Essay on Egyptian Women 's Movements During The 1919 Revolution

797 Words Dec 19th, 2016 4 Pages
Similar to Iran, Egyptian women’s movements have dealt with oscillating political and religious regimes. Many trace the origins of the Egyptian feminist movement to the 1919 Revolution in which women participated in rallies for independence from the British. The Egyptian Feminist Union (EFU) was founded shortly after in 1923 by Huda Sha’arawi. The EFU led the literary movement in which women published articles and wrote in magazines (Ramdani 41). In addition to fostering a literary culture in Egypt’s upper-class, household matters were at the forefront of the EFU’s agenda. Al-Ali notes the EFU’s activism “was characterized by dynamic interaction and tensions between women’s feminism and nationalism” (5). Women’s movements throughout Egypt’s recent history have been closely associated with nationalist movements as regime change was constant. Following Egypt’s state formation and constitutional period came waves of political regimes including socialism, capitalism, and nationalism. Under Nasser, the “state monopolized women’s issues” as social welfare issues, and eventually the 1956 constitution recognized equality of the sexes and expanded educational rights to women and girls (Al-Ali 7). While this state socialist feminism produced economically independent women, the regime maintained strict family laws keeping a system of patriarchy in the home. Sadat’s regime from 1970 to 1981 effectively reversed the policies of the previous government. Women were strongly affected by…

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