SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Horsey, Glynis A. (1988) An introduction to the written works of Nawal al-Sa'dawi. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

PDF - Submitted Version
Download (24MB) | Preview


Nawal al-Sa'dawi is an Egyptian doctor and feminist writer whose sociological works have had a great impact on her society and the Arab world. This thesis sets out to trace how Sa'dawi's work as a doctor during the 1960s brought her into such close contact with the sufferings of women and girls in her society, that she set out to try and discover the reasons for such widespread oppression of her own sex. Each of Sa'dawi's factual works is treated separately here in chronological order. These works show Sa'dawi protesting against sexual and social abuses of women, against female circumcision and double standards of morality in her society. When she tries to expose the root causes of Arab women's oppression, she points the finger of blame at patriarchal society, economic pressures and misguided interpretations of psychology and religion. Sa'dawi is prevented from speaking out frankly against political or religious institutions because of the threat of censorship which carries with it the danger of imprisonment and persecution. Apart from a critical examination of her factual books, this thesis also contains a survey of her fictional works, for Sa'dawi has also achieved success in the field of literature with her short stories and novels. Her fiction frequently brings to the reader typical dilemmas facing women in Egyptian society. Again each work is discussed individually here. Since Sa'dawi is still very active as a writer, I have had to confine my thesis to covering her output up to 1986, which means that nineteen works are discussed in detail. The tremendous popularity of Sa'dawi and her written works rests largely on her commitment to helping her compatriots achieve balanced healthy lives from the psychological, physical and sexual dimensions, through frank discussions of highly controversial subjects. During the 1980s, Sa'dawi's fame has spread to the West where she is rightly regarded as the leading spokeswoman for Arab feminism.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:11

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item