Arab Women from the 19th-20th c.


Arab women’s roles and representation have evolved throughout history. During the 19th century, they held crucial positions within their communities. They were mothers, educators, and community leaders. Notable figures like Aisha Taymur, a celebrated Egyptian poet, emerged during this period. Female poets and writers made significant contributions to the literary landscape, offering insights into the experiences and struggles of Arabian women. The Arab Renaissance (Nahda) in Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria, along with the decline of the Ottoman Empire, accelerated social and economic changes. This period serves as a poignant chapter in Arab history, reflecting the evolving status and contributions of women. My aim is to highlight a slice of Arab history, during this time. For this, I have chosen two Knightlab tools: Timeline and Juxtapose.

Visualisation 1: Timeline

The timeline visualizes the evolution of Arab women throughout the 19th century, starting with the birth of Aisha Taymur, a renowned Egyptian poet, in 1840. The timeline also shows other female poets as well as well-known works written about Arabian women of the time. Additionally, it highlights notable moments in the history of Arab women emancipation, such as Nabawiya Moussa becoming the first Arab graduate and the emergence of the Iraqi women’s movement. The timeline concludes in 1934, marking the attainment of full voting rights for Turkish women.

Visualisation 2: Juxtapose

Utilising Juxtapose, the transition in Arab women dressing and representation is depicted. The image on the left shows the costumes of Arab women, from the 4th to 6th centuries, while the image on the right displays a photograph of Algerian women taken in the 1880s. A clear contrast emerges between the two representations, with the latter image presenting a portrayal of Arab women that is more liberated and progressive.