Egyptian feminist Nawel Al Saadawi (centre) Image Credit: EPA

Dubai: Renowned Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi died on Sunday at 90 after battle an illness, local media reported.

The internationally acclaimed feminist author, activist, physician and psychiatrist was transferred to hospital a few days ago after falling ill.

Born on October 27, 1931, El Saadawi was known for her bold ideas and controversial opinions, as well as her advocacy of women’s rights, particularly her efforts against the practice of female genital mutilation in some sections of Egyptian society.

She wrote many books on the subject of women in Islam, and other issues. She was dubbed “the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World” after the French existentialist philosopher and feminist.

El Saadawi held several positions, including director general of the Health Education Department at the Ministry of Health in Cairo, secretary general of the Cairo Doctors’ Union, apart from her work as a doctor at the University Hospital.

She was the founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association, and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights.

El Saadawi was awarded honorary degrees on three continents. In 2004, she won the North–South Prize from the Council of Europe. In 2005, she won the Inana International Prize in Belgium, and in 2012, the International Peace Bureau awarded her the 2012 Seán MacBride Peace Prize.