One Step Forward, Two Steps Back? Egyptian Women within the Confines of Authoritarianism
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AbstractThis paper examines the pre and post January 25th political dynamics in Egypt, how these have affected the role of women in the private, public and political spheres. It analyzes the dynamics of the development of Egyptian women’s organizations, and the extent to which these may develop into an Egyptian feminist movement. An overview of historical, political, and social contexts of the role of Egyptian women’s organizations will provide an understanding of their main accomplishments from Nasser to Mubarak. The study shows how the early women’s organizations were directly linked with the ruling authorities and how these have added to the authoritarian structure of the regime. The paper moves to analyze how women’s organizations have later evolved into more independent organizations, how they have influenced independent women activists, who have positioned themselves against the authoritarian power structure of the Egyptian political system. The paper finally assesses the extent to which women’s rights are going to be protected or rolled back under the rule of the military and later the Islamists in the post-Mubarak era.