The Free Voice of Egypt – Nawal El Saadawi

Konstanze Burkard

Portrait of Nawal el-Saadawi (83), who ranks among the most prominent and best-known feminists in the Arab world. Saadawi’s struggle against female genital mutilation, the rules relating to marriage in Islam, and Islamic fundamentalism got her into trouble at several occasions.

Nawal el-Saadawi is one of the most influential advocates of the Egyptian women’s movement. Her oeuvre as a writer covers over fifty books, plays and short stories, most of which deal with violence against women, sexual oppression and poverty in the Arab world. Apart from being a writer and a political activist, Saadawi works as a gynaecologist and psychiatrist. Her Cairo apartment, which is filled with prizes, books and souvenirs, also serves as a small clinic.

The documentary marks the main events in the life of this special woman, who jeopardised her physical integrity to express her convictions. Former Egyptian president Sadat had her imprisoned in 1981 for ‘offences against the state’. She kept pursuing her cause, despite the numerous death threats from fundamentalists and the dreadful circumstances in the women’s prison. Saadawi was also prominently involved in the protests that took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2011.


Konstanze Burkard
Country of production
52 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English
Production company