Social reproduction and empire in an Egyptian century

In one of the newspaper dailies, I read an article by an author who criticised the recent women’s renaissance for focusing on the right to vote and be elected without addressing the problems facing women as wives and mothers. And this, he argues, signals a complete collapse of the roads leading to the true path of the nation. 1

Writing in 1949, Doriya Shafik, one of the most prominent Egyptian feminists and founder of the journal Bint al-Nil [Daughter of the Nile], engages with the various meanings of a ‘housewife’. 2 Shafik, who studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, saw that elite women of the palace and the upper classes needed to use their moral and material resources to transform the dreadful conditions of the poorer Egyptian population. In fact, they had ‘a special mission’ to bridge the gap between women from the upper classes and those from poorer ones. 3 Responding to the author of the article cited above, who voiced a common sentiment at the time, she argued:

[T]he primary role of women is in making the life of the people [al-sha’b]. And any demand for rights is nothing but a vehicle to achieve the higher social goals for the Egyptian woman: building new generations of perfect wives and mothers. 4

Shafik’s position was consistent with a new family ideology that had reached widespread acceptance by the 1920s among the upper classes of Egyptian society. 5 This ideology propagated the conjugal family as the elemental unit of society, the welfare of which was necessary for the development of the nation. The new ideology entailed the education of women who would then become better companions for their husbands, and more suitable for their role of child-rearing and household labour, more broadly. While this new ideology was not concerned with women’s rights, it became a precursor for the feminism of that period, 6 of which Doriya Shafik was a proponent. She claimed that women’s education and political rights were ‘all for the happiness of the Egyptian home with its “housewife” whose presence and dedication was always expected.’ 7 This labour, exerted in the production of life almost exclusively done by women, is, in the words of Maria Mies, the ‘perennial precondition of all other forms of productive labour.’ 8 This insight was not present in elite feminist circles at the time, and yet by the time of the founding of Egypt’s postcolonial state, we see debates around social reproduction, or ‘making the life of the people’, become increasingly prominent. What explains this shift, and how can we trace the presence of social reproduction in feminist debates from the 1950s onwards?

The following contribution looks at social reproduction in the context of Egypt, beginning with the period during which Doriya Shafik was active – the founding of Egypt’s postcolonial state – and then moving to the beginning of Egypt’s neoliberal project in the 1970s. Social reproduction, initially conceptualised as a Marxist feminist framework for understanding the unpaid work that goes into reproducing both the household and the labour force, asked the famous question: ‘If labour produces the commodity, who produces labour?’ 9 Challenging the tendency of orthodox Marxist scholarship to ignore the importance of unpaid labour – often done by women – to the evolution of capitalism, social reproduction as a theory made a crucial intervention into Marxist analysis. Nevertheless, its emphasis on gender as the primary means of understanding social reproduction meant that it became a narrow approach to the question of unpaid labour and capitalist exploitation. We aim here to critically analyse the intersecting social structures that come together around social reproduction, building on the Black feminist tradition and the Italian autonomous feminist tradition: in particular Claudia Jones’s concept of ‘triple oppression’, 10 to read how colonialism, class and gender come together at different points in Egyptian history; and Silvia Federici’s analytical approach that takes imperialism as central to the workings of social reproduction.

Focusing on the context of Egypt, we look at different historical moments during which debates on care work and motherhood cropped up and ask what these debates tell us about broader questions of capitalist reproduction. 11 Increased empirical attention to the everyday workings of social reproduction in postcolonial contexts can shed light on the ways social reproduction theory is imagined, and what it would mean to resist unpaid labour. We have chosen to structure this article around two examples – spanning the twentieth century – to highlight how social reproduction was embedded within debates around colonialism, capitalism and gender. Echoing Frantz Fanon, we emphatically believe that by situating our analysis in the colony/postcolony, Marxist analyses of capitalism must be re-conceptualised to account for colonial difference.

