Engendering Citizenship in Egypt

Engendering Citizenship in Egypt

Engendering Citizenship in Egypt

Engendering Citizenship in Egypt

Synopsis

This is an examination of the concept of citizenship in Egypt, identifying the forces that have institutionally controlled women since the turn of the 20th century. The book examines how, and by whom this citizenship is defined, and seeks to understand how political culture in Egypt has developed, how women have asserted themselves in public life and how they have been limited and sometimes excluded from the political process.

Excerpt

This study explores the experience of citizenship for Egyptian women in three distinct political periods of the twentieth century. It describes Egyptian political culture and reveals how women have at times inserted themselves into public life and how they have also been excluded, by political, religious, and cultural forces, from civic activity and full participation in civil society. Accepting that the politics of gender are neither accidental nor a fact of nature, the work asserts that gender hierarchies have been created both in the family and in society and have resulted in inequality in politics, the workplace, and social life. Women’s subordination in Egypt can be traced, in different ways, to religious law and custom, limited participation in the formal workforce, rapid population growth, and a legacy of precapitalist ideology. Borrowing social scientist Amal Rassam’s paradigm, this work considers the social organization of power, the ideological and institutional means of controlling women’s sexuality, and the sexual division of labor, highlighting the complexity and interdependence of men’s and women’s activities. It provides insight into the nature of political organization, the sources of power, and the implications of hierarchical domination.

While social roles in Egypt have been difficult to change, change has come to the family and to society, especially in the last fifty years, not because of an ideological revolution or through political necessity but because material forces have altered people’s lives. the migration of men in search of employment, the weakening of extended family relations, increasing urbanization, improved education, and economic necessity . . .

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