Asmaa Fahmi (1906-1956): Leader in the Egyptian Suffragette Movement and an Educator

Born to an aristocratic family, her father was Hassan Bey Fahmy, a brigadier in the army of Egypt and Sudan. She spent her childhood in Sudan where her father served. She was the wife of Mohamed Refaat Pasha, former minister of Ma’aref (Education) before the 1952 Revolution.

Asmaa Fahmy joined the Egyptian University in 1925 under the tutelage of Taha Hussien. Zaki Mubarak was among her distinguished colleagues. She received a scholarship to study in England where she received her BA in history and her MA in educational psychology from the University of London in 1937

A pioneer and leader of women’s education, she donated the land where the first girls’ collage was built, to encourage conservative families to send their daughters to college. The street where the college is located is named after her.

She was politically active too, and was VP of Bent El Nil (Daughter of the Nile) Party, founded and headed by Doreya Shafik, and was among the women who fought for women’s rights to vote.

In the field of education, she was the first female member of the board of Ain Shams University and the first Egyptian director of the high institute for female teachers’ education. Hekmat Abu Zeid, the first female minister in Egypt, was among her students

She authored several books, among which are, Principles of Islamic Education and Women and Education in Islam.

Asmaa Fahmy died in a tragic accident when the car she was driving crashed into Lake Zomor, at the outskirts of Giza in 1956.

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