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Abstract

Nawal El-Saadawi is an Egyptian writer, a physician by education, who dedicated her life to promote gender equality. She is an activist writer, and the only one in Egypt who point out the connection of women’s sexual oppression to women’s social and political oppression. She boldly pursues women rights, and demands to change the status and image of the Arabic woman. Her writings include novels, studies and educated scholastic articles, focusing on the oppression and exploitation of the Arabic women, particularly customary rules imposed on women in rural Egypt relying on religion, tradition and the regime. Her writings keep the issue alive.

The books and articles of Saadawi enraged the political and religious authorities in Egypt, which led to an official ban on her books. In 1981 conservative Egyptian authorities caved into the pressure of powerful circles in society considering her a threat to the social order, and arrested her to satisfy these circles.

Her writings had and still have a tremendous impact on the Arab younger generation especially since she always claimed that social processes are caused and led by those who recognize injustice and have the will and the drive to change things.

This article aims to contribute to the present discourse within Arabic society in the wake of the Arab Spring, about the future of the society and the state, through analysis and reflection on the issues raised in the novels of Nawal El-Saadawi illuminating the connection between religion, politics and sexual exploitation. The paper emphasizes the oppression and exploitation of Arabic women through gender discrimination, social inferiority, sexual oppression, girls’ circumcision (Khitan), sexual exploitation, and rape. It is important to point out that Saadawi, more than many intellectuals interested in various aspects of social injustice, emphasizes physical and emotional needs, alongside the obvious discrimination in education and employment.

Note on the Author

Muhammad Youssef Suwaed: Department of Political Science, Western Galilee Academic College and Kinneret College, Israel.

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