Back in 2007 I found this rather interesting article on the Egyptian State Information website, and thought it may be of interest.
Women have played a significant role in Egyptian society. The earliest appearance of woman in public life in Egypt goes back to the Pharaonic era, where she enjoyed an equal status with man and engaged in politics and government. Queen Hatshepsut reigned from 1479 to 1457 B.C. She played an effective historical role in enhancing State structure in the realms of religion, trade and domestic and foreign policy. The same course was pursued by Nefertiti, Cleopatra and Shajaret ad-Dorr in later eras. With the rise of the modern State under Mohammed Ali's reign a magnificent role for women emerged.