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An Egyptian statue, the hijab debate, and a case for women in public space

Studies show that tribals, Muslims and Dalits have the highest proportion of poor. Equipping women in these communities to be employed is a societal good and an economic imperative, writes T N Ninan

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T N Ninan
Outside Cairo University in Egypt, which has become progressively more Islamist, there stands a century-old statue of a young Muslim woman lifting off her veil — symbolically reaching out for freedom from the mental and other restrictions that patriarchal tradition has imposed on her. It is hard, therefore, to argue that wearing the hijab is prescribed by Islam, or all versions of it. In India, the unfortunate trend has been the opposite of what that statue in Cairo, dubbed Egypt’s Awakening, beckons women to do. More Muslim women in the country are adopting more conservative dress, even in places where
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First Published: Feb 18 2022 | 8:11 PM IST

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