Nawal El Saadawi has been the foremost Arab feminist thinker for the past fifty years. Her ideas have inspired generations of Arab women but have also provoked controversy and criticism. She has been prolific, publishing over fifty fiction and nonfiction books in Arabic, many of which have been translated into several languages and have received much attention, particularly in England and the United States where she has been called the “Simone de Beauvoir of Egypt” (2011). Focusing on sex, politics, and religion, El Saadawi articulates critiques of multiple systems of oppression. According to her, patriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism intertwine to exploit Arab women and to prevent them from reaching their full human potential. The trajectory of El Saadawi’s intellectual life follows major developments in Arab society and culture from the 1940s to the present; to understand her contribution, it is important to see her in the context of the historical moment that made her work possible, necessary, and provocative.