Mary Nazzal Batayneh is a human rights lawyer at the Palestine Legal Aid Fund which is an organization that supports Palestinian individuals or organization who choose to take legal actions against Israelis. She joined the organization in 2009 but has been a political activist since high school. She says : “I’ve been involved in political activism for as long as I can remember and it’s taken on different forms. As a barrister, I often consider my efforts to be legal activism. In Jordan, the campaign that I’m currently most active on is the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS), and essentially the point of that campaign is to isolate Israel on every level until it complies with international law”.
She is also the founder and Chairperson of Landmark Hotel Amman. Before working full-time for the Palestinian cause, in 2000 she founded the Landmark Hotel which offers clients and employees a family-friendly environment based on sustainability.
Mary is a feminist and believes that women in all fields should not be afraid to get involved despite the patriarchal mindset that still dominates the Middle East countries. “A trend you will find in the whole Middle East is that women in top positions tend to be in family businesses. There are structural barriers that stop women from rising in the workplace, there is a sense that women can’t or shouldn’t. I wasn’t raised that way and I am certainly not raising my daughter that way”.
She was named one of the 200 Most Powerful Arab Women by the magazine Forbes.