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Category: Feminism, Politics, Education, Girls, Great Women, International

Girl’s Voice: Reflecting on Dr. Nawal El-Saadawi’s Press Conference Call on Women’s Leadership

March 21, 2011

by Dami Adeyemi

On Thursday, March 17th The Women’s Media Center hosted a press conference call to highlight the successes of Dr. Nawal El Saadawi. Dr. El-Saadawi is a highly acclaimed author, political activist, religious leader, lecturer, and trained doctor. El-Saadawi calls for a rebirth of women’s leadership and encourages both women and youth to fight in the name of freedom and justice.

The two hour long conference was marked by El-Saadawi’s desire to repair the Egyptian government, to re-imagine our current understanding of democracy, and to separate religion from politics completely. As a high school student who is studying US Government and Politics, El-Saadawi’s insights about how governments should function was by far the most interesting portion of the discussion. 

According to Dr. El-Saadawi, the doctrines of democracy as we know it should be dismantled and discarded. El-Saadawi claimed that it is merely impossible for democracy and capitalism to coexist. In other words, the two doctrines work against one another as the former promotes freedom while the latter inhibits it.  Freedom, justice, and equality should, as a result, replace the practice of democracy.

Dr. El- Saadawi proposed a new form of government for Egypt, one that does not have a president, but is made up of a large presidential council that will work to change the Constitution and political party laws.

While I agree with the aforementioned idea, I believe that the elimination of democracy as we know it is idealistic. In a global network where an individualist mindset seems to preside above all else, I wonder if nations across the globe would willingly embrace a system of government that is void of some form of hierarchy. In today’s world it appears that someone must always be in charge and in the lead. 

In spite of this, I believe that the most efficient way to make change is through teamwork and discussion among a diverse group of people. We need people with conflicting viewpoints engaging in conversation in order to take into consideration various ideas.

Nevertheless, I was very inspired by Dr. El-Sadaawi’s words and fiery spirit. She spoke with such great conviction that I felt the need to enforce change, even if my starting point is my high school. Upon doing research on Dr. El-Saadawi initially, I was impressed by all that she has accomplished. The accumulation of her wisdom can be seen clearly in over 50 of her published works. This led me to wonder how a woman of such vast knowledge would interact with youth. It was a welcomed surprise to find that Dr. El-Saadawi has established a strong bond between herself and youth activists through her novels and courageous acts against corruption in government.

She also supports the use of social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote liberation. That, in my opinion, makes her very appealing to my techno-savvy generation. If equality can be fostered through the use of 140 characters then why not take part in the movement? As Dr. El-Saadawi correctly stated, “When the law is unjust, we must break it.” 

Dami Adeyemi is a poet, writer, and student columnist at Baldwin Senior High School. Dami is an intern at Women's Media Center.