Huda Shaarawi, June 23, 1879 – December 12, 1947) was a pioneering Egyptian feminist leader, suffragette, nationalist, and founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union.
“Men have singled out women of outstanding merit and put them on a pedestal to avoid recognizing the capabilities of all women.”
The woman also demands with her loudest voice to be restored her political rights, rights granted to her by the Sharia and dictated to her by the demands of the present.
I saw in this barren garden a picture of life-the life I would live cut off from everything that had delighted me and consoled me in my melancholy childhood. I turned from the window with a heavy heart and avoided the garden for a long, long time.
“The human starts from one. One soul in two bodies. We can’t deny one body and favour another body. As far as my spiritual level of experience is concerned, the woman is the core part of humanity. This truth has been manipulated by culture and community.”
“So if the traditions and culture of the Eastern community are blindly compelled to hurt a woman’s dignity, insult and degrade her in the name of cultural unity, then I am ready to burn myself. If it means facing prosecution and rejection to highlight these difficult truths, I intend to vocalize my pain and start a revolution for the silent women who faced centuries of oppression.’
After the Istanbul conference ended, we received an invitation to attend the celebration held by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the liberator of modern Turkey … In the salon next to his office, the invited delegates stood in the form of a semicircle, and after a few moments the door opened and entered Atatürk surrounded by an aura of majesty and greatness, and a feeling of prestige prevailed. Honorable, when my turn came, I spoke directly to him without translation, and the scene was unique for an oriental Muslim woman standing for the International Women’s Authority and giving a speech in the Turkish language expressing admiration and thanks to the Egyptian women for the liberation movement that he led in Turkey, and I said: This is the ideal of leaving Oh the elder sister of the Islamic countries, he encouraged all the countries of the East to try to liberate and demand the rights of women, and I said: If the Turks considered you the worthiness of their father and they called you Atatürk, I say that this is not enough, but you are for us “Atasharq” [Father of the East]. Its meaning did not come from any female head of delegation, and thanked me very much for the great influence, and then I begged him to present us with a picture of his Excellency for publication in the journal L’Égyptienne
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Benjamin Franklin
I’m writing to free myself and free women from this prison. My writing is dedicated to all women over the world. I believe that history repeats itself, and for that reason I am indebted to my namesake, Huda Al-Sharawy, Egyptian feminist, and the first woman in the Middle East who called for female emancipation.
I see myself as a foreigner in my community. This is because my thoughts do not match their thoughts, and their thoughts do not match mine. My community doesn’t consider me to be a real woman because they are unwilling to accept a woman who objects or defends her gender. To them, I am not a woman because I am strong and stand against them. They believe that strength is for men and weakness for women.
The only way to express my feelings and share my thoughts is through writing. In the writing of my experiences and thoughts, I found myself writing this book, Women between submission and freedom. I consider myself a messenger for woman, carrying their message, whether from the East or West, to define the true meaning of being a woman. This definition is a culmination of stories and experiences from different perceptions and angles of life, and I hope that they can make all women proud of their womanhood.”