Mona-Eltahawy-009Country: Egypt

Why We Love Her: She’s fearless. Mona is an award-winning columnist, noted thinker and commentator on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism.

“A male editor I once worked with tried to dissuade me from the personal: “Who cares about what happened to you?” The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters.”
― Mona EltahawyHeadscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution

Although she worked as a seasoned international journalist for decades in the Middle East, public interest in her work soared during the Arab Spring with her impassioned, personal, up-to-the-minute reports on the revolution in Egypt as it happened. In November 2011, Egyptian riot police beat her, breaking her left arm and right hand, and sexually assaulted her while she was detained for 12 hours by the Interior Ministry and Military Intelligence.

mona eltahawyThis trauma in part led to her writing Hymen and Headscarves: Why The Middle East Needs A Sexual Revolution, where she calls for a double revolution – a political one, which was partly realised by the Arab Spring and a sexual one that liberates Middle Eastern women. Her book shuns the Western gaze and tells the story of the Arab Spring from the perspective of an knowledgeable insider. Mona confronts culture and traditions that limit the lives of women by telling their stories and presenting a rousing call to action. She is outspoken and always has a lot to say, especially on Twitter – @monaeltahawy. We look forward to her next book.

“When I travel and give lectures abroad and I’m asked how best to help women in my part of the world, I say, help your own community’s women fight misogyny. By doing so, you help the global struggle against hatred of women. I have written this book in that spirit; it is my flag, my manifesto that exposes misogyny in my part of the world as a way to connect to that global feminist struggle.” ― Mona Eltahawy



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