Women’s Journey to Empowerment in the 21st Century: A Transnational Feminist Analysis of Women’s Lives in Modern Times Edited by Kristen Zaleski, Annalisa Enrile, Eugenia L. Weiss, and Xiying Wang. Oxford University Press, October 2019
Chapter on “The Silence of Women’s Voices in Egypt” by Gayle Kimball
“Women’s Voices in Egypt and Globally” reports on Egyptian feminist activism to make their experiences and thoughts heard and empowered. The chapter quotes brave women who spoke up for gender equality from 1919 to 2018, in opposition to the censorship of state feminism, Islamic extremists, or traditional beliefs that women’s place is in the home subordinant to her father or husband. Following Feminist Standpoint Theory, the author interviewed grassroots feminist organizers, including a teenager who participated in the front lines of the revolution of January 2011 that ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Interviewees are currently pessimistic about freedom under current president General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi whose government jails activists, even for social media posts. However, groups like Girls Revolution and Young Egyptian Feminists League rely on the relative safety of social media to lobby for equal rights. The Internet and the cell phone provide women with the ability to organize from the safety of their bedrooms, without scrutiny from police or family—a global phenomenon. With increased access to education and the Internet, a “social nonmovement” is occurring, described by Iranian Asef Bayat as lifestyle rebellions that gradually create real change.