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Summary

Post Edna Adan Ismail endured it all – for the women of Africa. Edna saw first-hand how poor healthcare, lack of education and ancient superstitions had devastating effects on Somaliland’s people, especially its women. 

When she suffered the trauma of FGM herself as a young girl at the bidding of her mother, Edna’s determination was set. The first midwife to practise in Somaliland, Edna became a formidable teacher and campaigner for women’s health. As her country was swept up in its bloody fight for independence, Edna rose to become its First Lady and first female cabinet minister. She built her own hospital, brick by brick, training future generations in what has been hailed as one of the Horn of Africa’s finest university hospitals.

This is Edna’s truly remarkable story.

©2019 Edna Adan Ismail, Wendy Holden (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"The Muslim Mother Teresa." (The Huffington Post

"As tough as General Petraeus, as compassionate as the Pope, as tireless as Michael Phelps, as beautiful as Tina Turner, and with a work ethic to rival Bill Gates." (Kirsty Young, Desert Island Discs)

What listeners say about A Woman of Firsts

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fantastic

To hear Edna Adan Ismail read this book was outstanding and a pleasure to hear.

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Outstanding

What a fantastic book, every femal should read, be grateful for your life and others

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Captivating

What a treat to be able to listen to Edna tell her story. This is the most remarkable memoir you will ever read that will leave you both inspired and flabbergasted. Today I stumbled upon a quote that reminded me of this book ‘My idea of an interesting person is someone who is quite proud of their seemingly abnormal life and turns their disadvantage into a career.’ But more so than this, George Orwell’s quote outside the BBC really resonates with everything Edna stands for: ‘If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ Edna is the champion of liberty. Against all odds, she has achieved what most would have written off as impossible. What an incredible life!

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Wow

I have admired Edna Aden Ismail for a long time and waited for the publication of this book for quite sometime.
I can honestly say it did not disappoint me at all!
This is great story told by a fascinating person of her personal and professional life. It give you hope and and inspiration to achieve your dreams whilst maintaining your dignity and principles.

May you be rewarded for all kindness you have shown your patients.

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Moving and inspiring

I was captivated from start to finish by Edna Adan Ismail's incredible life and her story of Somaliland's recent history.

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A Must Read Book

Not always comfortable read but what an inspirational woman definitely worth reading, an amazing woman.

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Inspired, harrowing and humbling.

I loved this book. Edna is such an incredible woman. To have not only survived but thrived is truly inspirational.

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Inspiring - what a woman!

Edna tells her story like she's chatting over coffee and as a nurse the way she talks about her passion for the role and patient care is truly inspirational. On top of that her life is so fascinating and you are left with a sense of motivation at how one person can really make a difference.
This book, Edna's story, is truly amazing and if Edna reads this review I want to thank her for sharing it with us.

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Opens your eyes to the experiences of woman

An amazing story told in the first hand that really opens your eyes to the experiences and struggles of women in the developing world. Some hard to listen to parts but we'll worth listening to.

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Wow, what a woman

What an incredible woman. This is a real eye opener, I found it hard to take a break from it. Love that it's read by the author; her passion and struggle really come across. What she has achieved against all the odds is immense. Heartily recommend.