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Outspoken Egyptian feminist icon, Nawal Saadawi, passes away


Famous feminist author and defender of women’s and human rights in the Arab world, Dr. Nawal Saadawi, died on Sunday, March 21, at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy of over 50 books and social commentaries and critique. Renowned for her fighting spirit and her courage to write boldly, Saadawi was preoccupied with challenging taboos, social norms and harmful traditional practices, as well as religious and ideological rigidity. She received countless death threats and was imprisoned for criticizing and defending women's political and sexual rights but was motivated to keep going. She fought a cultural war with Islamist radicals and some liberals since the start of her career. Saadawi witnessed various changes in Egypt and the Arab world and was at the forefront of the second feminist intellectual renaissance period when she fought strongly against the widespread practice of female genital mutilation. Her liberating writings and daring views about FGM, women and faith were shocking to society and she was jailed for that. Among her most popular publications, is “Issues of women, thought and politics” in which she disputed many social norms and religious facts, in addition to “Issues of woman and society” in which she enthused feminist causes calling for women’s independence and their right to work as the only means for emancipation from the patriarchal society. She was a target for many campaigns but was unwavering in her belief that religion and society deliberately exclude women’s role and influence in the history of the nation for the sole reason of being women. Other books include, “women and sex”, “sex and power”, “Al Hakim bi amr el lah” and “Memoirs from the women’s prison”. (An Nahar, March 22, 2021)

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