Women break boundaries to play critical role in Egyptian Revolution
Although the Egyptian revolution is far from over, it is evident that women have played a critical role in the process thus far. In the early protests, only 10% of the demonstrators were women, but in the days leading to the fall of Mubarak women participation grew to represent nearly 50% of the protestors.
Egyptian women broke boundaries and went to extreme efforts to have their voices heard. They participated in debates, took on leadership roles, and shared live reports from the protests via social media outlets.
"Women played a wonderful role in the making of the Egyptian revolution," says Egyptian politics expert and Political Science and International Relations Professor Kirk Beattie. "Whether as key figures masterfully employing social network technology for the mobilization of the Egyptian people, or as active participants in the massive demonstrations that brought down the Mubarak regime, women from all walks of life courageously assumed positions of tremendous importance."
Meet Shima'a Helmy, a 21-year old activist, born and raised in Cairo, who helped lead Egypt's uprising in Tahrir Square. Helmy and three of her colleagues used social media, blogs, street canvassing, and never-ending determination to help influence positive change.
"We were using social media to establish a virtual place, a virtual world, where we could all come together and discuss ideas and do the stuff that we're not able to do in public," says Shima'a Helmy in a recent interview.
To help tell her story, Helmy has collaborated with esteemed filmmakers Micah Garen and Marie-Helene Carleton to create the film If: A Documentary Film of the Egyptian Revolution, which explores women's roles during the Egyptian revolution through the eyes of four young female revolutionaries.
Interested in learning more? Shima'a Helmy will be visiting Simmons to share her firsthand account of how she and three of her colleagues became the voices of the Egyptian Revolution in Tahrir Square. There will be a screening of Four Women, One Revolution, a documentary short related to If.
The event, featuring Helmy and filmmakers Micha Garen and Marie-Helene Carleton, will be held November 10 5-7 p.m. in the Simmons College Kotzen Room, Lefavour Hall. It is free and open to the public.
Photo credit: Shima'a Helmy after the Fall of Mubarak, February 2011
Photo by Micah Garen/Four Corners Media