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The Fifth Estate

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at Melbourne City Conference Centre

Egypt, the Arab World and the War on Women

Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy has been one of the most visible reporters of the dramatic events in Egypt in recent years. Feminist website Jezebel has called her ‘the woman explaining Egypt to the West’ – and she’s combined her coverage of radical politics with calls for both social and sexual revolutions.

An expert on Egypt and women’s issues in the Arab world, she’s also unafraid to use her own experiences to bolster her arguments for badly needed change. Beaten, sexually assaulted and detained by riot police in Cairo in 2011, she called for a holistic campaign against sexual violence in Egypt. A self-described ‘liberal Muslim’, she’s attracted controversy for her views on misogyny in the Arab world and what she describes as ‘the Islamist hatred of women’. For her, political freedom and radical freedom for women are linked. What does the future hold for both of these revolutions?

A former Reuters Middle East correspondent, Eltahawy’s work has appeared in publications all over the world, including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian. She’s also been an incendiary guest on ABC TV’s Q&A. Newsweek named her one of its 150 Fearless Women of 2012.

Join series host Sally Warhaft in conversation with Mona Eltahawy in this special spotlight edition of The Fifth Estate.


Portrait of Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy

‘The most subversive thing a woman can do is talk about her life as if it really matters.’

No voice coming out of the Arab Spring was as urgent and essential as Mona Eltahawy’s. Her new book, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, is an incendiary call to arms from a journalist defined by her wit and her power. She is also the author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution and is a contributor to the New York Times opinion pages. Her commentaries have appeared in several other publications and she is a regular guest analyst on various television and radio shows.

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

The Fifth Estate

For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.

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