Empowering women and children through street art (...) By Maha El Nabawi AL-MASRY AL-YOUM/Worldcrunch
It was a landmark day when prominent women’s rights activist Doria Shafiq bravely led a march of 1,500 women to storm the gates of the Egyptian Parliamenton Feb. 19, 1951.
After several hours of unrelenting protest, Shafiq was finally received inside Parliament, where the council agreed to consider the demands of Egyptian women.
Along with her predecessors, including Hoda Shaarawi, Nabawiya Moussa and Ceza Nabarawi, Shafiq remains one of the 20th-century pioneers of the women’s liberation movement in Egypt. Her march to Parliament later led to the inclusion of women’s suffrage in the 1956 Constitution.
But, despite her many feats, Shafiq is likely to be forgotten in the minds of future generations in Egypt.
The 2013–2014 editions of the Egyptian National Education textbooks have been edited to delete the picture of Doriya Shafiq and pictures of those killed during the Jan. 25 revolution. Shafiq’s image was removed from the high-school textbook because she was not veiled.
But, as the subversion of Egyptian women continues, local human rights activists have become more creative in their fight for women’s equality, representation and rights.
Seen through local street art collectives like Noon El Neswa, the Mona Lisa Brigades and various independent efforts, a new wave of street art and visual campaigns seeks to challenge the low status of Egyptian women by painting them in a positive light.
“They are already deleting female activists from our history books,” says Shady Khalil, co-founder of Noon El Neswa, a gender-sensitive street art collective. “In order to help reverse the effects of this and many other attacks on women’s rights, we have been creating graffiti campaigns with the purpose of reclaiming women’s rightful position in public spaces.” (...)