The intellectual and ideological roots of the human rights movement in Egypt are traditionally traced back to the Marxist movements, the post-1967 leftist students’ activism, and liberal democratic thought, and it has been written upon the testimonies of its founders and leading male figures. A closer study of the history of the movement shows not only that woman political activists were closely working with men to build the movement, but they were also bringing a specific feminist contribution to it.
In this paper, I show that the practises and ideas developed among the circles of 1980s Egyptian feminism deeply shaped the intellectual and political trajectory of the human rights movement in Egypt. To fully understand the origins, significance, and legacy of the human rights movement in Egypt, it is necessary to include the second-wave feminism among its political, intellectual, and ideological roots. Moreover, writing the history of the Egyptian human rights movement through women's perspectives allows to understand the process that led to the contemporary landscape of the Human Rights movement in Egypt to be more and more populated by high-profile women figures, some of which have become pioneers in the field. Others from younger generations, as well as the process that led to the themes of gender and sexuality, have become core elements of the contemporary human rights discourse.
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