L'Egyptienne: Writing the Lives of the New Egyptian Woman

Open Access
Author:
Springer, Stephanie Reed
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Janina M Safran, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Elizabeth Salzer, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Egypt
  • gender
  • feminism
Abstract:
This paper is an analysis of the journal of the Egyptian Feminist Union, L’Egyptienne, which was published from 1925-1940. I argue that the women of the EFU used the magazine as a form of autobiography of their current lives and future possibilities, creating templates for women’s roles outside of the domestic sphere and building a community of like-minded women. Huda Sharawi compiled her own memoirs after the end of the magazine’s publication run—these memoirs begin with her awareness of gender inequalities in childhood and continue until her time as a public figure in the nationalist and feminist movements. Margot Badran described Sharawi’s dictation of her memoirs as her “final unveiling” and her “final feminist act” in the preface of the English translation of the memoirs, Harem Years. I contend that these memoirs were an outgrowth of her earlier efforts to write women’s lives and possibilities, with her final contribution to this effort being her own story as an exemplary figure. Huda Sharawi is remembered and celebrated as the pioneer of Egypt’s woman’s movement and her efforts, partly through the publication of L’Egyptienne, shaped the ideal of the New Egyptian Woman.