‘As if the child has sprouted from the land – that is, her mother’: Social reproduction in the post-colonial moment

During the British colonial period, social reproduction came to be defined by the parameters of colonial capital and changes in property relations, as well as a domestication of some colonial myths about the nature of ‘Eastern women’. This period saw changes in the land tenure system, accompanied by urbanisation, industrialisation and investments in key sectors of the economy. This was in addition to social reforms that targeted the nuclear family as the foundation of national progress through new policies on population and reproduction. These new policies entailed legislation on women’s labour, specifically limiting their night work, as well as a new interest in the subject of birth control.

Contestation over the meaning of Egyptian womanhood during this period was part of the debates surrounding domesticity, culture and modernity that developed in the late nineteenth century with British colonialism. 12 Through the figure of the ‘ignorant and oppressed Muslim woman’ in Egyptian families, British colonial officials questioned the moral and political authority of Egyptians for self-governance. 13 Remarkably, various colonial tropes of ‘modern motherhood’ were adopted later by nationalist elites constructing a new vision for a modern and independent Middle East. 14 In fact, modern motherhood became essential for the collective dream of independence, where the household would serve as a microscosm for the nation. The modern mother would nurture the children of the nation through her reproductive labour. This also came with a new family ideology that changed the precolonial idea of the ‘maintenance-obedience relationship’, where women received financial support from their husbands in return for their obedience and docility, albeit without an explicit legal obligation to do housework or care for the children. 15 While women still did all the housework, it was viewed as something beyond what was expected of them. This was partly because the obedient wife, almost like a prisoner, restricted herself to the home. Accordingly, husbands were expected to treat their wives with respect and to tolerate their ‘overbearance’, especially with the prevalence of patriarchal notions surrounding their ‘deficiency in intellect and faith’. 16 With the new colonial family ideology, women’s obedience came to be understood as an obligation to do housework. 17 This new ideology cultivated ‘modern motherhood’ as a remedy for backwardness and inability of self-rule. 18 Modern motherhood, it was argued, was to be cultivated through the science of home economics and sound principles of child rearing. At the turn of the century, courses on washing, ironing, sewing and cooking were being offered to women across all social classes. 19

After independence, all of this changed, largely because of the emergence of ‘state feminism’, which was one of the principles that defined the new nation-state. Egypt, like other post-independence states in Africa and Asia, embarked upon a comprehensive legal, economic and cultural programme that consolidated the power and political legitimacy of the post-colonial regime. 20 Women were granted the right to vote in 1956, and new labour laws iterated the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of gender. 21 Women were entitled to fifty days of paid maternity leave, and employers were forced to provide day care if they employed more than one hundred women. 22 Accordingly, as Mervat Hatem argues, the state ‘made reproduction a public concern’. 23

Women’s liberation was seen as necessary for building a new, modern, republican and anti-colonial nation-state. 24 Even in the political union with Syria, solidarity between Syrian and Egyptian women was viewed as instrumental to the cohesion of the United Arab Republic (1958-1961). In its April 1958 issue, al-Hilal, one of the oldest and most influential cultural magazines of the Arab world, ran an article celebrating the role of women in the union with Syria written by author and professor of literature, Aisha Abel-Rahman. Writing with her pen name Bint al-Shati, she argues that Egyptian and Syrian women are conscious of the role of virtuous motherhood in the collective national struggle, and mindful of their responsibility in uniting the forces of the nation that were divided by the pretences of colonialism. ‘From the heart of Asia to the African Maghreb’, women are struggling to unite the Arab nation. 25 ‘The daughter of Algeria is standing in her war for independence immortalising in history the most heroic and beautiful scene of women’s anti-colonial struggle.’ 26 In another 1958 article published in al-Hilal, and written by the inspector of art at the Ministry of Education, the author celebrates mothers’ day through depictions of motherhood in ancient and modern art. An ancient Egyptian sculpture depicts the child as part and parcel of the mother’s body ‘as if the child has sprouted from the land – that is, her mother.’ 27 The depiction of the fertile land and the nation as a mother in works of art is a common imagery used by nationalists. 28 Beth Baron and other feminist writers have shown how Egypt was centred in the national imagination as a woman and a mother. 29

