Egyptian feminist writer, doctor, psychiatrist and activist, born in 1931 in the village of Kafr Tahla village on the banks of the Nile. Married to Dr Sherif Hetata.
She trained as a doctor, and rose to become Director of Public Health, only to be removed in reaction to her political activities and writing. She has since taught in the university sector in Egypt and internationally, with international NGOs and multilateral organizations, and latterly was a member of the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal, that investigated war crimes against Iraq.
Her activism has led to her being imprisoned by President Sadat in 1981, her name figuring on the death lists issued by some fanatical terrorist organizations, an attempt through the Egyptian court system to "impose" a divorce between her and Dr Sherif Hetata, and periods of residence abroad.
In 2005, she had intended to stand as a candidate in the national Presidential elections but withdrew in response to restrictions imposed on opposition parties and candidates.
Her bibliography is extensive, includes fiction and non-fiction, and focuses on women; particularly on the position of women in societies shaped by the more chauvinist interpretations of Islam rather than by the religion's earlier egalitarian promise.
Her first book to appear in English, The Hidden Face of Eve (1980) presents a very personal and disturbing picture of growing up as a woman in the Islamic Middle East.