One of WMF’s earliest projects, Remembering Pioneering Women aims to revive and retrieve the memory of leading Egyptian women whose legacy has been forgotten or been marginalized in mainstream history. Towards resurrecting these histories, WMF has reprinted the women’s out-of-print works and organized conferences in their honour locate the women in Egyptian history and bring back to light their contributions to the cultural scene. So far, WMF has organized four conferences to commemorate Malak Hifni Nassif (1886-1918), Nabawiyya Musa (1886-1951), Aisha Taymur (1840-1902) and Qadriyya Husayn. The proceedings of the first three conferences have also been published as edited volumes by WMF.
To access Conference Proceedings, please visit our Publications page.
“Remembering Malak Hifni Nasif (1886-1918)”
As one of a series of conferences which aims at reviving a more comprehensive collective memory, and shedding light on the intellectual achievements of pioneering women in Egyptian and Arab history and their contribution to the cultural scene, the WMF organised a conference to commemorate Malak Hifni Nasif (1886 – 1918). The event was held at the Great Cairo Library, 17 -18 October, 1998. Researchers from Egypt and abroad presented papers on Malak Hifni Nasif as a pioneering feminist within the context of modernity and feminism in early 20th century Egypt. In addition to the presentations and discussions, the WMF held a book-launch reception at the end of the conference to celebrate the re-publication of Nasif’s book, Al-nisa’iyat. the WMF also published the proceedings of the conference.
“Remembering Nabawiyya Musa (1886-1951)”
The WMF organised a conference to commemorate Nabawaiyya Musa (1886-1951), a pioneer of modern Egyptian history who played an outstanding role in the field of education, and whose name—like others—has all but disappeared from the nation’s memory. The conference was held at the Greater Cairo Library on 22nd-23rd June, 1999. Nabawiyya Musa was the first Egyptian girl to obtain a high school certificate in 1907. She was also the first woman to advocate the education of girls as a national cause. The large number of conference papers shed light on Musa and her achievements to the Egyptian political and cultural scene at the time. On the occasion of the conference, the WMF republished Nabawiya Musa’s autobiographical work Tarikhi bi qalami (My History).
“‘Aisha Taymur (1840-1902): Challenges of Change and Continuity in the Nineteenth Century”
The WMF organised a conference on “Aisha Taymur: Challenges of Change and Continuity in the Nineteenth Century” on 9th-10th May, 2002 at the Mubarak Public Library in Giza. The conference aimed to revive the memory of Aisha Taymur (1840-1902), a pioneering intellectual who greatly influenced cultural life in Egypt. The conference also shed light on a vital transitional period in Egyptian history and Arab culture. This period witnessed heated controversies in political and cultural circles about authenticity and contemporaniety, and the relation between East and West. Meanwhile, debates about forms of modern society, the ideal image of men and women, as well as language, literary genres and the arts often defined ideological beliefs and political loyalties. On the occasion of the conference, the WMF republished Aisha Taymur’s book, Mir’at al-ta’mmul fi al-umur (Reflections on Issues), as well as the proceedings of the conference.
“Qadriyya Husayn and Issues of Belonging”
The WMF organized a conference on “Qadriyya Husayn and Issues of Belonging” on 2nd-3rd October, 2005 at the Greater Cairo Library. On the occasion of the conference, the WMF republished Husayn’s book, Famous Women of the Islamic World, first published in 1924.