GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
Copyright © 2004 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
Volume Three Winter 2003-Spring 2004 Numbers 3-4.
CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE DEMOCRATIZATION PROCESS: A CASE STUDY ON CAIRO ISLAMIC WOMEN’S
AND SECULAR FEMINIST ORGANIZATIONS
Wanda C. Krause
Graduate School of Historical, Political,
and Administrative and Sociological Studies
University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
Published online: February 10, 2017
This article examines the activism of Islamic women’s and secular feminist private voluntary organizations in Cairo. This research questions if these organizations serve to expand civil society in Egypt and if any marked difference can be ascertained in their political effects. Through fieldwork it attempts to bring in a better understanding of the activities of these women’s associations, which have been overlooked as either irrelevant or uncivil enough to be included in mainstream scholarship. The article proves that both organizations foster not only practices, but values that are inherently democratic. Participating in these civil society organizations these women cultivate experiences that advance pluralistic and cooperative ways of decision-making. They foster “civility”, which encompasses tolerance, mutual respect, trust, reciprocity, and cooperation. Significant is, moreover, the “empowering” results of such activisms. It also demonstrates that these women’s organizations exhibit a wide range of activities that serve to expand civil society in Egypt, albeit through a slow process. Moreover, there is no difference between the two organizational types in terms of their political importance to the expansion of civil society.