Gender, Nation, and War: A New Critical Conjunction
  • Kifah Hanna
Part of the Literatures and Cultures of the Islamic World book series (LCIW)


In May 1923, the early Arab feminist and nationalist leader Hudā Sha‘rāwī was on her way home from Rome, where she had attended an International Woman Suffrage Alliance meeting as head of the Egyptian delegation. As her train approached Cairo station, she, stepping out onto the running board, removed her niqāb in public for the first time. This symbolic gesture was met with applause from the crowd of mainly upper-class women who had gathered at the station in support of the founder and first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union. While few followed suit in removing their veils at the station that day, Sha‘rāwī’s gesture was pivotal in the history of Egyptian feminism, as it marked a transition to a more active, assertive stance against the forms of patriarchal oppression by which women were socially and politically marginalized, their personal freedoms curtailed, and their voices subdued. It was a public call-to-arms that heralded a new phase of the feminist movement in Egypt, and, by extension, in the Arab world.


Arab World Feminist Movement Arab Woman Woman Writer National Liberation 
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© Kifah Hanna 2016

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  • Kifah Hanna

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