Arab feminists have always faced challenges related to the burden of colonialism, accusations of westernization, isolation from their cultural heritage, and elitism, but the biggest challenge of all has been the fact that their activism and their entire lives have all been in the context of authoritarian postcolonial states. This article engages with a persistent challenge to Arab feminists that questions their impact, their awareness of their cultural and societal problems, and undermines their achievements over the years. It constructs a narrative of what feminists have achieved against all odds, within the constraints of authoritarian postcolonial states that have politically manipulated and appropriated women’s rights issues. It sheds light on how Arab feminists contested power, negotiated with power, won and lost battles, but have persisted and still do. A survey of key trends in Arab feminisms is attempted, with a focus on Egypt and brief references to Arab countries.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.