Egyptian Feminism and 1919: Countering Colonial and Homegrown Patriarchies

Sunday, January 6, 2019: 11:20 AM
Monroe Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Margot Badran, Georgetown University
Egyptians protesting continuing British colonial occupation and their exclusion from the Versailles Peace Conference rose up in what is known as the 1919 Revolution. Women and men of all social classes took to the streets demanding national independence. Following the period of the 1919 Revolution culminating in the 1922 declaration of partial national independence, women from the social and educated elites moved from an earlier stage of rising feminist consciousness and discrete social experimentation to mount an organized public explicitly feminist movement invoking Islamic modernist, secular nationalist, and humanitarian discourses. My paper examines how, at the historical moment when feminism itself was surfacing in diverse global locations, Egyptian women constructed a feminism of their own, which forms part of the story of the foundation of feminism/s, and was not an derivative of so-called “Western feminism” as has been so commonly alleged.