In spite of rhetoric about an incipient citizen’s democracy in Egypt, civil conditions are such that they militate against organized change. There is a sustained (23-year) state of emergency which limits public protest, political parties and civil organizations. Depressed economic conditions tend to draw people away from social and political concerns in favor of basic survival. In spite of this, a growing minority of citizens do engage in numerous diverse forms of activism. Women form a large part of this cadre. Contrary to the stereotypical depiction of them as passive
victims of patriarchal oppression, women have organized themselves for over a century around various feminist, nationalist and religious causes. They have challenged both state authority, and prevailing gender ideologies and practices that shape their everyday lives (Al-Ali 2003).
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