Egyptian Feminist Union

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The Egyptian Feminist Union (Arabic: الاتحاد النسائي المصري‎) was the first nationwide feminist movement in Egypt.

History and profile[edit]

The Egyptian Feminist Union was founded at a meeting on 6 March 1923[1][2] at the home of activist Huda Sha'arawi,[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6] When the case went to trial, many Bint al-Nil supporters attended the courtroom, and the judge adjourned the hearing indefinitely.[7] However, in spite of receiving promises from the President of the Senate, women's rights experienced no improvements.[6]

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.

The union reformed as a non-profit, non-governmental organization under the same name but with a different goal and team in 2011.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mariz Tadros (March 18–24, 1999). "Unity in diversity". Al Ahram Weekly (421). Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  2. ^ Earl L. Sullivan (January 1, 1986). Women in Egyptian Public Life. Syracuse University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-8156-2354-0. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  3. ^ Nadje S. Al Ali. "Women's Movements in the Middle East: Case Studies of Egypt and Turkey" (Report). SOAS. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  4. ^ p. 184 Modern Middle East. William L. Cleveland and Martin Bunton. WestView Press 2013
  5. ^ Cynthia Nelson (1996). Doria Shafik Egyptian Feminist : A Woman apart. American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 169–176–. ISBN 978-977-424-413-1.
  6. ^ a b "Overlooked No More: Doria Shafik, Who Led Egypt's Women's Liberation Movement". Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Anne Commire; Deborah Klezmer (2002). Women in World History: Schu-Sui. Yorkin Publications. ISBN 978-0-7876-4073-6.
  8. ^ Eriksen, Mette (October 18, 2011). "Women's groups relaunch Egyptian Feminist Union". Egypt Independent.
  9. ^ Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt. Boulder [u.a.]: Rienner. p. 190. ISBN 978-1-55587-229-8. Egyptian Feminist Union.

External links[edit]