by Alia Gamal
Many young women living in Egypt and worldwide today do not know that the rights they enjoy are legally theirs because of the great women who fought for them, like Aziza Hussein.
Aziza Hussein (1919-2015) was a pioneer of women’s rights and development in Egypt and the Arab world. She was the first Egyptian female member of the UN delegation to address the General Assembly.
She succeeded in placing family planning on the agenda of the United Nations. Speaking about family planning at the Commission for the Status of Women in 1963 was considered both groundbreaking and courageous.
She also participated in drafting the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – finalised in 1979 – which is considered the main reference for women’s rights the world over. She incorporated articles in the CEDAW which directly used the term “family planning”, breaking taboos at the time.