However, while the imagery of the mother served the national consciousness, it effaced her labour at home, subsuming it under the allusive category of ‘love’ and national duty. State feminism adopted this metaphor to consolidate the role of women as both active participants in the public sphere, and as dutiful mothers serving the nation through social reproduction. Domestic labour was as central to the formation of a new, modern state, and yet it was erased in the celebration of women as equal citizens working in the new public sphere of the postcolonial nation. The expansion of women’s visible and, accordingly, also invisible labour, meant that dramatic shifts were happening in gender relations, even if told only through changes to the former. However, this cannot be understood outside of the particularities of anti-colonialism, which centred on modernising the nation, with all the gendered effects this entailed.

One way in which we can see these dramatic changes expressed in the everyday is through novels and other forms of writing published during this period. For instance, even the celebrated feminist novel, The Open Door, written by Latifa al-Zayat in 1960 (and its later rendition into a film directed by Henri Barakat in 1963), links domestic work with immorality and promiscuity. 30 The novel was written at the height of Nasser’s popularity, a few years after the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, but was set during the anti-colonial struggles of the 1940s and 1950s. The novel links the patriarchy of middle-class sensibilities to complicity with the colonial authority. While the novel successfully makes the connection between the liberation of women with the liberation of the nation, it fails to address the complexitites of domestic work. In fact, it participates in a familiar discourse that devalues and denigrates this form of labour.

Laila, the main protagonist, is in love with her cousin Essam who has a kind heart and loves her back. Essam gradually disappoints her with his possessiveness and his cowardice when he doesn’t volunteer in the peoples’ resistance against the British in Port Said. Laila loses faith in love when she sees him being seduced by Sayeda, the sexualised and ‘immoral’ maid. Promiscuous Sayeda is pitted against Laila whose freedom from the confines of the family becomes tied to the freedom of the nation. As Laila is breaking from old norms of middle-class respectability through her anti-colonial political activism, domestic work remains devalued and tied to notions of immorality and female promiscuity. When she finds love again in the figure of Hussein, it is tied to her duty to the nation. In a rare depiction of women rejecting hypocritical middle-class moralities as a happy ending, the last scene shows Laila leaving her family with its conservative beliefs. She runs after a train heading to Port-Said full of volunteers, including Hussein, to participate in the resistance movement against the tripartite aggression after the nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956.

The novel, considered a feminist literary manifesto, linked women’s individual freedom to the collective national liberation, capturing the spirit of a new vision of post-colonial modernity where women became active participants in the political life of the nation. While the new state broke older taboos on women’s role in the public sphere, reflecting a radical and progressive shift, it also accommodated a conservative stand on the role of women in the household and family by maintaining the idea that propriety and respectability for women lay at home, where domestic labour continued to be denigrated and devalued. Regarded as ‘unstable emotional beings,’ women could not be trusted with the right to divorce except in cases of impotence or incurable illness. 31 In fact, all efforts to reform the personal status law failed, and it remained in its pre-revolution formulation. While women were celebrated as the drivers of modernity and progress in the public sphere, they were denied their autonomy should they decide to abandon the household or the ‘social factory’ as Federici puts it. 32 A woman’s labour outside of the home, as well as her active participation in political life, was considered complementary to her duties in the household. Showcasing the successes of import substitution and industrialisation policy, the state introduced household management devices to help the working mother. 33 Through the washing machine, the gas stove and the vacuum cleaner, women would be able to balance between their work outside and inside of the home. 34 The nuclear family came to be governed by the new family planning programme that propagated contraception as the way forward for the modern working-class Egyptian family. Through contraception and industrialisation, the post-colonial state configured its identity, and in the process maintained the double burden placed on women in society. In what follows, we discuss the complete disintegration of this regime, which, albeit imperfect, provided basic social services for women that would soon disintegrate with the infitah.

