"I'm fighting against the patriarchal, military, capitalist, racist post-modern slave system. I am going to fight for this for ever."
Nawal El Saadawi is a woman who doesn’t quit. Trained as a medical doctor, she has written extensively and passionately on the realities of women in Egypt, from their sexuality, to the practice of genital cutting, to their deprivation of full social and political equality. Her criticisms of the ruling authorities in Egypt led to her imprisonment in 1980.
While in prison, she continued to write, this time about her experience of living inside the Egyptian prison system. Without access to proper writing materials, she resorted to writing on toilet paper, with an eyeliner pencil.
In addition to her lifetime of work as an activist fighting for equality for women and against political, imperial, and class-based oppression of all people, El Saadawi enthusiastically participated in Egypt’s spontaneous revolution in 2011 which ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Here at the Wall of Femmes, we are proud to honour Nawal El Saadawi for being a tireless and tough-as-nails campaigner who, as she herself admits, is getting more radical with age. Her writings and arguments have changed lives and minds in the Arab world and beyond. She perseveres with a sense of hope for the future which is built upon her intimate knowledge of the achievements of the past. When this woman talks, we sit up and listen.