Nawal El Saadawi | Brief Biography


Nawal El Saadawi | Brief Biography

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Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi was an Egyptian writer, physician, and activist who was born on October 27, 1931, in Kafr Tahla, Egypt. She was best known for her work in advocating for women’s rights and addressing issues of feminism, female oppression, and gender-based violence in the Arab world.

Early Life and Education
Nawal El Saadawi was the daughter of a lower-middle-class family. She showed an early interest in writing and was encouraged by her father, who was a primary school teacher. She received her medical degree from the University of Cairo in 1955 and later went on to work as a doctor in rural Egypt.

In 1972, El Saadawi became the director of public health education in the Ministry of Health. However, her feminist views and criticism of the government led to her dismissal in 1972. In the same year, she founded the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and started publishing a feminist magazine, “Al-Nisaa”. In 1977, she published her first book, “Woman at Point Zero”, which documented the life of a woman who was sentenced to death and the reasons behind her actions.

In 1981, El Saadawi was arrested and imprisoned by the Egyptian government for her controversial views on female genital mutilation, Islam, and the government. She was released a few months later, but her books were banned in Egypt. She continued to write and publish her works, including “The Hidden Face of Eve” and “Memoirs from the Women’s Prison.”

Her works were translated into several languages and received international recognition. In 2004, she received the North-South Prize from the Council of Europe, and in 2008, she received the Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands.

Activism and Views
El Saadawi was a strong advocate for women’s rights and was particularly vocal about the issue of female genital mutilation, which she described as a form of oppression against women. She was also a critic of religious fundamentalism and the role of religion in oppressing women.

In addition to her activism and writing, El Saadawi also lectured extensively around the world, speaking on issues of gender and sexuality, women’s health, and the role of women in society. She was an inspiration to generations of feminists in the Arab world and beyond.

Nawal El Saadawi passed away on March 21, 2021, at the age of 89. Her death was widely mourned, and her contributions to the cause of women’s rights were celebrated.


“Nawal El Saadawi.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,
“Nawal El Saadawi.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Jan. 2021,
“Nawal El Saadawi: An Egyptian Icon.” Open Democracy, 12 Mar. 2021,
“Nawal El Saadawi.” Council of Europe,***

Nawal El Saadawi

N. B. This article ‘Nawal El Saadawi’ originally belongs to the book, ‘Brief Biographies of Ancient Thinkers and Writers‘ by Menonim Menonimus.

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