Time.news – Nawal el-Saadawi, famous writer and champion of women’s rights who revolutionized discussions on gender in the Arab world, has died at the age of 89, announced the newspaper Al-Ahram. Saadawi, family members said, died in a hospital in the Egyptian capital.
“Women at zero point”
A prolific author who rose to fame with the widely translated novel “Women at Zero Point” (1975), Saadawi was a staunch advocate of women’s emancipation in Egypt’s deeply conservative and patriarchal society. With more than 55 books published, including the taboo-breaking work “Women and Sex”, she was briefly imprisoned by the late President Anwar Sadat and also condemned by Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni Muslim authority in Egypt.
The campaign against the veil
Saadawi’s feminism – including the campaign against women wearing the veil, inequality in Muslim inheritance rights between men and women, polygamy and female circumcision – has earned her as many critics as she is admirers in the Middle East. In 1993, after constant death threats from extremist Islamic preachers, Saadawi moved to the USA, to Duke University in North Carolina.
The failed application
Back in Egypt, she ran for president in 2005, but abandoned her candidacy after accusing the security forces of not allowing her to hold speeches. She later fell out of favor with many secular progressives for unreservedly embracing the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013.
Translated into dozens of languages
Her critical and pioneering books, published in dozens of languages, have also targeted Western feminists, including her friend Gloria Steinem, and policies espoused by heads of state, such as the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. by US President George W. Bush.
Saadawi’s death coincides with Mother’s Day celebrations in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. She got divorced three times and had two children.