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Category: Feminism, Great Women, International, WMC

WMC Hosts Reception for Dr. Nawal El Saadawi

March 21, 2011

Last Thursday, the Women's Media Center was proud to host prominent Egyptian feminist Dr. Nawal El Saadawi in her last stop after being honored for Newsweek’s Women in the World event. The reception was held in the beautiful office space of the Nathan Cummings Foundation.  

Just back from the protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, El Saadawi has been fighting for gender equality for more than four decades - And has suffered its extreme consequences. El Saadawi has been imprisoned, censored and exiled while still keeping a sense of humor and grasp of being a full individual. She jokingly referring to another consequence of her activism: being married three times.  

She spoke about the dangers of colonialism, citing its direct infringement on women’s equality as an imperative. Robin Morgan, a long-time friend (and co-founder of the WMC), recounted the inspiring story of how she and Gloria Steinem assisted Nawal's release from prison in the 1980s, due to her controversial feminist writings and work against the practice of female genital mutilation. Gloria had met Jehan Sadat, the First Lady of Egypt (Anwar Sadat’s wife) once, and after failed efforts at the state department, they picked up phones at the offices of Ms. Magazine, and in absolute astonishment, Jehan answered herself, and they explained the situation. With a glimmer of hope, in a matter of  a couple of days, they were successful against seemingly impossible odds and she was released from prison.

We were honored to host Nawal and were inspired by the veteran women’s rights activist to not only fight for women’s equality, but also to be a whole women and to become the best version of oneself. Quotes from Dr. Nawal’s conversation can be found on Caroline Alexander’s article on the press conference call that was a prelude to the reception. Below are some beautiful photographs from the reception taken by Francesa Andre

Gloria Steinem answering questions from our guests

Dr. Nawal El Saadawi and WMC Co-Founder Robin Morgan