Women’s Status in Party’s Platforms Before and After the Revolution

Nehad abu el komsan and Margret Azzer were part of the board panel in the round table titled Women's Status in Party’s Platforms Before and After the Revolution

The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights ECWR organized a round table discussion entitled “Women’s Status in Party’s Platforms Before and After the Revolution” on the 5th of December 2012. 68 representatives from the following political parties attended “Egyptian Social Democratic, Revolution’s Tomorrow, Egypt the Revolution, Free Egyptians, Labour, Free Socialists, Karama (Dignity), Egypt Arab Socialist, Wafd, Unionist, Tagammu, Nassery, Democratic Unionist, and Political Egyptian Democratic”. In addition, a number of lawyers, syndicate representatives, civil society organizations members, media and ex Parliamentary candidates.

Part of the audients participated in the round-table

Part of the audients participated in the round-table

The report that ECWR produced about the status of women in the political parties’ platforms before and after the revolution was presented. The report is entitled “The Egyptian Woman between the Freedom of the Square and the Chains of the political Parties”. The report monitored the status of women through discussing political parties’ platforms and what it offered to support and empower the female members. The report examined the status of women in 22 parties before the revolution along with the parties that was established after the revolution (nearly 40).

The report aims at mapping the political situation in Egypt after the revolution and women’s status in the new parties and whether women’s status differed depending on the political party.

The report was produced through three stages

  1. collecting information about the parties’ platforms and we faced a difficulty in finding this information because it is not accessible
  2. Preliminary analysis of the parties’ literature via their diverse programs
  3. Holding this round table and enriching the research via the contributions and the discussions that will help us develop the idea

In addition, the report will be followed by a documentary book that includes the outputs of this round table and a deeper study that monitors the political parties’ life after the revolution from a feminist lens.
Additionally, the comparison between different political parties before and after the revolution was presented and of the main points that the report included and the outputs that it came up with:

  • Most of the political parties that were established after the 25th January 2011 engaged women in its party work without specifying a certain chapter for women
  • There are no quantitative or qualitative indicators to measure the percentage of female membership in the party except for one political party (Egypt the Revolution) which is the only one that has a comprehensive database with the number of female members in the board, different units and founding members. In addition, parties faced a difficulty in presenting women as parliamentary candidates.
  • Most of the political parties before the revolution disregarded women and took part in weakening their political participation. This is justified by a number of factors such as the political atmosphere that did not realize the importance of women’s political participation because they did not see the developmental roles that women can play; they dealt with women as a political décor that could meet the aspirations of the international reform agendas.
  • The realization of women’s development roles before the revolution was weak, and after the revolution and despite the changes in the political atmosphere, women’s participation did not reflect the appreciation of women’s developmental roles. On the contrary, the positive discrimination (Quota) that women had before the revolution was lifted and transferred to a low percentage of women on the party lists of the elected councils without specifying the place off women on these lists which led to a very weak representation of women in the Parliament.
  • Of the reasons behind the weak representation of women also are the rise of the political Islam and its negative vision of women and highlighting their reproductive roles over their human roles. All of these factors intertwined until it led to the current situation.
  • Most of the new parties after the revolution did not realize the privacy of women’s issues (like the old political parties before the revolution). For example, despite El Dostour’s progressive position regarding citizenship issues, it did not cover in its platform any women’s status with special attention except for its cultural platform. Strong Egypt party is an exception, as it drafted an ideal platform for women that realized the nature of the problem and supports women’s presence in the party’s different units.
  • As per the percentage of female candidates on the party lists after the revolution, in 2011 parliament, the percentage of women on the party lists were very close despite the different ideologies of the parties. For example, the Revolution continues party’s nomination of women on the party lists did not exceed 16%.

After that, the Egyptian political parties’ representatives presented women’s status within their parties and finally two workshops were organized in order to reach to recommendations on how to enact women’s role and how to network between the political parties and civil society organizations

  • The necessity of working on passing a party’s quota to enhance women’s participation
  • Reaching an agreement among the political parties to enhance women’s participation and presenting female leaders in elections in general and not only in the parliamentary elections. Women should occupy the first positions of the parties during the coming elections.
  • Increasing cooperation between the parties and the rights civil society organizations to support women leaders and focus on their trainings on public work and political education.
  • Educating women through the media especially through special programs that target women
  • Putting a strategic plan for the coming elections and training women cadres to run for elections
  • Amending the constitution in a way that allows for enacting women’s role and putting it in the political rights law for a period that is not less than 15 years to encourage parties on having women in political parties
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