Her Story ... Feminist & Activist
III. Stepping Stones
WW2 and rising nationalism in Egypt against colonialism
DS publishes La Femme Nouvelle en Egypt (1944)
World War 2 was a tumultuous period for Egypt. Recurrent sentiments of nationalism were rising again with Egyptians of all classes and positions wishing to break from the shackles of colonialism and make the British leave Egypt to the Egyptians. Doria saw herself more as a reformer than a revolutionary and was quick to spot that there was an important role for women to play in this struggle for independence from Britain. She sharpened her thinking during this time by writing a brief paper, La Femme Nouvelle en Egypte (1944). Doria says, “One of the first questions posed for the [educated] women is the safeguarding of her femininity; another is the role of woman in public life, and a third is the role of woman in society. Feminism in the true sense of the word is the total comprehension between man and woman, not a perpetual fight between the two sexes.” In order to achieve this equality Doria believed the burden was with the elite women of society, as they had the power and the ability to achieve change that would benefit women across the social and economic spectrum. She believed that if Islam were properly understood, it would not be seen as preventing women from having freedom, it would be seen as inclusive of women’s rights, as being equal to men’s. Doria Shafik dedicated this paper to Princess Chevikar, the first wife of King Fouad, who was active in the realm of charity and good works. Unknowingly, this would propel Doria towards the role she had been looking for.
- © Rare Books & Special Collections Library, AUC
- Cairo University | © Rare Books & Special Collections Library, AUC