Young Women as Activists in Contemporary Egypt: Anxiety, Leadership, and the Next Generation
Abstract

Abstract:

Uncertainties and ambiguities are evident in discourses of contemporary women's activisms in Egypt, as are anxieties about young women's roles in them. In spite of a tendency to take the NGO for granted as the site of activism in Egypt, this article highlights the activities of young women outside the usual structures. I describe a "leadership industry" that seeks to reproduce established models of activism, raising questions about the replicability of activist "pipelines" and calling attention to their use as a prop for unjust and inadequate social and political structures. Concurrently, young women's Islamically inspired volunteerism presents an alternative notion of activism that turns away from liberal prescriptions. Drawing on key scholarship as well as my own experiences with prominent women's NGOs and the 2008 Women as Global Leaders Conference, I seek to show how these trajectories help inform ambiguities and assumptions about contemporary women's activism.