Some prominent Egyptian men "affirmed that these practices were not sanctioned by religion" (Badran and Cooke xvi). The advocates of enhanced rights for Egyptian women argued that through "the correct understanding and practice of Islam women could regain basic rights, and their families and societies would also benefit" (Badran and Cooke xvi).
Persistent and strong agitation for improvements in the status of women in Egypt continued over the next 14 years, and The Egyptian Feminist Union was founded in 1923 (Badran and Cooke xv). The creation of the Egyptian Feminist Union "represented a symbolic and pragmatic announcement of the rejection of a whole way of life built on hiding and silencing women" (Badran and Cooke xv).
From the time of the founding of the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923 through 1939, the women's movement in Egypt was representative primarily of women in the country's upper and middle social classes (Khater and Nelson, 465-469). Social and political issues affecting women during this period generally were kept separate. The Egyptian government generally tolerated the independent feminist movement during this period (Badran and Cooke xvii). During this phase of the Egyptian women's movement, the harem system ended, and the wearing of the veil began to disappear among upper and middle class Egyptian women (Badran and Cooke xxiv).
The second phase of the Egyptian women