Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interesting Egyptians: Huda Shaarawi

The United States had Susan B. Anthony. Egypt had Huda Shaarawi.

I first heard of her when reading Max Rodenbeck's book Cairo The City Victorious - which by the way is a fantastic book if you are interested in Egyptian history and modern day Cairo. In the book, he writes of Huda stepping off a train at MaHatta Misr in 1923 (today called Ramses Station) and publicly removing her veil. Many women followed her example, and within 10 years very few women in Egypt remained veiled. Huda's feminist movements were coordinated with Egypt's efforts to gain independence from English occupation. After Egypt did gain independence, the men tried to, once again, return the women to their harems. Thanks to Huda's efforts - it was not to happen. It is because of her pioneering, groundbreaking feminism movement, that modern day Egypt does not resemble modern day Saudi Arabia with it's segregation and women hidden behind black veils and high walls.

To read more about this remarkable woman go here and here.

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