Arab Women Dominating Netflix: The Success of Arab Women in the TV industry

By Yousra Bachine

Recently, Arab women are dominating our TV screens, as we find them acting as the protagonists in our favourite shows. Whether that be in films or tv series, Arab actresses are being highlighted by Netflix delivering strong and powerful stories. However, Arab women directors and writers are also being recognised in a positive light.

Series such as Al Rawabi School for Girls, Finding Ola, and more recently The Swimmers; as well as movies such as Farha, are examples of the richness of the stories that emerge from the Arab world, and from Arab women. 

Al Rawabi School For Girls, Season 2, Date announcement (source: Bsttoppers)

The history of the Arab world is also a great inspiration for Arab women directors who wish to speak about the past and current issues of their country and the role of women. Current issues and events are addressed in these shows and films with interesting female perspectives that were never seen before.  

This is also what Netflix is interested in, as the female perspective and the uniqueness of these stories, is the recipe for success for these films and series. We’re even witnessing Arab women as ‘protagonists’ of reality shows! For example, Dubai Bling, being a successful show; which followed the daily lives of women who have succeeded in establishing themselves in Dubai.

Netflix is investing in Arab women filmmakers with the AFAC (source: graziamagazine)

Netflix intends to ride this wave of success by investing in and creating more opportunities for women in the Arab world to create more interesting and engaging content like the Because She Created initiative. According to the digital magazine, Broadcast Pro Middle East; “Netflix has created a dedicated space at the Red Sea International Film Festival to celebrate the pioneering spirit of four iconic women filmmakers from the Arab world, helping amplify their voices to an audience of esteemed industry professionals and inspiring future generations of female storytellers.” An exhibition of this initiative took place during the recent Red Sea Film Festival of Saudi Arabia. 

Nuha El Tayeb, Director of Acquisitions for MENA and Turkey at Netflix, thinks that: “Bringing forward talent that will inspire others and drive increased equality behind and in front of the camera opens up opportunities for untold stories. I hope that this space allows more women to take charge and tell their stories in their own voice, so that more people have the chance to see their lives reflected on screen and be part of an industry that champions representation.

‘Because She Created’: Celebrate Arab Female Filmmakers With a Netflix Collection of 21 New Films (source: About Netflix)

These initiatives demonstrate Netflix’s commitment to producing and highlighting movies and shows created by women with interesting stories. Netflix also wants to create original content that mixes different cultures and inspirations. The Arab world and Arab women have so many stories to tell that can bring a lot, and inspire many people across the globe.

We can’t wait for more successful movies and shows that show how powerful and strong Arab women are through stories that must be told. 

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