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Podcast: Nawal El Saadawi Interviewed as Part of the BBC’s The Age of Reason Series

Lyse Doucet from BBC World Service interviewed Nawal El Saadawi for The Age of Reason series, recorded in celebration of the World Service’s 80th birthday. As part of the series they spoke to women in their 80s from all over the world about what has changed for women in their lifetime and what still needs to be done.

Egyptian author, doctor and activist El Saadawi is 81 years old and still championing women’s rights and freedoms. Doucet and El Saadawi started the discussion acknowledging the women who came before her – her mother and grandmother. She spoke about how her mother encouraged her to write and gave her space to rebel. El Saadawi recounts a protest against colonialism that her mother took part in when she was 16 – she was imprisoned for two days and when her father came to pick her up he married her off straight away in an attempt to control her rebelliousness.

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El Saadawi then spoke about her grandmother on her father’s side who was poor and illiterate, but clever. She was also rebellious and used to lead the men and women in the village against the king and against the British. When the mayor accused her of not knowing God because she couldn’t read the Quran, she told him she knew God better than him because “God is not a book. He’s not the Quran. He is justice and we know him in our minds.”

Listen to the podcast:

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Image courtesy The Guardian


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