Out of a Gunpowder Barrel

A status Report of Egyptian Women 2013
Prepared by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR)

The status report of Egyptian women is different this year because the year was split into two parts. During the first half of the year, Egypt was under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood via the rule of the ousted President Morsi. And during the second half of the year, Egypt has been under the rule of the interim President Adly Mansour after the 30th of June revolution. This revolution is considered a vital step in the life of every Egyptian woman, as women’s rights to education, work, and participation in public life along with personal safety were threatened. Thompson Reuters’ survey results have also showed that Egypt is the worst country for women to live in among 22 Arab countries that were surveyed.
Thompson Reuter’s report, pointed to Egypt, the country that represents the spirit of the revolution, as the worst country for women today among the 22 countries of the Arab league that the survey covered. The experts said that in these countries, the revolution has fully failed to meet the expectations of women. The same women who stood by the men demanding social change in Tahrir square are supposed to withdraw and play the traditional roles as mothers, wives right after the end of the revolution. And the worst is that they are suffering from more violations in the streets than the violations that they suffered before the revolution
All these violations of women’s rights as citizens and humans drove women to ‘get out’ in an unprecedented manner against the Muslim Brotherhood and the ousted president.
Even though this ‘mass protest’ of the Egyptian women did not result in a direct impact on the Egyptian women, but it is expected that a radical change will happen in the near future. Egypt ranks 125th out of 136 countries according to the Gender Gap Index report that is published by the World Economic Forum 2013. Egypt ranked 126th last year which means that Egypt’s rank has experienced a slight improvement; however, the other indicators (about Egypt) of the global gender gap index are generally decreasing. In terms of the number of women in the parliament, Egypt ranks 129th out of 132 ranks, Egypt ranked 128 last year.
Women faced many unprecedented violation which made many experts declare that rape in Egypt has become a weapon to silence women where the criminals escape punishment in reference to the group rape reports that happened in Tahrir square on the second commemoration of January’s revolution.
During the first half of the year, women’s status witnessed so many forms of violence (sexual harassment and to some extent rape) in the political sphere for women who participated in the second commemoration of the January 25th revolution. Women were also used in the demonstrations and protests of the Muslim Brotherhood as human shields which made the year 2013 similar to a barrel of gunpowder for the Egyptian women.
Despite the low representation of women after the 30th of June revolution, in the 50-member constitutional committee and did not go hand in hand with women’s level of participation in the different fields of life, the new amended constitution protected many women’s rights such as full citizenship for the first time in an Egyptian constitution which guaranteed women’s right to pass down her nationality to her children as per article number 6. In addition, article number 11 guaranteed 7 rights for the Egyptian women along with confirming that the age of childhood is 18 years old which criminalizes early marriage. The new constitution made education obligatory until the age of 18 and guaranteed providing care for the elder women, the poor, marginalized and reserved 25% of the local council seats for women. Despite the political parties’ rejection of the parliamentary quota for women, the local council’s quota is an important step to make women enter the decision making machine and build their capacities in a way that shall make them able to compete strongly in the parliamentary elections.

In 37 pages, the report documents the status of the Egyptian women during 2013 while considering the future and what should be done, so that the Egyptian women can fully enjoy their rights that they are insisting on obtaining without any intention to step back.

The report is divided into five sections:

  • The first section: the political and civil rights
  • The second section: the social and economic rights
  • The third section: Violence against women
  • The fourth section: The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights efforts.
  • The fifth section: the recommendations of the report (Looking at the future)
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