2011 did not witness the first Egyptian revolution. After all, Egypt’s Tahrir (“Liberation”) Square earned its name from some other struggle. For Egypt, this liberation came in the 1920s when men, women, Muslims, Christians, the young and the old from across the land rallied to drive the British out of Egypt. They succeeded in no small part due to the role Egyptian women played during the 1919 revolution. It was then that 300 women demonstrators led by Hoda Sha’arawi took to the streets raising the crescent and the cross to symbolize national unity and denounce British occupation.
Four years later, Sha’arawi called for a demonstration, the first of its kind, for the foundation of the first Egyptian Women’s Union. But shortly following independence the inspired demands of these same women for equal rights and political representation were denied by the ruling Wafd party. Following the joyous tumult of Egypt’s recent revolution, this scenario is playing itself out again. Though women played a critical role during last month’s protests, their future as stakeholders in Egypt’s political process is being marginalized.
Read the rest at The Huffington Post