On Friday 4 May, long-time staff members who have been doing housework at the residence of late president Anwar El-Sadat congratulated his wife, Mrs Jehan El-Sadat, on the occasion of the 70th year since their marriage.
Mrs El-Sadat told Ahram Online that “to the hero Anwar El-Sadat was the most beautiful thing that happened to me in my entire life. The first time I met El-Sadat was at my 15th birthday party; he was invited by my cousin, who was his friend at the time, and he then asked my family for my hand.”
She added, “the happiest part of my life now is the time I spend with my children and grandchildren at President El-Sadat’s family home overlooking the Nile in Giza.”
Jehan, a human rights activist, was the first lady of Egypt from 1970 until El-Sadat’s assassination in 1981. She is mother to their three daughters Noha, Gihan, Lobna and their son Gamal.
She later used her platform as first lady to touch the lives of millions in the country, and served as a role model for women everywhere.
She helped change the world’s image of Arab women during the 1970s, undertaking volunteer work and participating in non-governmental service to the less fortunate. Jehan played a key role in reforming Egypt's civil rights laws during the late 1970s.
She pushed for various legislations, often dubbed “Jehan’s Laws,” that granted more rights to women, including the right to alimony and custody of children in the event of divorce.
Jehan graduated with a BA in Arabic Literature in 1977, an MA in Comparative Literature at Cairo University in 1980, and a PhD in Comparative Literature at Cairo University in 1986.
She is also a senior fellow at the University of Maryland, College Park (where The Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development has also been endowed). She also published an autobiography titled ‘A Woman of Egypt in 1987,’ and wrote a second book, ‘My Hope for Peace,’ published in March 2009.
Jehan with the staff of the house of late president Anwar Al-Sadat (Photo: Ayman Barayez)
Jehan Al-Sadat with her youngest daughter Gihan (Photo: Ayman Barayez)
Jehan Al-Sadat with one of her grandchildren (Photo: Ayman Barayez)