Egyptian Feminist Union
History and profile
The Egyptian Feminist Union was founded at a meeting on 6 March 1923 at the home of activist Huda Sha'arawi, who served as its first president until her death on December 12, 1947. The union published the fortnightly periodical L'Egyptienne from 1925, and from 1937 the journal el-Masreyyah (The Egyptian Woman). Demands for education reforms by the union were met in 1925 when the government made primary education compulsory for girls as well as boys, and later in the decade women were admitted to the national university for the first time. The union's campaign for the reform of family law, however, was unsuccessful. In February 1951, Doria Shafik managed to secretly bring together 1500 women from Egypt's two leading feminist groupings (the union and Bint Al-Nil). She organized a march that interrupted parliament for four hours after they gathered there with a series of demands mainly related to women's socioeconomic rights. Mufidah Abdul Rahman was chosen to defend Shafik in court in regards to this. When the case went to trial, many Bint al-Nil supporters attended the courtroom, and the judge adjourned the hearing indefinitely. However, in spite of receiving promises from the President of the Senate, women's rights experienced no improvements.
The union was affiliated to the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
The union also supported complete independence from the United Kingdom, but like upper class male leaders of the Wafd Party, promoted European social values and had an essentially secular orientation.
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Egyptian Feminist Union.