Nawal El Saadawi


Nawal El Saadawi is a leading Egyptian feminist, author and medical doctor, whose 1979 book, The Hidden Faces of Eve, explored such issues as female genital mutilation, Islamic fundamentalism, and oppressive marriage and divorce laws. She has been called “the Simone de Beauvoir of Egypt.” In 1982 she founded the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association to promote women’s active participation in social, economic, cultural, and political life—the NGO was later banned by Hosni Mubarak. Among dozens of books, both fiction and nonfiction, she wrote Memoirs from the Women’s Prison in 1983 on her imprisonment after opposing the Anwar al-Sadat regime—a result, she said, of believing his pledge of democracy: “So I started criticizing his policy and I landed in jail.” Now almost 80, she continues her activism, most recently in the anti-government demonstrations in Tahrir Square.