Monday, March 29, 2010

Inji Aflatun & Egyptian Feminism

Ok...up late reading "We Egyptian Women" by Inji Aflatun in the Feminist Theory Reader (FTR) instead of going to see Girl Trouble open for Blowfly or Joey Casio at the Red House.

So I'm sitting here concentrating on this short essay that argues for women's suffrage and full political participation and realize that the FTR is giving me no context whatsoever other than that it was written in 1949. This is the second entry after the intro. Not a good sign.

No history of Egypt, no economic analysis of colonialism, no discussion of Egypt in WW2 etc

So, I got out all these books and started re-reading "Women in Egypt" by Angela Davis in Women, Culture and Politics (which is just such a great essay by the way), looking for my Nawal El Sadaawi Reader (can't find it), skimming the chapter on Egypt in The Darker Nations by Vijay Prashad (so good), checking the index of Leila Ahmed's Women and Gender in Islam (I really need to read this whole book someday), glancing at Harem Years by Huda Shaarawi (which I forgot I even had)...then I come in and start googling "feminism in Egypt" and now it's really late and I am feeling invigorated yet overwhelmed by how much I don't know and how much I want to learn.

Well, this is my idea of fun, but I don't have too much to report just yet....other than that it seems like a gross oversight to start a feminist anthology with this essay without any kind of socio-economic or cultural/political context. Huh.

1 comment:

  1. here's some notes from my preliminary research:

    Saad Zaghlul/ Wafd Party leader -Egyptian Nationalist Movement

    1919 Zaghlul exiled by the British (to Malta), mass protests erupted -- emergence of Egyptian feminism

    1923-1939 Egyptian Feminist Union (EFU) founded by Hoda Shaarawi. (Wafd party)

    she threw her veil in the sea after attending a conference in Rome, inspiring others to follow (complex analysis of this action is required, important not to make assumptions about what this signified at the time)

    biased and upper class movement…journal written in French…elitist

    post ww2

    economic duress, corrupt monarchy (King Farouk)


    1942 Egyptian Feminist Party - Fatma Neamat Rashed

    1948 The Bint El-Nil (daughter of the Nile) full political rights for women. literacy, healthcare for the poor, mother's rights, childcare led by Doria Shafik. liberal ideology

    1952 army seized power, deposed the King ….independent women's movements banned, parties dissolved

    equal rights granted - education, work

    1956 Constitution gave women the right to vote/ run for office

    1972 Women and Sex by Nawal El Saadawi argued against religion as justification for women's oppression

    1980's New Woman Group, Cairo

    1985 Committee for the Defence of Women and Family Rights

    I got most of this from wikipedia:

    I also found this bibliography, which I will keep on file: