Social Justice

Jehan Sadat: Egypt's First Lady Who Revolutionised Women

BP World Bureau | Jul 11 2021 12:32:33 PM
Image credits: Twitter

CAIRO, EGYPT: Jehan Sadat was the former first lady of Egypt, a highly conservative nation.

With her husband Anwar as the President, she brought about laws and norms that revolutionised women in the country, despite getting backlash from conservatives. 

Noha Bakr, a political studies affiliate professor at the American University of Cairo, lauded her for inspiring many generations of girls. 

She was born in 1933 to a biracial family. She was coerced into doing domestic training over education. 

She married Anwar as a teenager after he managed to convince her parents. 

Her husband was a household name after joining a coup led by Gamel Abdel Nasser that ousted the British-backed king in Egypt from power.

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After her husband won the nation's presidency during the 1970s, she started doing active roles as the first lady. 

She had helped several women she had met in a rural village called Talla in the Nile Delta region, to become financially independent with their skills in sewing. 

She formed a rehabilitation programme designed for disabled army veterans and civilians and set up orphaned children's projects.

She led a campaign to reform Egypt's status law to grant women new rights to divorce their husbands and retain their children's custody.

She believed that as long as women, who make up half of the nation's population, don't get their rights, the country will not be independent. 

In the summer of 1979, President Sadat granted her wish and issued decrees improving the divorce status of women, known as Jehan's Laws.' 


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