Salma El-Naqqash was 23-years-old when the revolution hit Cairo. She felt isolated in her struggle for peace and women’s rights.
“I hate the fact that I have so many restraints on my freedom and my choices just for being a woman,” said Salma.
A year later, she met with women’s rights leaders and activists from over 100 countries at Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) Forum.
“Being there reinforced my fight,” said Salma, who works with grantee partner, Nazra for Feminist Studies. “When I listen to women from Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Asia Pacific, I find out that we are all going through similar struggles.”
Salma was thankful for the opportunity to exchange stories with women working in similar conditions. One of the core principles of the Global Fund for Women is to connect women’s rights activists like Salma so they can share effective strategies, especially during times of political transition.
“I just feel so proud that I’m going through the same struggle that all these great women are going through as well,” said Salma. “It made me feel more confident about what I am doing.”
Salma and her Nazra colleagues shared successes of their membership in a coalition monitoring the 2010-2012 Egyptian parliamentary and presidential elections. By following the application of the quota system adopted for parliamentary elections, Nazra was able to provide gender technical assistance to monitors. As members of the coalition, they also trained six different Egyptian governorates in women’s political participation.
Salma learned a very important lesson while at the AWID Forum: her courageous work not only affects women in Egypt, but women all over the world.
“I’m starting to realize my potential,” said Salma. “I express my identity as a young feminist in Egypt without feeling shy.”