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Nour is a song by the famous Egyptian rapper Zap Tharwat featuring the renowned actor Amina Khalil. The song was developed under the leadership of the National Council for Women (NCW) in collaboration with UN Women Egypt Country Office and with the support of the Embassy of Japan.
This song plays on the non-gendered nature of the name 'Nour' in Arabic. The song recounts the story of Nour, who applies for a job as an engineer. The employer assumes that Nour must be a man because of the applicant's experiences and, therefore, is shocked to discover that Nour is a woman. The song encourages the listener to reject gender stereotypes.
The Egyptian state has long been committed to the promotion of women's rights, regarded as a marker of Egyptian modernity. The National Council for Women, founded in 2000, is the main state entity responsible for promoting state feminism. For a brief period following the January 2011 uprising, the NCW was discredited amongst many women activists as a tool of the former regime. However, it became rehabilitated during the period of Muslim Brotherhood rule as a counter-balance to the conservative gender agenda promoted by the group. Under the Sisi regime, it returned to be a tool of the regime.


Zap Tharwat ft. Amina Khalil


UN Women published via

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Zap Tharwat ft. Amina Khalil , “Nour,” Politics, Popular Culture and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, accessed May 19, 2024,

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Amina Khalil and Zap Tharwat.png


A loud alarm clock startled me awake
The interview day reminded me of my first job
Many competent engineers are striving for this position
All of which have minimal life experience
The last CV remaining belongs to “Nour Abdel-Karim”
An old page from his diary fell from the application file
Nour is the eldest among his two sisters,
He never complained for taking their responsibilities
Among other pressures, his friends always criticized him:
“What will you do with knowledge? What will education add to you?”
He always had an answer, and never lost focus of his goal
His mother constantly supported and encouraged him
But, his father’s sudden illness caused a great burden
He needed to find a way to support his family,
So he worked in his father’s car shop and said he will forget about his studies,
In a few months he gained the title “Boss”, just like his father
In secret, he continued his studies with the support of his professors
They considered his situation and understood his constant absence
His graduation was like a dream come true,
Finally he is a Mechanical Engineer
Then, the news of his father’s passing hit him like a bullet
Because of his constant struggles, he had learned how to be patient
As I turned the page of the diary, I had made my decision
to hire him, he seems to be like the perfect candidate

I will not be marginalized, nor will I accept being idly shelved
This world progresses, because we are both equally walking the same line
I lead and challenge circumstances you don’t go through
“His” role will never be completed without “Her” role

It is time for the interview, I am excited to meet him
To hear more about his life, his dreams, his circumstances
But the reality is that “Nour” did not turn to be a man,
There is a girl standing in front of me and saying “hello”, I do not understand
I astonishingly asked “Is your name Nour Abdel Karim”?
She nodded with a smile “Hello, and you are?”
I asked again, “Do you have siblings?” She said, “Yes, young sisters”
And I’ve been responsible for them since my father’s death
I was shocked that her answer was the same as what I’ve read
A thousand voices in my mind echo: It’s unbelievable, how can this be?!
How did she work at a car shop?
How was she the backbone for her family?
How did she overcome those hardships? She’s a woman, not a man.
How will male workers address her and call her “boss”?
How will I say that I chose a “female” Mechanical Engineer?
Voices in my head condemning the question and the answer
The voice condemns the hesitation and orders me to agree
My conscious reminded me that I had long made my decision
Will I change my mind because she is a woman?
Shame on me! for thinking that way. I must apologize to her.
How can I let myself be influenced by these sick and outdated thoughts?
I came back to my senses and gave Nour back her diary page
I told her: “I know a lot about your life”;
“Congratulations on the new job, I am sure you will succeed,
And I wish this will be a happy experience in your life”

I will not be marginalized, nor will I accept being idly shelved
This world progresses, because we are both equally walking the same line
I lead and challenge circumstances you don’t go through
“His” role will never be completed without “Her” role.
Translation as posted by UN Women on YouTube


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