Nawal El Saadawi

Egyptian physician, psychiatrist, author, and feminist

"I am becoming more radical with age. I have noticed that writers, when they are old, become milder. But for me it is the opposite. Age makes me more angry." -Nawal El Saadawi

Big image

Early life/Education

  • Born October 27th, 1931 in Kafr Tahlah, Egypt
  • Suffered genital mutilation at the age of 6
  • Her family was extremely traditional, but her father insisted that all his children receive an education
  • Attended Cairo University (M.D. 1955)
  • Went on to earn her M.P.H at Columbia University in 1966
  • Performed psychiatric research at 'Ayn Shams University in Cairo
  • Worked as a physician at Cairo University and later became the director-general of the health education department in the Egyptian ministry of health.

“Solidarity between women can be a powerful force of change, and can influence future development in ways favourable not only to women but also to men.” ― Nawal El-Saadawi, The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World

  • She's written over 50 books - concentrate on Arab women's sexuality and legal status
  • Her books were banned in Egypt so she had to go to Beirut, Lebanon to publish
  • First book was Women and Sex
  • Made political authorities angry and she lost her position at the Ministry of Health
  • Published her most famous work, The Hidden Face of Eve, in 1977 -covered aggression against young girls, genital mutilation, prostitution, sexual relationships, marriage/divorce, and Islamic fundamentalism
  • Became the United Nations Advisor for the Women's Program in Africa and the Middle East
  • Because of her activism, she was imprisoned for "crimes against the state, continued to write
  • Wrote Memoirs from the Women's Prison

"I was arrested because I believed Sadat. He said there is democracy and we have a multi-party system and you can criticize. So I started criticizing his policy and I landed in jail."


  • Afterwards formed the Arab Women's Solidarity Association in 1981 - the first legal, independent feminist movement in Egypt
  • Wrote a play - God Resigns in the Summit Meeting
Nawal El Saadawi in Tahrir Square
FUUSE WORLD WOMAN: Nawal El Saadawi with Kenan Malik
Gornick, V. (1982). ABOUT THE MUTILATED HALF. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/1982/03/14/books/about-the-mutilated-half.html


Nawal El Saadawi. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://faculty.webster.edu/woolflm/saadawi.html


The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. (n.d.). Nawal El Saadawi. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Nawal-El-Saadawi