Women You Should Know: Egyptian Feminist Huda Sha’arawi

Huda Shaarawi made history as being one of the first outspoken female activists in Egypt. Born in Cairo, Huda lived her young life in a harem only to become a central figure in early twentieth century Egyptian feminism.


As Huda’s passion and activism for women’s rights evolved over the years, so too did her political passion and involvement in Egypt’s national struggle against British colonial presence.  She openly challenged the traditional perceptions of women in Egyptian culture as well as the lack of women’s participation in public and political spheres.

Via Wise Muslim Woman

A leading figure in the feminist movement of Egypt, here are a few things to know about Huda Sha’arawi.

  1. Born into a wealthy family in Minya, she was the daughter of Muhammad Sultan, the first president of the Egyptian Representative Council.
  2. In 1910, Sha’arawi opened a school for girls where she focused on teaching academic subjects rather than practical skills such as midwifery.
  3. In 1923, Sha`arawi founded and became the first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union.
  4. After returning from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome she removed her face veil in public for the first time, a signal event in the history of Egyptian feminism.
  5. She led Egyptian women pickets at the opening of Parliament in January 1924 and submitted a list of nationalist and feminist demands.


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