Courageous Women: Mervat Qassem Hilal

I've been hard at work making slideshows from interviews and photo sessions Hossam and I did in Egypt, and I'm finally on the home stretch. You can follow my progress on my vimeo account

I think this video is my favorite from the project. In the West, I we're too often taught to assume that a woman in hijab -- an Arab, a Muslim, a wife and a mother -- is automatically a victim, passive and oppressed. I wish we got to see more of women like Mervat, who plays an active role in agitating for her own rights and those of her colleagues. She was on the front lines of the struggle to unionize the tax collectors, sleeping on the streets during the strike, facing down government officials, and persevering despite threats against her and her family.

It's also quite touching to see the support she gets from her husband and son.