Convergences and Divergences: Egyptian Women's Activisms over the Last Century

Leslie Lewis

in Mapping Arab Women's Movements

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9789774164989
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971266 | DOI:
Convergences and Divergences: Egyptian Women's Activisms over the Last Century

Show Summary Details


This chapter dispels several interrelated myths about Egyptian women's actions and activisms today and throughout history. One common assumption in the west is that Muslim women and, in particular, those who embrace strict interpretations and practices of Islam are by definition passive observers of their own lives, oppressed in turn by fathers, husbands, social norms, and legal institutions. As I will show, very frequently the opposite is true. Many prominent Egyptian activists, remarkable change agents in their own lives and in society at large, have been religious: most often Muslims, by dint of sheer numbers, but also Coptic Christians. Beyond simply bringing a religious sensibility to their projects, a significant proportion of women's group activisms have had religion generally, and Islam specifically, as their guiding moral force. Today, pious women's efforts on behalf of other women and their families have real, positive effects in the lives of the women they aid.

Keywords: women; movements; activism; Egyptian; Century; Egypt; Nasser; Arab socialism; feminist

Chapter.  8048 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at American University in Cairo Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.