Syria has led the Arab World in many ways for the past 100 years. It was the headquarters of the Arab nationalist movement in the 1910s and among the region’s earliest and most vibrant democracies in 1918. Legislation giving women the vote was introduced to the Syrian parliament before a similar measure passed in the US in 1920. Syrians lost their independence to the French in 1920 in the Battle of Maysaloun--and Moubayed tells the story of a young Syrian woman who ripped off her veil before the news cameras, donned military garb, and fought courageously to preserve Syrian independence--winning acclaim as the Arab Joan of Arc. Syria has produced an array of leading poets, writers, and painters. In the 1970s, Syria was the first Arab country to appoint women as judges, parliamentary deputies, ministers, and ambassadors. Today, women in Syria compose slightly more than 50% of the workforce and, by many measures, women in Syria are more free than European women and are equal in rights to American women. In Steel & Silk you will meet the nationalists who led the independence struggle against the French. You will meet the statesmen who made Syria a central player in the Middle East. You will meet poets, painters, dramatists and thinkers as well as diplomats, journalists, and civil servants. Over 160 black & white photos. Includes a workshop for students, journalists, and researchers that includes an annotated timeline of 20th Century Syria, and lists of Syrian officials since the fall of the Ottomans in 1918.