‘I’m 23 but I feel like I’m 50’: Egypt’s neoliberal project and a deepening domestic burden

The 1970s saw the emergence of a new global project, premised on freeing the market from state intervention in order to create economic growth. This project can be read as a counter-revolution against both anticolonial movements and socialist movements that had dominated much of the world since the 1950s. The 1970s, therefore, marked the defeat of anticolonialism, and, in the particular context of Egypt, Nasserism. Anwar el Sadat became president of Egypt in 1971, heralding the start of a neoliberal transformation. One of the most significant shifts was the ‘opening up’ of Egypt’s economy to foreign investment and imports, known as infitah. This coincided with the IMF and World Bank intervention into much of the Global South through structural adjustment programmes which had massive effects on public social services that had been established under Nasser. In particular, structural adjustment targeted health and education as sectors within which states were ‘over-spending’ – the same sectors within which cuts would have major ramifications for social reproduction. 35

The IMF-led structural adjustment – which can be understood as a form of neo-imperialism – is therefore central to tracking changes in social reproduction in postcolonial contexts, highlighting the intersections of empire, nation and gender, and the importance of taking an intersectional approach to social reproduction. What the IMF saw as Egypt’s extremely slow liberalisation process led them to increasingly pressure Egypt into signing a structural adjustment deal, which it did in 1977. The major aspect of this deal was Sadat’s promise to cut subsidies and reduce government spending for public services. Alongside this, there was a concerted effort to construct the private sector as the engine of economic growth, which included opening up to foreign capital and turning towards the goal of profitability rather than national development. This was to have very particular gendered effects. On the one hand, Nasserism’s state-centric approach to gender equality, which was very much built on the public sector and women’s labour within it, was abandoned. On the other hand, the shift to the private sector opened up opportunities for a very small minority of women. Moreover, even for those middle-class women for whom opportunities were now available, these often came at the price of an increased work load given the continuing presence of social reproductive work. As Mervat Hatem writes:

With the retreat of the state as a social and economic agent of change, many official commitments to gender inequality were either ignored or abandoned within and without the state sector. It is the young lower-middle-class and working-class women who bore the brunt of these painful economic and social adjustments. 36

Additionally, the benefits offered by the private sector did not match the ones the public sector had been able to provide, notably job security, long maternity leaves, and fixed working hours. Perhaps most importantly, however, infitah had the effect of feminising a certain part of the labour force: ‘The inflation and migration that were products of the open-door system served to push urban and rural working-class women into the labour force. While most male workers were interested in the better paying jobs of the private sector and/or of the Gulf economies, in order to deal with spiralling prices, women workers preferred employment in the public sector because it offered such benefits as subsidised transportation, child care, and maternity leave.’ 37 It is thus clear that the gendered effects of infitah in the public sphere were multiple. What we are interested in here is what happened to the gaps that opened up after cuts to subsidies and reduced government spending. Because these gaps were most notably felt in the public sector provision of social welfare, they had very clear gendered effects.

To trace some of these gaps, we turn here to Sonallah Ibrahim’s Dhat, beginning with the 1952 revolution and ending in the late 1980s, which explores Egyptian politics through the life of the central character, Dhat, as well as her family and friends, as she navigates new challenges in the face of an ever-changing political economy. Sonallah Ibrahim is one of Egypt’s most prominent novelists and a self-defined communist intellectual. Born on the day of the 1952 revolution, Dhat herself is very much symbolic of Egypt as a nation, and all of the changes it has undergone. As Samia Mehrez writes, ‘This is not a novel that critiques a regime of the past. Rather, it is one that hits hard at the present, in all its manifestations – social, economic, cultural, ideological, religious, political.’ 38 The word Dhat itself is also symbolic: Mehrez points out that when used alone, the word Dhat means ‘self’ in Arabic, a tactic Ibrahim used to displace the focus from an individual onto the collective. In other words, the linguistic suggestion is that ‘Dhat’ means the self; the viewer is in a sense encouraged to relate to the character. This is not a story about an individual Egyptian woman named Dhat, but a story – or a series of stories – about Egypt and Egyptians. The text offers an incisive commentary on how political and economic changes seep into the ordinary-ness of the everyday, 39 indeed, social reproductive work can often only be traced through a focus on the everyday. It is precisely in the changing rhythms and tempos of everyday life that we can see the deepening of the domestic burden following infitah.

