Rep. Ilhan Omar observes anniversary of her arrival in U.S. on International Women’s Day

Produced by Rebecca Corey

“Through Her Eyes” is a weekly half-hour show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary issues from a female perspective. You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the top of this article.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., will also be celebrating a personal event that transformed her life: the 24th anniversary of the day she arrived in the United States as a refugee from Somalia.

In an interview with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes,” Omar recalled that day and reflected on the impact it has had on her two daughters and their hopes for the future — particularly her elder daughter, Isra.

“She has always had dreams that are bigger than the ones I’ve had for myself at her age,” Omar said.

For this Women’s Day, the newly elected congresswoman said her aspirations for women around the world extend even beyond the hopes she has for her own daughters. Her message is simple: Aim big.

“I want us to stop celebrating marginal wins,” Omar said. “I want us to fully recognize our place in society, and to own our power.”

Omar’s goals align closely with those of many women in the United States in particular — as illustrated by the results of a new survey conducted by Yahoo, HuffPost and CARE International that asked a broad cross-section of U.S. women, “What do women want now?”

The survey suggests that pay equality, women achieving positions of power, and efforts to ensure expansive equal rights are priorities for many women.

Those objectives were also high on the list for a guest on a prior episode of “Through Her Eyes,” actor, rapper, singer, and producer Queen Latifah. In an interview with host Zainab Salbi, the star said she’d like to see equity for women in the music industry.

“I think we got quite a ways to go in the music business,” Latifah said.

“One of the things that I faced as a young artist was marketing dollars,” Latifah said. “The same amount of marketing dollars that would be spent on one of my male counterparts wasn’t usually spent on me. I had to kind of fight to get the equal amount.”

A quarter of working women surveyed also said they believe having more women in leadership positions would improve their workplace environment.

But leadership opportunities and pay weren’t the only concerns among the respondents. The #MeToo movement also resonated with women who participated in the poll. Of those surveyed, 53 percent of women said they had experienced unwanted sexual advances, and 41 percent said recent attention on the issue of sexual harassment hasn’t gone far enough.

While discussing Women’s Day on “Through Her Eyes,” six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman encouraged women to speak out if they have been sexually abused. “You know your truth,” Raisman said. She has experienced the power of speaking out firsthand as an instrumental voice against the notorious former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

“If somebody doesn’t believe you, that’s their problem, not yours. And don’t stop until you find people that will support you.”


“What Women Want Now” is a program by Yahoo News and our sister sites dedicated to creating content about the issues and stories that matter most to women. Read more here.