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About Zainab Magdy

Zainab Magdy was born in Giza, Egypt, and is doing an MA in Performance Theory at Cairo University where she is a teaching assistant. She has been part of writing and storytelling workshops with a gender sensitive perspective since 2009. She has been acting in theatre since 2007 and has recently taken on playwriting and is now part of a new writing and performance project: "The Odd Ducks". Follow her on twitter@ZainabMagdy.

Articles by Zainab Magdy

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The Day You Catch the Fish: speaking out on domestic abuse

Violence is manifested in so many ways, yet it is always the violence that comes within the domestic space that leaves many women silenced, especially when the violence leaves no physical scars.

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

Egypt: a reality too dark in which to glimpse hope?

The last known message from the Egyptian activist Zainab Mahdy reads, " It's like we're digging in water...There is no justice…I am aware of that…there is no victory coming…we are just lying to ourselves so that we can live."

Egypt: a space that isn't our own

Last month a young woman was mob attacked on Cairo University campus. Socially and culturally constructed circles that control our lives seem to be tightening at a time when individuals are trying their hardest to crack them open. Zainab Magdy explores whether women will ever find a space that is their own.

The 'feminism' of patriarchy in Egypt

Images of women and the brutal violence against them, whether committed by the Army, Police, Muslim Brotherhood or thugs, are commodities that sell a certain shade of patriarchy to the people, says Zainab Magdy.

Undressing Um Ahmad: Egyptian women between the bikini and the burquaa'

Egypt's new First Lady is covered, a first in the history of this country. Just as her Muslim Brotherhood husband has raised more than a few worries on the secularity of the state; the way his wife dresses is worrying many over the "image" of Egyptian women

أنا و أم أحمد و البيكيني

لأول مرة في تاريخ مصر, ترتدي سيدتها الأولى الحجاب و كما أثار زوجها قلق الكثيرون حول مدنية الدولة, أثارت زوجته القلق حول صورة المرأة المصرية.

Egyptian women: performing in the margin, revolting in the centre

"We are constantly aware of our gender and of being watched and judged because of it, so we end up "performing". But in taking to the streets there are no performative acts and there is no audience. Now I feel that there is no going back, After all, there is no text to follow, and no director. It is as it has always been: us and them", says Zainab Magdy

Egyptian storytelling: a vessel for power

Writing has come to mean place and presence, and presence gives us power to force those who don't acknowledge our existence to admit that they can hear the sound of our breath, says the young Egyptian writer Zainab Magdy

Egypt: the two faces of liberation

"The goddess Sekhmet has risen once and will rise again so Hathour can flourish in peace and justice" - Zainab Magdy reports from Cairo as women gather for the Million Women March in Tahrir Square today

The power of storytelling

Zainab Magdy describes her journey as a young feminist writer in a storytelling workshop in Cairo. “Many people ask me about these storytelling evenings and I tell them very seriously about "patriarchal society" which is killing the person inside each and every man and woman slowly. They don’t usually appreciate it. A few sentences can never tell the story of the woman who remains in a marriage because her husband threatens to keep her children as far away from her as possible. But maybe a story will.

Jack in a Box

He liked playing with the Jack in a Box more than any other toy. It had been his favourite since childhood, and he continued to have the same passion towards it until he approached his thirties.

Owner of a Heart

Once upon a time, in a place far far away and a time that was neither happy nor glorious in a small town, there was a man who knew the secrets of the earth and plants and who used to heal the hearts of young girls...

Positive Anger

Being a young woman in a patriarchal society and having what our society calls feminist tendencies is not easy. I study English literature in Cairo University and 95% of my professors are women. When you are a 17 year old who is still trying to find herself and is surrounded by women who are strong, talented and independent, you start wondering why the society around you gives more importance to males and treats you as the inferior sex. Unlike many young women my age it was easy for me to understand and embrace feminism and gender equality because of the women I am surrounded, with beginning with my grandmother and mother, to my professors and friends. Knowing these women has definitely changed my perspective. I came to be more tolerant. I came to realize that our society does not just rate women as inferiors, but there are stereotypical images of men that all boys are expected to grow up and fit into. Those images do not just erase the male's identity but they enhance the ideas of male superiority and at times chauvinism. Being aware of that changed my anger into positive anger and that was when I started writing.

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