Here we focus specifically on the theme of work and exhaustion that permeates much of the novel during the era of infitah, and how this is represented through the everyday travails of Dhat. Indeed as we move from the 1960s into the 1970s, it increasingly seems to be the case that Dhat is always working. Whether at home or at her job at a national news agency, she barely has time to recover, let alone relax. She is in a constant state of movement, which in turn means she is in a constant state of tiredness. In contrast, her husband Abdel-Meguid is portrayed very differently: although he goes to work, once he comes home he spends his time relaxing.

For Dhat, work outside and inside merge into one endless day. Many of the scenes in this section become a repetitive representation of this endless cycle, where Dhat wakes up, goes to work, comes home, only to begin what appears to be a second shift. This invokes feminist understandings of the ‘second’ or ‘third’ shift, where coming home after work – supposedly in order to relax – often means nothing more than starting a new shift, or what can even seem like an entirely new work day. In addition to this – and in addition to her full-time job in the public sector – we also begin to see Dhat getting involved in numerous small business schemes, from selling electric cooking pots to sewing lingerie. This very much captures the spirit of infitah, where entrepreneurship was encouraged and the economic burden individualised. Prices of everything begin to steadily increase, and the flood of luxury imports creates pressure on middle-class or socially mobile families to purchase items seen as representative of class privilege. Brought together, this created immense pressure on families to add other sources of income, despite the idea that this was an era during which Egyptians could supposedly all prosper. We see Dhat do the laundry, cook, clean, and take care of the children, all while seemingly exhausted. Indeed the images that stay with you from many of these scenes focus on the increasing tiredness Dhat embodies, and the ways in which her pace slows down over time. This eventually culminates in her saying, ‘I’m 23, but I feel 50.’ Such reference to social reproductive work and its effects on the body and mind is telling; it is precisely in the body that women often feel the effects of simply doing too much.

One coping mechanism we see Dhat make use of is that of retreating into the bathroom. Several times, Dhat slowly walks to the bathroom, locks herself inside, sits down on the closed toilet seat, and proceeds to cry. What is interesting about the bathroom is the steady decay that overtakes it. The bathroom is not only an escape from financial and marital difficulties, but also a physical manifestation of those difficulties. In one scene in the television show based on the novel, the bathroom is run down, broken, and leaking water into their neighbour’s apartment, leading to a crisis in the family. After a visit to a couple who had been her university friends and who are now evidently wealthy, Dhat comes away feeling even worse about her own apartment, and specifically her bathroom. It is only after Dhat uses her own money – which she saved through exhausting sewing work late at night – that the bathroom is fixed and rendered respectable.

The bathroom is interesting from a metaphorical perspective, particularly in its representation of Egypt’s decaying infrastructure during this period. Indeed we see decay – both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of public services – become the central theme in the novel from the late 1960s onwards. The refusal by the government to attend to infrastructural weaknesses results in a rapid increase in accidents and collapses, and we also see the collapse of the education and healthcare sectors following the withdrawal of the state. This is consistently represented against the lack of decay during the Nasser years, when Dhat and her husband attended well-funded public schools. Their children, on the other hand, must attend private schools, which their parents have to work extra hard in order to afford. This burden affects both Dhat and her husband, but as we see throughout the novel, has especially high ramifications for Dhat who already has an extremely heavy social reproductive workload.

Sonallah Ibrahim’s masterpiece thus provides a fascinating lens for looking into the gendered changes brought about by varying national projects in Egypt, highlighting the connections between gender, empire and capital in relation to increasing workloads. We see how infitah has had very particular ramifications for women, especially because of the withdrawal of social services and the individualisation of the economic burden. The novel not only shows the multiple ‘shifts’ Dhat has to complete each day to support her family, but also the embodied nature of this extra work, and the toll it takes on her. Where during her youth under Nasser, she appears healthy, happy and light, this image drastically transforms after her marriage and the increasing pressures created under Sadat.


