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In this rare first-hand account of the private world of a Cairo harem during the years before Egypt declared independence in 1922, Shaarawi recalls her childhood and early adult life in the seclusion of an upper-class Egyptian household, including her marriage at age thirteen. Her subsequent separation from her husband gave her time for an extended formal education, as well as an unexpected taste of independence and a critical understanding of the price of confinement. Shaarawi's feminist activism grew along with her involvement in Egypt's nationalist struggle and culminated in 1923 in a daring act of defiance,when she publicly removed her veil in a Cairo railroad station.
Posted February 12, 2008
Shaarawi's memoir details the precious moments of her childhood escapades. Because she was close to her brother, she was able to venture beyond the usual activities of most girls. In her later years, she was afforded many freedoms because of her family's status and protection, the cooperation of her husband, from whom she separated for a number of formative years, and by the movement of the Egyptian government in those days to 'modernize' and to encourage women to be educated and have careers. Interestingly, the Koran was used as the justification for women's equality. This is a very important historical record from which to view the change in women's status in Egypt and the Middle East in general. This book helps us understand the how today's political motives also utilize religion for their purposes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.