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Nawal El Saadawi Chosen Among Time Magazine’s ‘100 Women of the Year’

Nawal El Saadawi Chosen Among Time Magazine’s ‘100 Women of the Year’

After 72 years of naming Man of the Year, and several more of naming mostly men as Person of the Year, Time Magazine decided to name 100 Women of the year, one for every year since the year 1920.

The list mentions women in politics, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, and more, and for the year 1981, the magazine selected one of the most famous names in Egyptian feminism: Nawal Al- Saadawi.

Portrait by Sarah Jane Moon for TIME; Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo/Alamy

The year was chosen as it was the one in which her bold pronouncements led her to serving time in prison for ‘crimes against the state’.

“For El Saadawi, the sentence was a clear demonstration of the link between political power and patriarchy,” read Time’s tribute. “With eyebrow pencil and a roll of toilet paper, she wrote of her experience: Memoirs From the Women’s Prison, published in 1983, became the basis of a continued body of work that has shaped the discourse on women’s liberation in the Arab world.”

The Egyptian psychiatrist and novelist, who is also the founder of Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and the co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights, is one of the most influential household names in feminism in the Arab World. Her previously mentioned book has become is an invaluable resource for anyone studying Arab feminism.

Nawal Al-Saadawi at the 2012 women’s March. Photo courtesy of Gigi Ibrahim.

El Saadawi was in the company of women that made history such as Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Simone de Bauvoir, Queen Elizabeth II, Marylin Monroe, Aretha Franklin, Indira Ghandi, Princess Diana, Serena Williams, Malala Yousafazi, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Angela Merkel, Greta Thunberg, and many other less known but no less influential women from around the globe.

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