Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women, Policy Advocates
For Mozn Hassan, a sense of alienation was a natural part of the landscape growing up Egyptian in Saudi Arabia. The imported labor force was a mix of nationalities, and groups tended to stay with their own. Feelings of isolation linger today, as Mozn works to advance women’s rights and leadership in Egypt.
This “otherness” intensified for Mozn when the family moved back to Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1990s. Her parents returned to comfortable lives in academia and politics. Home was a welcoming place for debate and discussion. But all around her, Mozn saw a different reality for the rest of Egyptian society, especially for women.
“We were always talking about equality in my family,” notes Mozn. “When I was young, my father bought me a book — a diary of one of the most important feminists. He gave it to me and said, ‘Read this to know that there are other Egyptian women who are thinking like you.’”
Class disparities and gender discrimination witnessed as a foreigner in the Gulf later helped define Mozn’s political consciousness at university. There, amid the swirl of new ideas and nascent activism, Mozn’s lifelong passion for women’s rights was ignited.
While earning multiple diplomas and a master’s degree in civil society and international human rights law, Mozn nurtured a young feminist movement, advocating for women’s political participation and democratization. This laid the groundwork for the Nazra Institute for Feminist Studies in Cairo, Egypt, where she is currently founding director.
During Egypt’s popular revolution that began on January 25, 2011, Mozn remained in Tahrir Square day and night to call for freedom and democracy for all Egyptians.
The end of the Mubarak regime on Februa