Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Susan Katz

Second Advisor

Stephen Zunes

Third Advisor

Shabnam Koirala-Azad

Abstract

Informed by postcolonial/Islamic feminist theory, this qualitative study explores how Egyptian feminists navigate the political and social influence of the West. The following meta-questions guided this research: How do women in Egypt who self-identify as feminists define feminism? How do they use this definition in their activism? How is Westernization influencing Egyptian feminists and their participation in national and political conflicts?

Data sources were based on individual interviews. The findings indicate that although the phenomenon of Westernization in Egypt had both negative and positive influences on the Egyptian women’s liberation movement, it has caused major divisions between secular and Islamist Egyptian feminists. This study advances new ways of understanding how Westernization has penetrated into the Egyptian women’s liberation movement, how Egyptian feminists consider the notions of modernity and progress, and how Westernization has contributed to the division between secular and Islamist feminists in Egypt. Overall, this study highlights differences between secular and Islamic feminism in Egypt but it also illustrates their shared goals and common rejection of the Western discourse on women’s rights.

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