Casting off the Veil: The Life of Huda Shaarawi, Egypt's First Feminist

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9781848857193: Casting off the Veil: The Life of Huda Shaarawi, Egypt's First Feminist
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Born into a wealthy and powerful Egyptian family, Huda Shaarawi was destined to lead a leisurely life in luxurious settings. She decided instead to acquire an education and to participate in the liberation of Egypt from the British occupation. Huda became famous overnight when she led a peaceful walk of veiled women across Cairo in 1919 to free the leaders of the Egyptian resistance who were detained by the British forces. She was then invited by the members of the Bureau of the IAWS (International Alliance for Women's Suffrage) to participate in the international conference in Rome in 1923. Huda became the lifelong friend of Western and other feminist leaders at that conference. It was after this conference in Cairo when she and her two traveling companions removed their face veil upon leaving the train at the railway station and were spontaneously imitated by all the other women in what became a landmark gesture in Egyptian history. In 1923, Huda founded the Egyptian Feminist Union affiliated to the IAWS, and began publishing a French magazine, L'Egyptienne, to circulate information about Egypt's plight and achievements under the occupation, and to promote peace between Eastern and Western countries. She soon became - and remained for many years - one of the Vice-Presidents of the International Organization of Women. Huda Shaarawi alternated political advocacy with social and cultural projects. She spoke on behalf of the Arab and African peoples in International Fora, founding two magazines in Arabic to circulate information in her area of the world. Huda founded schools, supported artists, medical dispensaries, and cottage industries, and participated in funding the establishment of the first entirely Egyptian Bank and its many affiliated projects. A promoter of progress, Huda stubbornly and tirelessly advocated peace, justice, and equality in an increasingly violent world.

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About the Author:

Sania Sharawi Lanfranchi is a freelance translator, working with organisations as: the World Heath Organisation (WHO), the Library of Alexandria, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She holds postgraduate degrees in both English Literature and Arabic Literature from the American University in Cairo.

Review:

""Huda Shaarawi an icon. A wealthy woman who dedicated her life and her financial resources to the betterment of Egypt. She set up a number of charitable works that also educated and trained women so they could earn a living. She was the first feminist in the country and Egyptian women all owe her a debt for her indefatigable work on their behalf, and thus this book, which deals with the history of this remarkable woman, will appeal to a very wide audience in Egypt of both sexes. Interweaving Shaarawi's life with the history of Egypt, and bringing in new material from private papers, this book is highly recommended for all interested in the history of women in Egypt and the wider Middle East."" -Afaf Lutfi al-Sayyid Marsot, Professor Emerita, UCLA

""Huda Shaarawi was one of the truly heroic figures of the modern Middle East. And this book will not only provide a wealth of new information, but may also change the unconscious views of many readers, especially Western ones, about the nature of the Middle-Eastern family and Middle-Eastern society in general."" -John Rodenbeck, Professor Emeritus, The American University in Cairo

""A very unique account."" - Al-Ahram Online

""By tracing the life of Huda Shaarawi with depth, honesty and completeness, Sharawi Lanfranchi not only takes us back to a journey in the past, but to a journey in the mind, heart and soul of one of the greatest women of all times."" - Midan Masr

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9781784532765: Casting Off the Veil: The Life of Huda Shaarawi, Egypt's First Feminist

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