Feminist Egyptians: Girls Revolution

Ghadeer Ahmed organized Girls Revolution on Facebook and Twitter on the first anniversary of the revolution as “an icon of rebellion” in order for women to share their experiences of sexism and to be able to discuss prohibited topics such as sexuality, sexual violence, or abortion rights. She feels safe to talk publically about women’s rights because the government “considers women’s rights defendants as having leisure time just talk about women, not a threat to the state.” She grew up in Mahalla in a non-political family of lower-middle class workers who don’t own land. When she was a college student in what she says is a low-quality government school, she was politicized by local demonstrations in her hometown during the January revolution. She took photos and tweeted news of the uprising. She and her two sisters took the train to demonstrate in Tahrir Square, an almost three hour train ride but they were required by their parents to return home the same day. The revolution inspired her to uncover her hair; when her parents pressured her to wear hajib, due to criticism from their acquaintances for not raising her to be a moral woman, she moved to Cairo. She worked for an NGO for women and development and then for Nazra for Feminist Studies (the government closed down its office) and earned a master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies. She became so brave she chased after a harasser on the street, yelling and hitting back with her shoes in hand. She’s currently writing a book about women’s abortion tales although it’s illegal. If she put up a paper poster about women’s rights to control their own bodies, she could face great harm. Like other feminists I interviewed, she doesn’t feel hopeful except for the fact that her younger sister is even braver than she is.

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