’s proud and modernizing face to the world' Çambel and another female athlete from Turkey were selected to represent their country at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
An archaeology undergrad at the Sorbonne university at the time, Çambel competed in fencing and even though she did not return home with a medal, her participation marked an important step forward for female empowerment in Turkey.
After the Olympics, she completed her undergraduate studies in archaeology and eventually went on to become one of the most important and inspirational archaeologists of her time. She is credited with playing a major role in several ground breaking achievements in archaeology.
Çambel also played a vital role in expanding 'the understanding of Hittite hieroglyphics by discovering a tablet with the Phoenician alphabet, which permitted philologists to decipher the inscription'. She is also widely known for her activism that eventually saved many of Turkey's endangered archaeological sites.
In 2004, she was awarded the prestigious 'Prince Claus Award' in recognition of her work.
Çambel passed away in Istanbul on the 12th of January 2014.
Lotfia El Nadi: The first female aviator in Egypt
Born in Cairo in 1907, El Nadi would become one of the first female aviators in the world and the first in her own country and the Arab world.
At a time when women were expected to conform to common social norms, she refused to give up on her education, despite her father's objections.
After hearing news of the opening of an aviation school in Cairo in 1932, she immediately decided to apply.
Even though her family refused to fund her education, she persisted and worked as a receptionist at Cairo's airport to fund her flying lessons.
El Nadi was always defiant and determined to pursue her dream. To her, flying 'represented the freedom and liberation that she and many young women of her time were deprived of'.
She 'earned her pilot's license after only 67 days of training, at the age of 26,
becoming one of the first African and Middle Eastern woman to ever receive one.
Due to an accident that caused damage to her spine, and even though El Nadi was eventually unable to continue her career as a pilot, she remains to be an iconic figure who revolutionized people's views on women in aviation and who also inspired many other women in Egypt to view aviation as a possible career.
She was awarded 'the Order of Merit of the Egyptian Organization of Aerospace Education' in 1989 and a documentary about her life titled 'Take off from the Sand' was released in 1996.
She was also honored by Egyptian-Armenian painter Chant Avedissian in a painting that was part of a collection that celebrated Egypt's golden age.
El Nadi passed away in 2002, but her legacy will always be an inspiration to Middle Eastern women everywhere.
More inspirational women:
Other inspirational women from across the globe were also honored in today's Google Doodle and they are: Ada Lovelace, Ida B. Wells, Sally Ride, Lina Bo Bardi, Cecilia Grierson, Frida Kahlo, Miriam Makeba, Olga Skorokhodova, Lee Tai-young, Rukmini Devi Arundale and Suzanne Lenglen.