In the summer of 1952, the Society of Free Officers, led by General Mohammed Neguib forced King Farouk to abdicate, and assumed control of the Egyptian government. A republic was proclaimed in the summer of the following year, with Neguib as the first president and premier. In 1954, Colonel Gamel Abdul Nasser, also a member of the Society of Free Officers, won a power struggle with Neguib, and assumed the officer of premier. Since this time, Egypt has been a politically independent nation. It was not until the time of the reign of Sadat, however, that Egyptian law was changed to promote the status and rights of women. In 1979, Egypt's Personal Status Law was changed to provide women with fixed rights in the event she is divorced by her husband, place practical constraints on the right of a man to enter into multiple marriages, provide women with an ability to divorce their husbands, and confirm a woman's right to work outside the home (Hussein 229-232). Unfortunately, in response to demands from Islamic fundamentalists, some of these changes were rescinded in 1985 when the personal status law was changed again (Hooglund 129). The 1985 changes did not affect a woman's right to work outside the home, but women did lose an automatic right to a divorce in the event a husband married a second woman (Hooglund 129).
Hussein, Aziza. "Recent Amendments to Egypt's Personal Status Law." In Women and the Family in the Middle East: New Voice of Change. Fernea, Elizabeth W. (Ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988, 229-232.
Mohsen, Safia K. "New Images, Old Reflections: Working Middle-Class Women in Egypt." In Women and the Family in the Middle East: New Voice of Change. Fernea, Elizabeth W. (Ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988, 56-71.
Badran and Cooke's introduction to this book traces the course of Arab feminism from the late-nineteenth century through the late-1980s. The issues, the contexts, the players, and the res