Social reproduction was always-already part of the story of modern Egypt. From colonial notions of ’modern motherhood’, to anti-colonial nationalist approaches to gender equality, to free market utopias, we have highlighted why a social reproductive approach that takes empire and colonialism seriously is productive. Rather than conceptualise this as a theoretical argument, we see it as the beginnings of a research agenda in a context such as Egypt, considering what it would mean to think about social reproduction in the postcolony through multiple structural inequalities.

We have focused here on the 1950s–80s, but it is worth mentioning that changing economic patterns throughout the 1990s and 2000s were also intimately linked to changes in social reproduction. The turn towards hiring foreign domestic labour, the increased ostentatiousness of Egypt’s upper-middle and upper class, and the increased presence of ‘cultural traits’ as part of the domestic labour market are all symptomatic of a deepening economic crisis in Egypt at the hands of deepening neoliberalisation. The individualisation of economic traits and the increased tendency to represent and sell labour based on characteristics it possesses – in this case, cultural characteristics – represents a particular phase of late capitalism. Following on from scholarly work that has highlighted the ways in which ‘culture’ comes to stand in for ‘race’, it is pertinent to pay closer attention to the mobilisation of culture in the creation of hierarchies in the labour market. In Egypt, this has manifested in the creation of a ‘marketplace’ of domestic labour in which there exists a hierarchy that positions women according to their country of origin.

Ideas about which countries produce the ‘best’ domestic workers or the most ‘hardworking’ nannies can be seen as producing very material effects in terms of hiring practices and the production of a racialised marketplace. This builds on an increasingly large field within critical feminist development studies, that looks at race, migration, the international division of labour and social reproduction. Through tracing realities such as the ‘global care chain’, feminist development scholars have shown that race and location are embedded within social reproduction at a global scale. 40 Material and ideational movement is part and parcel of these chains, as who is seen as ‘valuable’ on the domestic worker market often determines migration patterns. This is so to the extent that countries such as the Philippines soon began to represent themselves as providing the ‘best quality’ domestic workers, in order to become competitive internationally. Notions of race, work and gender therefore come together explicitly and implicitly when we think of migration and domestic work in our contemporary moment. Contemporary Egypt and the widespread tendency among a certain social class to displace its reproductive burden on to foreign domestic workers remains an understudied development that can also shed light on the coming together of social reproduction, gender, empire, race and capital.

Returning to the question ‘If labour produces the commodity, who produces labour?’, we suggest that the answer is never simply ‘women’. Processes of race, empire and class constantly complicate the multiple power relations embedded within social reproduction. Colonisation and the IMF / World Bank structural adjustment programmes both increased the social reproductive burden of women, but of which women? Moreover, these processes also often increase the social reproductive labour of men, a point sometimes missed in the process of gendering social reproductive work. 41 As Claudia Jones has shown us, capitalist exploitation is already racialised and gendered; 42 women of colour face a different set of economic, political and social problems because of this. Addressing the imbalances of social reproduction, then, means thinking through the intersections of multiple structures, from patriarchy and capitalism to imperialism and racism.


  1. ‘Doria Shafik, ‘Sayyedat al-Bayt[The Housewife], Bint al-Nil Journal 1 (1949); translation is our own. The idea behind Bint al-Nil was developed in 1945 by Shafik who saw that there needed to be a magazine devoted completely to women, especially Egyptian and Arab women. She was particularly concerned with conservative interpretations of the Quran that rendered women as obedient and docile. See Cynthia Nelson, Doria Shafik, Egyptian Feminist: A Woman Apart (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1996), 126. ^

