Egypt’s Al-Azhar Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb issued a decision on Monday, 21 September to appoint Nahla El-Saidi, the Dean of the College of Islamic Sciences for Expats, as his advisor, making her the first woman to be appointed to this position in Egypt’s history.
El-Saidi, who previously served as Head of the Development Center of International Students, will now serve as the Grand Imam’s advisor for expatriate affairs. She has been closely working with Al-Azhar on matters of expatriate affairs since 2015.
After graduating from Al-Azhar University in 1996 with a degree in Arabic Language, she earned her Master’s and PhD in Literary Criticism later in 2004. El-Saidi has also advocated for varying causes, including women traveling alone and against child marriages.
In an interview with Sky News Arabia, El-Saidi underscored that her appointment proves that there is no difference between men and women in taking on difficult tasks, and that the key to success is confidence and hardwork.
“My appointment is a positive step, because it means that all the hard work I endured in the past has paid off. I am proud to become one of the women who have achieved leadership and decision making positions,” El-Saidi stated to Sky News Arabia.
The decision comes in light of president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s keenness to strengthen and widen the role of women in decision-making, including increasing the number of women in ministers and judicial functions.