Cairo 14th January 2014
Women’s lines challenge the Terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood
And they welcomed the First day of the Referendum with Singing
During the first day of the referendum, the polling stations witnessed the presence of big numbers of women since the early hours of the day, from different ages and social classes, to take part in the referendum where they challenged all the threats and fears that the society is facing in all the governorates. The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights ECWR’s operations room has monitored the referendum from gender perspective. In addition, the “participate & monitor” initiative on facebook has worked hand in hand with ECWR, the initiative aims at:
- Opening a channel for women to voluntarily work, so that they can guarantee a better situation for them in order to increase the public and political participation.
- Monitoring the violations that women and girls face during the referendum from individuals, groups or institutions.
- Analyzing the pros and cons of the actual implementation of the legal procedures of the referendum and it direct as well as indirect impact on women’s participation.
- And the Observations that we received from the field observers were as follow:
The HEC provided logistical support for the judges via voting in rosters (with limited numbers assigned to each one) rather than scattered ballots which speed up the process of voting and facilitated the judge’s job by not requiring the judge to count the ballots and matching them with the actual number of voters. In addition, HEC provided with every transparent ballot box another regular box that contains the tools, paper work that will be needed for the poll (ballots, open and closure applications, ink, and a special stamp for each poll to stamp the ballots, so that any unstamped ballot shall be detected.
Some judges suggested that they needed an assistant with a computer to help the women retrieve their numbers on the voter lists, as many women came to the polls without knowing their number which caused some delays in the voting queues.
The police and military forces were present comprehensively to secure the poll centers and organize the queues which facilitated the entry and exit processes of citizens
- In Giza governorate: in the poll center in Mustafa Kamel school and Mohamed Farid School in El Warrak, the lines witnessed huge numbers of women since the early morning hours and women were singing, so the military and the police organized the lined to facilitate the entry to the polls
- And in Minya governorate, in Taha Hussein school in Bani Mazar, women were queuing in front of the school very early in the morning and the polls opened on time, the majority of the citizens knew their numbers’ on the voter lists before heading to the polls and there was cooperation between the security forces and the observers inside the polls
- In addition, in the Religious institute poll center in Bani Mazar, there was good organization whereby there were mixed polls for men and women, people were cooperative and the polls were organized and there were spaces for the elders to facilitate their entry and exit from the polls
- In Assuit governorate: in the polls of Mosha primary school for boys no. 116 and 117, the polls opened at 8 AM and women voted smoothly, but the turnover rate from women was weak in the early morning and was limited to the working women
There was a necessity to consider the Gender Aspect in Organizing the Polls:
As the operations room received complains that stated that women’s polls were located in the 2nd and 3rd floors of the buildings which made it hard for the old women and those who accompanied their children with them to make it to the second and third floors. For example in Alexandria (El Agamy), Hanoveil (poll no. 3332 – Hafsa School and Mohamed Bekhet School) where women’s only poll was in the third floor.
- For example Minya governorate (El Galaa school in Bani Mazar-poll no. 158) witnessed late opening of the poll due to administrative problems, as the place was not prepared and there was no cooperation from the school and this resulted in the late opening of the polls and therefore the polls were crowded with voters.
Instructing the Voters:
- For example, in Assuit governorate (second constituency), Taha Hanafy El Meleegy school (polls no. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18), at around noon, women voters were in the polls and they were instructed through the distribution of greeting cards in the occasion of the new Hijri year (on one side) and on the other side (2014 constitution, the people’s document, Yes to Egypt’s constitution)
- In addition to Watany’s campaign that broadcast national songs to encourage the voters to say yes
- In Alexandria governorate: it was noted that the Egyptian company for Maritime in the Gomrok constituency polls no. 60, 61, 62, there was limited turnover from female voters in the morning
- And the operations room of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights will keep on monitoring the referendum
ECWR’s operations room phone numbers
25282178 /02 – 25282175 /02 (landline):
01003447999 – 01285921695 – 01225581357Mobile numbers:
And you can contact us on our facebook page