The seminar began with a speech by Mr. Hany Lotfy, director of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, who welcomed all in attendance and the staff responsible for organizing the seminar. Then he talked about the history of ECWR and its work to support women over the past 14 years.
ECWR was established in 1996, and is combating all kinds of violations against women in different arenas. ECWR’s main goal is to increase awareness of the importance of women’s rights, to develop women’s participation in the public life, and to support their access to the political rights and leadership positions specifically. He presented some of ECWR’s programs, the most significant of which was the legal aid program, which aims
to raise public awareness about the importance of women’s rights and to train them to know how to demand these rights. He also presented the program of small initiatives to women, which aimed at improving the female head of households by providing them with financial aid to establish small projects to provide them with a sustainable form of income.
Mr. Ehab Nagy, a lawyer in the Appeal Court, then made a presentation on the establishment of the Family Court in 2004 and its role as a specialized court that deals solely with family cases. He also showed the importance of dispute settlement offices, which people can approach before resorting to the court system. He also affirmed that one of the most important roles of the Family Court is that it facilitates the litigation procedures that used to take years inside courts. Moreover,
he said that the educational guardianship becomes of the guardian mothers’ rights. Also, divorced women, who have the right to alimony but cannot access it, have the right to resort to the Family Insurance Fund. In addition, he mentioned that the age of children’s
custody become 15 years old for both boys and girls. The age of marriage is now 18 years old for both males and females and there cannot be documentation of any marriage contract if the husband and wife are below 18.
At the end of the seminar, there were discussions and questions by the attendees. The questions centered on many subjects such as khul’, divorce, alimony, the forcing of wives to surrender children to the husbands because of divorce, and abandonment of the wife.