  2. Ibid. ^

  3. Cynthia Nelson, Doria Shafik, Egyptian Feminist, 114. ^

  4. Shafik, ‘Sayyedat al-Bayt[Housewife]. ^

  5. Kenneth Cuno, Modernising Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Egypt (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2015), 77. ^

  6. Cuno, Modernising Marriage, 77. ^

  7. Shafik, ‘Sayyedat al-Bayt[The Housewife]. ^

  8. Maria Mies, ‘The Social Origins of the Sexual Division of Labour’, Institute of Social Studies 85 (1981). ^

  9. Silvia Federici put forward the most complex articulation of social reproduction, which did not centre gender but rather took seriously race, class and nation in articulating social reproduction. This paper very much builds on her work, and suggests that more recent understandings of social reproduction depart from this complex and intersectional moment signalled by Federici’s work. ^

  10. Claudia Jones, An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman! (New York: Jefferson School of Social Science, 1949). ^

  11. Himani Bannerji, Thinking Through: Essays on Feminism, Marxism, and Anti-Racism (Toronto: Women’s Press, 1995), 30. ^

  12. Laura Bier, Revolutionary Womanhood: Feminisms, Modernity, and the State in Nasser’s Egypt (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 27. ^

  13. Ibid., 27. ^

  14. Ibid., 27. ^

  15. Cuno, Modernising Marriage, 80. ^

  16. Ibid., 88, 89. ^

  17. Ibid., 80. For a longer analysis on the relationship between imperialism and motherhood, see Ana Davin, ‘Imperialism and Motherhood’ in Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World, ed. Frederick Cooper and Ann Stoler (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). ^

  18. Lisa Pollard, Nurturing the Nation: The Family Politics of Modernising, Colonising, and Liberating Egypt (1805-1923) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 123. ^

  19. Pollard, Nurturing the Nation, 123. ^

  20. Mervat Hatem, ‘Economic and Political Liberation in Egypt and the Demise of State Feminism’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 24 (1992), 231. ^

  21. The right to vote came after years of struggle for suffrage by feminists like Doriya Shafik who was put under house arrest during the Nasser period. See Hatem, ‘Economic and Political Liberation in Egypt’, 232. ^

  22. Ibid., 232. ^

  23. Ibid., 232. ^

  24. Bier, Revolutionary Womanhood, 7. ^

  25. Bint al-Shati, ‘Al-Masriyyat wa al-Suriyyat fi Ma’raket al-Wihda[Egyptian and Syrian Women in the Struggle for Union] (April 1958), al-Hilal, 60, 61; translation is our own. ^

  26. Ibid. ^

  27. Abi Saleh al-Alfly, ‘Gamal al-‘Umuma fi Badae’ al-Fann al-Qadim wa al-Hadith[The Beauty of Motherhood in Ancient and Modern Art] (April 1958), al-Hilal, 53, 57; translation is our own. ^

  28. Beth Baron, Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender and Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 7. ^

  29. Ibid., 1. ^

  30. Latifa El-Zayyat, al-Bab al-Maftouh [The Open Door] (1960). ^

  31. Hatem, ‘Economic and Political Liberation in Egypt’, 232. ^

  32. Silvia Federici, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction and Feminist Struggle (Oakland: PM Press, 2012), 7. ^

  33. Bier, Revolutionary Womanhood, 81, 82. ^

  34. Ibid., 81, 82. ^

  35. Nazih Ayubi, Overstating the Arab State (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994). ^

  36. Hatem, ‘Economic and Political Liberalisation in Egypt’, 233. ^

  37. Ibid., 238. ^

  38. Samia Mehrez, Egyptian Writers Between History and Fiction (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1994), 129. ^

  39. Sonallah Ibrahim, Dhat (Cairo: Dar Al Adab, 2013). ^

  40. See John Connell, The Global Health Care Chain: From the Pacific to the World (London: Routledge, 2008). ^

  41. Majella Kilkey, ‘Men and Domestic Labour: A Missing Link in the Global Care Chain’, Men and Masculinities 13.1 (2010), 126–149. ^

  42. Jones, An End. ^