Empowering Women, Engendering Change

Amy J. Johnson and Scott David Mcintosh

in Re-Envisioning Egypt 1919-1952

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9789774249006
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781617971006 | DOI:
Empowering Women, Engendering Change

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This chapter challenges the view of the pre-1952 period as bereft of meaningful governmental reform programs, while revealing women's social reform activism in Egypt during these years to have transcended upper class urban issues. In its revisionist approach based on painstaking research and extensive interviews with Aziza Hussein and her colleagues, this chapter examines the Cairo Women's Club under Aziza Hussein, which founded the country's first rural day-care center and spearheaded literacy campaigns, family planning, and rural industry. As against the notion of decaying social organs and an unconcerned government, the project involved active cooperation between the private and public sector, while setting a new standard for women's activism by empowering rural women as development agents. Not only does this chapter expose readers to Aziza Hussein as a pioneer in Egyptian social reform, but it also shows how these activities set a pattern of social reform followed after 1952.

Keywords: social reform activism; Aziza Hussein; Cairo Women's Club; literacy campaigns; family planning; rural industry

Chapter.  13259 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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