Out of the Powder Keg (full report)

And despite the small number of women in the 50-member committee, they were able to preserve a lot of Egyptian women’s rights in many articles regarding human’s rights in general and women’s rights in particular:
Article 6:
Nationality is a right for whomeverwas born for an Egyptian father or mother, giving him/her official papers that prove his/identity is his/her right too, this is guaranteed and regulated by the law, and the law regulates conditions for acquiring the nationality.
Article 11:
State guarantees fulfilling equality between men and women regarding all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights according to the constitution. State is committed to take the proper procedures to maintain women’s representation in Parliamentary assemblies, according to the law, also State guarantees women’s rights to hold public office, senior management jobs in State, employment in Judicial bodies, without discrimination against her, also State is committed to protecting women against all forms of violence, also State ensures the empowerment of women to reconcile family duties and work requirements and is committed to provide care and protection for motherhood, childhood, women supporting their families, the elderly and women most in need.
Article 180:
Every local unit elects a council through direct general secret election, for four years, candidates should not be younger than 21 calendar years, and the law regulates other candidacy conditions and elections’ procedures, under the condition of allocating quarter the number of seats at the council for youth under 35 years old and quarter the number of seats for women, under the condition that the percentage of peasants and laborers is not less than 50% of the total number of seats, also this percentage must have a proper representation for Copts, and the disabled. Local Councils must observe and follow development plan achievement, monitoring different activities, using control tools over executive authority, which include suggestions, asking questions, asking for briefings, interrogations,…etc. they also have the authority to withdraw confidence from heads of local units, and the law regulates that.
The law also defines specialties of other local boards, its financing, members’ guarantees and its independence.
Article 19:
Education is every citizen’s rights, and it aims at building Egyptian’s character and preserving national identity, consolidating the scientific method of thinking, developing talents, encouraging innovation and inculcating the values of civilization and spirituality, in addition to establishing principles of citizenship, tolerance and non-discrimination, state commits to take in account the objectives in education curricula and education should meet international standards also education is obligatory until the end of high school or what is equivalent to it, state guarantees free education through its different stages in state institutions, according to the law.The State is committed to allocate a percentage of 4% of the gross national product and it must increase gradually until it meets international standards. State supervises education to make sure that all schools and institutes of public and private education follow state’s educational policies.
Article 53:
Citizens are equal in front of the law. They have equal rights, freedoms and duties. No discrimination among citizens is allowed, whether due to religion, belief, gender, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political orientation, or any other reason.
Discrimination and inciting hatred is a crime punishable by law. The state is committed to take the necessary actions to eliminate all kinds of discrimination. The law organizes the establishment of an independent commission for this reason.

Article 9:
The state is committed to achieve equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.
Article 89:
All kinds of slavery, possession of human beings, sex trafficking, and other forms of people trafficking are forbidden. The law should regulate this.
Article 25:
The state is committed to creating a comprehensive plan to end spelling and digital illiteracy among citizens of all ages. The state is committed to executing this with NGOs’ cooperation according to a definite timetable.
Article 80:
Everyone below 18 years of age is a child. Every child is entitled to a name, identification documents, free compulsory vaccination, health and family care or surrogate care, basic nutrition, safe haven, religious education and effective and cognitive development.
The state guarantees the rights of disabled children to rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
The state provides child-care and protection from all forms of violence, abuse, ill treatment and sexual and commercial exploitation.
Every child is entitled to early learning at a childhood center up to the age of six years. Child labor is banned before a child completes basic education, and engaging children in potentially hazardous work is also banned.
The state is committed to the establishment of a judicial system for child victims and witnesses. A child may not be held accountable or detained except in accordance with law and for the periods specified therein. The state provides legal assistance for children and may only detain them in suitable places separated from adult detention centers.
The state works to achieve the best interests of children and all actions are taken in that matter.
Article 93:
The state is committed to the international agreements and conventions on human rights ratified by Egypt; they would have the strength of law after publishing them.
Articles of the Constitution transferred women’s rights in Egypt to a whole new level:

  • It stated that women married to foreigners can pass on their nationality to their children, such thing could prevent many problems that Egyptian women who are married to foreigners could face.
  • In addition to the Constitutional text that states that men and women are equal at all political social, economic and cultural aspects, also the state is obligated to eliminate any kind of discrimination against women and guaranteeing proper representation of women in the Parliament.
  • In addition to giving women the right to hold public office and being appointed in the judiciary, this indicates that the whole lack of recognition for women in Judiciary matter is over and it ended in favor of women.
  • State is committed to protect and care for women who support their families, the elderly and women most in need.
  • Stating a quota for women in local councils, for 25% is considered to be a major step regarding participation of women in politics.
  • Making education obligatory up to high school that will result in decreasing the percentage of early marriage of young girls whom their parents turned to forcing them to get married.
  •  State is committed to eliminate all kinds of elimination against women, and even establishing a commission for facing all sorts of discrimination.
  • Banning Trafficking where women were always victims for such activity.
  • State is committed to all human rights agreements signed by it; this will result in making agreements addressing women obligatory according to the law.

4- Women and protests
Women were an important part of the popular movement that participated strongly and immovability in the face of MB, also women were remarkably present during the 30th of June revolution and the great evacuation of 16th of July, there are many examples on that:

  • A huge number of women organized a protest last February at Talaat Harb square against systematic sexual harassment that takes place against Egyptian women continuously.
  • Women organized a march from Talaat Harb square under the name of “Egyptian men cannot be undressed” as they were opposing the undressing and dragging of the Egyptian citizen, Hamada Saber, outside Etihadiya Presidential Palace in February, also the march was to oppose the continuous sexual harassment for women.
  • Tens of women also organized a march to the Supreme Court under the name of “From State of the law to everyone” in conjunction with Women’s International day, to emphasize that it is important for women to get their rights fully among society, many women’s movements and organizations participated in this march including “I’ve seen harassment”, “Foada watch” and “Bahiya ya Masr.”
  • In Mansoura city, a number of women organized a silent stand outside Mar-Girgis Church to condemn the attack and aggression over Abbasiya Church and to announce their solidarity with Copts.
  • Last April, tens of people organized a protest outside Maspero building in order to oppose the way former Information Minister, Salah Abdel Maqsoud treated female journalists, as he used sexual overtones, and they demanded his dismissal, protestors raised their “Shoes” in that protest in addition to raising signs that said”Mr. Minister, the harasser….where would you like to be…”, they also raised signs saying “It is not sexual harassment against a female journalist…it is sexual harassment against Bahiya.”
  • Women’s protests were no longer exclusive to Cairo, as women protested in other governorates, for example Women and girls of Sharqia governorate “Mohamed Morsi’s hometown” organized a protest outside the General Bureau of the governorate, that protest was attended by many activists, they opposed sexual harassment and dragging Egyptian protesters on the ground, demanding that women should have political and social rightsin the constitution, also to stop calls of Islamic political current –During former President Morsi’s reign- where they demanded repressive practices against the protesters.
  • Women participated in the 30th of June revolution from different factions of the society to stop religious fascism and stop repressive actions under the name of religion.
  • “Activists and women’s organizations” organized a protest last August, outside the European Commission at Ga’et el-Dowal el-Arabiya” street to support the war against terrorism, condemning European disappointing attitude, where these countries did not support Egypt’s people during the revolution.
  • A number of women’s movements organized a protest last November, as they were opposing 11 articles of the constitution draft that did not specify a quota for women in the Parliamentary elections.
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