Feminism is the set of movements whose ultimate goal is equal rights and opportunities for men and women. So that thefeminism seeks to end men's supremacy and eliminate gender roles. Feminism seems to be a bigger movement in the Western world. We must nevertheless highlight the different types of feminism that have emerged in other parts of the planet, sometimes even before the West. We find an example among feminist women in the Arab world.
A series of movements aimed at improving the situation of inferiority of women emerged in the early 20th century in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. These movements, still active today, have been marked by feminists as remarkable as Malak Hifni Nasif, Huda Shaarawi, Hind Nawfal or Fay Afaf Kanafani. These names, however, have not received the echo they deserve in the West. We will remedy this by leaning onthe biography of some feminist women in the Arab world.
Feminist women in the Arab world have left a mark that must be taken into account.Share
Durriya Shafik (1908-1975)
Durriya was an academic, journalist, teacher and activist Egyptian. She studied at the universities of Cairo and La Sorbonne. She became the leader of the political struggle, suffering even from house arrest. Durriya defended secularism and democracy, arguing that Islam speaks of women's equality and does not require sails or domesticity.
Durriya created a magazine including a section devoted to the promotion of women's political rights. Shealso founded a feminist association of middle class to promote women's literacy and political rights. Durriya also founded the political party The Nile girl, which would be dissolved by the other parties.
Her most acclaimed action was a hunger strike thanks to which sheensures that the constitution fully guarantees women's political rights. The new constitution granted women the right to vote, but only to those who formally requested it. She later carried out another hunger strike to protest the Nasser dictatorship and the Israeli occupation of Sinai. On this occasion she lost the support she enjoyed, was denounced as a traitor and placed under house arrest. Durriya will therefore suffer from ongoing emotional crises that would lead to suicide.
Zaynab al-Ghazzali (1917-2005)
The Egyptian writer Zaynab al-Ghazzali defended the creation of an Islamic state governed by sharia or Islamic law. She argued that women would have their rights recognized by this law.Zaynab founded the Muslim Women's Association very young. It was an Islamist group * rejecting nationalism and semi-secularism.
Zaynab maintained contacts with other Islamist movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Zaynab was one of the women who would serve as a liaison between the prisoners and take on the Islamist opposition when some of her members were imprisoned.This led to being imprisoned and tortured by the state.
Nawal el-Saadawi (1931)
Nawal was called the "Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world". This mental health doctor devoted his professional career to defending the political and sexual rights of women.His writings cost him his job at the Ministry of Health. They also took her to prison for two months, during which she wrote "Memoirs of the Women's Prison" with a roll of toilet paper and an eyeliner.
Nawal tried to found in Egypt a party composed solely of women and feminist ideology. An idea that could not be implemented because it was forbidden to him.Nawal was also co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights and founder of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association.The threats of Islamist groups eventually led him to live abroad. She returned to Egypt in 2011 with the start of the Arab Spring.
Fatima Mernissi (1940-2015)
Fatima Mernissi was one of Morocco's most prominent feminist women. With a degree in political science and a doctorate in sociology, Fatima was considered a world authority in the field of Koranic studies. After studying different versions of the Qur'an,Fatima defended the postulate that the Prophet Muhammad was a feminist and progressive man for his time.She further pointed out that it was not him, but other men who began to regard the opposite sex as second-class beings.
We can find his theories in the bookThe Political Harem: The Prophet and Women. A book that was banned in his native country, Morocco, to declare that the scriptures had been misinterpreted by authoritarian men supporting misogyny with manipulated religious arguments. All of thethe work will lead her to obtain various awards, among which the Prince of Asturias Prize (2003).
We have just seen through these four personalities that feminist women in the Arab world have and have a strong presence. They struggled at different times for women's rights, despite the high cost of their actions. They defend a more egalitarian religion, secularism or democracy.Feminist women in the Arab world left a mark that we must take into consideration.
* Islamism is a set of movements that defends the union of politics with the religious mandates of Islam.