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Women’s rights activism in post-Jan25 Egypt: Combating the Shadow of the First Lady Syndrome in the Arab world

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[On March 8, 2011, Egyptian women took to the streets to celebrate International Women’s Day, in response to a call that was sent out on Facebook for a million-person women’s march. Since January 25, 2011, Egypt had witnessed a momentous transformation in protest culture and power, wherein millions of people took to the streets to demand their political rights. Surprising to many, though, was the marked hostility and violence that was unleashed against women protesters, as they were harassed and shouted at by groups of men who gathered around them. They were accused of following western agendas, and of going against cultural values. Among the many reasons for this turn of events, this essay argues that one of the key obstacles that women’s rights activists will face in the months and years to come is a prevalent public perception that associates women’s rights activists and their activities with the ex-First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, and her entourage—that is, with corrupt regime politics in collusion with imperialist agendas., On March 8, 2011, Egyptian women took to the streets to celebrate International Women's Day, in response to a call that was sent out on Facebook for a million-person women's march. Since January 25, 2011, Egypt had witnessed a momentous transformation in protest culture and power, wherein millions of people took to the streets to demand their political rights. Surprising to many, though, was the marked hostility and violence that was unleashed against women protesters, as they were harassed and shouted at by groups of men who gathered around them. They were accused of following western agendas, and of going against cultural values. Among the many reasons for this turn of events, this essay argues that one of the key obstacles that women's rights activists will face in the months and years to come is a prevalent public perception that associates women's rights activists and their activities with the ex-First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, and her entourage—that is, with corrupt regime politics in collusion with imperialist agendas.]

10.1163/187633711X591440
/content/journals/10.1163/187633711x591440
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/content/journals/10.1163/187633711x591440
2011-03-25
2017-11-21

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