In 1922, Sha'arawi became the first Egyptian woman to publicly remove her veil.
One of Egypt’s stepping stones towards establishing feminism and gender equality begins with a woman who was fed up with the societal restrains placed on girls in Egypt. Born in 1879, Huda Sha'arawi was upheaved into the harem system, which by the definition of the word described the condition of secluding women into recluse areas hidden by wooden lattice screens.
BBC Africa has honored Huda Shaarawi on their website, in their eight-part series titled African Women who Changed the World, posting a short documentary about Huda Sha'arawi's history and her successes.
Shaarawi was the first president of Egypt’s Feminist Union, leading women from enclosed spaces to the public domain which men had previously closed off to them. It started in 1883 when her brother began receiving special treatment from their parents, like being granted a better education. Shaarawi was the first to throw off her veil in public by 1922, and encouraged other women to do the same. Thus began a new age for women (and men) in Egypt, where a woman’s hair could go uncovered, which ushered in an unprecedented era of social liberalism in Egypt that lasted until the late 1970s.
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