Time magazine listed Egyptian feminist and novelist Nawal al-Saadawi on its list of “100 Women of the Year”, as part of celebrations for International Women’s Day.
Born in 1931 in Qaliubiya’s Kafr Tahla village, Saadawi was brought up in a large traditional family with eight siblings.
According to Time magazine, her 1972 book “Women and Sex” established her as a true defender of women’s rights in Egypt, fearlessly criticizing the violence women endure such as circumcision in rural communities.
“Prison was a rebirth”, the magazine wrote in reference to Saadawi’s time spent imprisoned for speaking against the state.
“For Saadawi, the sentence was a clear demonstration of the link between political power and patriarchy.”
With “eyebrow pencil and a roll of toilet paper”, Saadawi penned her prison experiences in the 1983 book “Memoirs From the Women’s Prison”, which influenced discourse on women’s liberation in the Arab world.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, and the UK’s late Princess Diana were some of the many names included on the list of 100 women.
The magazine’s former editor-in-chief Nancy Gibbs wrote that the main motivation behind the project was to choose 100 women who were most influential during the past 100 years despite living in a male-dominated world – where history was written by men and for men.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm