Current Events

Unveiled Women’s Rights Pioneer Removed from Curriculum

More from the Education Ministry:

The picture of a women’s rights pioneer was deleted from a high school textbook because she was not wearing a hijab, prompting fierce condemnation from political parties, human rights organizations, feminist groups and a number of public figures.

Doriya Shafiq is one of the pioneers of the women’s liberation movement in Egypt from the first half of the 20th century. She campaigned for the rights of Egyptian women to vote and stand as candidates to be included in the 1956 Constitution.

Aside from campaigning against the British presence in Egypt, Shafiq also was a researcher and founded literary journals. She was granted a PhD in philosophy from the Sorbonne in France in 1940, after writing a thesis titled “Women in Islam, which claimed that women have twice the rights under Islam than they do under any other legislation.

Little snippets of news like this do not tell the whole story, of course. Is the curriculum changed frequently? Had this woman been included forever or only added recently? How are other women leaders treated? Was this the only unveiled women or are there several others still featured?

All the same, it is very important to follow changes to the educational curriculum. Despite the rancor it sometimes causes, I am glad American education is determined at the state level. But if this was the system here, what would the result be in traditional governorates? What authority should the central government have to shape the minds of young people?

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