Egyptian Women’s Status Summary Report 2007

Women’s Outcomes during 2007
2007 between Promises Violence and Exclusions

In 2007, the rate of violence increased throughout whole of Egypt, which affected citizens in general and women in particular.

At general level:
This year saw a number of strikes and protests throughout the whole of Egypt, Workers were on strike in Ghazl El-Mahalla in which 3000 women participated. Women’s participation in the different strikes reached to 75% as was seen in Mahala, Kafr El-Dawar, Aspanya, and El-Hendawy. Due to the large presence of women in these strikes, people raised the slogan ” where are the men, the women are there”. Women played a prominent role in urging their colleagues to participate in the strike as is what happened in El-Mahala ElKobra., The recent strikes reflected the strengthening of “the women’s labor role” which has a strong effect on the workers in the factories and mills. Furthermore, it especially reflected that these women refused the financial briberies, which are frequently used with male workers. Women reacted strongly against board members when they made illusory promises to them on condition that they end the strike. Moreover, women are more courageous in demanding the rights for workers, because most women are the Breadwinner of most households and contribute with their salaries to the household sphere.

At the political level:

  • • The constitutional amendments that took place on 26 March 2007 included amending 34 articles. The amendments mentioned women as citizens once but also mentioned them as females. However these articles didn’t include areas that could ensure women’s rights through positive discrimination or increasing their participation in decision making processes.
  • • In June, The Shura Council election toppled eleven female candidates, Ebtsam Abou Rehab just won in this election from the New Valley.
  • • In November, The Election of Journalists Syndicate witnessed a strong candidacy of females and the number reached 13 candidates two of them didn’t continue their candidacy till the end, versus 6 female candidates in 2003. A woman by the name of Abeer Sa’ady won with 1333 votes.
  • • The recent Evangelical church elections – that was won by Safwat el Bayad who made amendments in the church’s regulation, whose also the head of the evangelical ethnic group – showed that women won in the elections deepening the democratic processes in the Evangelical Church, this happened in the middle of a hot debate opposing women taking leadership positions.
  • • Fatma Mostafa was appointed as Chief of a village in Upper Egypt and therefore became the first female Chief in a village in Upper Egypt.
  • • In August, the results of the election of the National Democratic Party were promising as the wining of more than thousand women showed an increase in women’s participation in party elections.
  • • At the end of 2007, Shahenaz El-Nagar (member of the People’s assembly) resigned, and 11 candidates competed for this seat, two of whom were females.

At the legal level:

  • • On January 29, 2007, the Supreme Judiciary Council approved to appoint 31 female judges in the different courts under decision no. 12. This is considered a victory for women’s efforts within the judiciary since 2003. However, this step still firmly ensures the principle of prevention and allowance, in regard to the rights of women away from considering the rule of citizenship and equality
  • • The Administrative Judiciary in the State Council, set an important legal principle related to the issue of children’s birth rights, The father who has children as a result of common marriage, can request the birth certificate from the department of civil status, taking into consideration the father’s confession of his maternity and the common marriage contract (Orfi marriage) among the necessary documents to have a birth certificate for his children who came within common marriage,

At the social level:

  • • Violence against women in Egypt continued in 2007 with the number of rape cases increase compared to its rates in 2006. According to a report issued by the General Security in 2006, that was published in 2007 mentioned more than 62 thousand rapes and indecent assaults cases. In the report of the National Center for Social and Criminal at the National Center for Criminal Researches 2006, showed that Egypt witnessed 20 thousands cases of rape every year, and that two rape cases happen one hour approximately. A very disturbing case was the rape of a child called Hind, who was raped and gave birth aged only 12 years old, this girl’s issue is still hanging and her rights and her child’s rights are not known.
  • • The rate of child mortality rose because of female genital mutilation such as the cases of Bedour11, Karima 13 and others. Following these cases, the Minister of Health, Dr Ahmad. Hatem El-Gabaly in June 27, 2007 prohibited female genital mutilation at all the governmental and private medical centers. Some of clinics that practice FGM in El-Menia, Aswuit, and El-Gharbaya had already been closed the rate of female genital mutilation reached to 97.4% in 2007.
  • • A study by the National Center for Sociology and Criminology mentioned that the rate of divorce among young newly weds is 50%.Cairo has the highest rate which reached 30%. The study showed the main reasons for divorce were grounded on violence against wives. From the study every three women objected to physical violence and 46 % of women objected to physical, psychological and financial violence within the marriage, which then resulted in the divorce taking place.
  • • The Ministry of Justice has published statistic on its website of 1202 cases of marriage by Egyptian females with foreigners during 2006.
  • • There were tragic scenes at the Faculty of Islamic Studies, Zaqazeek Branch, where 5 female students were killed and more than 200 were hurt, because of an electric shock in one of the lamps at the ceiling of the class rooms.
  • • 16 women were victims of bird flu virus. Most cases were women who bring up and deal directly with birds, and thus are susceptible to contracting the virus. At the end of 2007 the last victim was a woman from Bani Swif.

On the Economic level:

The economic scene for women in 2007 wasn’t better at large…

  • • ‘Egypt Drowning in Unemployment’ was the name of a report published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization. Statistics released in October showed an increase in unemployment among women from 22.6% to 24% in 2006. In the years 2000 and 2005 women made 50% of the total number of unemployment in Egypt and the report also showed that the unemployment percent among women (24%) is three times the unemployment rate among men 8.6% in 2006. The report said that this large difference was due to the preference of companies and businesses to recruit men over women, as women in the employment law are allowed leave for birth and child care.
  • • The National Center for Social Research released a study this year entitled “Poverty Threatens Women in Slums” about the female breadwinners in Egypt, mentioning that they work in jobs at the bottom of the employment ladder. For example vegetable sellers represent 46.9%. Moreover, women who work as maids or tailors represent 37.3%, in addition to 11.8% as unemployed householders who depend on a monthly allowance of their late husbands annuity or other annuities.
  • • Another report published by the Rural Studies Center in early 2007 highlighted how the private sector is more oppressing to women in comparison with the public sector and stressed that women salaries in the public sector reached 100 pounds a month, while in the private sector reaches only 60 pounds. The report mentioned that the oppression and persecution against women is due to the unified labor law number 12 for 2002.
  • • Elections in the Industrial Chambers in 12/7/2007 that included 16 Chambers and was supposed to elect 10 members for each chamber, witnessed a total exclusion of women
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