Activisms in Egypt


Activist women

How to Cite

Lewis, L. R. (1). Activisms in Egypt. Al-Raida Journal, 15-19.


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).


Al-Ali, N. 2000, Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women's Movement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

___________. 2003, “Gender and civil society in the Middle East”, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 5, No. 2.

Bayat, A. 2000, “Social movements, activism and social development

in the Middle East”, Civil Society and Social Movements Program, Paper no. 3, Geneva, UNRISD.

Clark, J. 2004, Islam, Charity, and Activism. Middle-Class Networks and Social Welfare in Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen, Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

Ezzat, D. & Abdel-Moneim, A. 2005, “Feminist priorities”, Al- Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 747, 16-22 June 2005.

Gramsci, A. 1994, Letters from Prison, 2 vols, ed. F. Rosengarten, trans. Raymond Rosenthal, New York, Columbia University Press.

Hafez, S. 2003, “The terms of empowerment: Islamic women activists in Egypt”, Cairo Papers, Vol. 24, No. 4.

Karam, A. 1998, Women, Islamisms and the State, New York, St. Martin’s Press.

Zubaida, S. 1989, Islam, the People and the State: Essays on Political Ideas and Movements in the Middle East, London, New York, Routledge.


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