In This Review
Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt

Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt

By Margot Badran

Princeton University Press, 1995, 352 pp.

Most accounts of modern Egyptian history focus on and are written by men. This one is different--and welcome. It traces the development of Egyptian nationalist sentiment by concentrating on the emergence of Egyptian feminism, first with the rise of "feminist consciousness," then with women becoming actively involved in social activities, and finally with the creation of explicitly political feminist organizations. Many impressive Egyptian women, such as Huda Sharawi, contributed to the nationalist cause and sought to develop links to women's movements in other Arab countries as well. One of the ironies of more recent events, however, has been that Egypt, like other Arab countries, valued the role of women during the nationalist struggle but was quick to reestablish more traditional patriarchal patterns of rule once independence was achieved.