1923 First Women

Mary Yanni: The founder of the Beirut-based magazine Minerva

Mary Yanni was one of the most notable women of her time. She established Minerva in 1923 in Beirut, publicising it as a magazine for “Literature, Art, and Sociology.” The magazine was originally published in 1916 and 1917 on a monthly basis, but its publication was suspended due to the scarcity of paper in Lebanon during World War I 1. It would then be reprinted between from 1923 to 1929 2. Yanni was a supporter of women’s right to equality with men. She dedicated several sections of the magazine to discussing women’s roles and achievements in the Nahda era, particularly in the fields of education and journalism 3. In her introduction to the magazine’s first issue in 1927, she wrote:

“Now in its fourth year, Minerva reasserts its commitment to strengthening women’s role and helping the Eastern girl to rise from the abyss of ignorance, and to gain her legitimate rights and equality with men in society.” 4