Out of a Gunpowder barrel
Egyptian Women’s Status Report in 2013
By The Egyptian Center for Women’s rights
Women’s Status Report for this year will be different somehow, because Egypt was under the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) command, where the ousted President, Mohamed Morsi ruled the country at the first part of 2013, then Egypt became ruled by the Interim President, Judge Adly Mansour, after the 30th of June revolution, which is considered to be a milestone in every Egyptian Woman’s life, as women were subject to continuous threats regarding her rights in education, work, participation in public life and personal security, also results of the Thomson Reuters Foundation poll about life conditions of women in 22 countries showed that Egypt is the worst for women to live in.
The report stated that Egypt, the sole of revolution, is the worst between the 22 countries of the Arab league that was included in the poll;experts say that Egypt today is the worst country regarding women’s expectations after the revolution, women who were standing side by side with men during the revolution, demanding social changes, at Tahrir square, they are expected to go back to their roles being mothers and wives as they used to do during the revolution, and they are now suffering much more than they used to suffer before the revolution.
All these unfair conditions contributed in women’s unprecedented protests against the MB and the ousted President.
These protests did not change much about Egyptian women’s conditions, as Egypt still comes in the 125th rank between 136 countries in the discrimination between the two genders issued by theWorld Economic Forum for 2013, and although Egypt had a progress in this forum compared to the 2012, as Egypt came in the 126th rank in 2012, but also the degree of discrimination against women is decreasing.
As for the number of women in the Egyptian Parliament, came in the 129th rank among 132 countries in 2013, which is one rank higher than the precedent year.
Also women were subject to unprecedented violence which caused many experts to say that rape became a weapon used in Egypt to silence women, in addition, rapists get away with what they do, this refers to group rape reports that took place on the second annual celebration of the January revolution which took place in Tahrir Square.
Women also sufferedmany aspects of violence in the political field during the first half of this year,which included sexual harassment that could reach rape sometimes for those women who participated in the second anniversary 25th of January revolution; also women were used as human shields in MB protests.
Although women’s representation in the 50-member committee was not equivalent to women’s participation in many aspects of life, the new constitution that had many articles that protected many women’s rights, such as full citizenship, which came in the Egyptian constitution for the first time in history, where the constitution states that Egyptian women are entitled to inherit their nationality to their children according to the 6th article, also the 11th article of the constitution gave women seven rights, in addition to specifying the legal age for marriage to be 18 years old, this makes early marriage for women to be considered as a crime, also it made education until the age of 18 obligatory, in addition to obligatory care for old women and the poorest women, preserving seats for women at local councils of cities with a percentage of 25 percent, this percentage came after a struggle with political powers who refused to allocate a quota for women in the Parliament, but despite that, having such percentage for women in local councils gives a great chance for women to start impacting decisions and making women accountable to compete in Parliamentary elections.
Through the forthcoming report we hereby review Egyptian women’s conditions in 2013
The report is divided into five sections, these are:
1- civil and political rights
2- Social and economic rights
3- Violence against women
4- Some efforts of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights
5- Report’s recommendations (Looking forward to the future)
First Section: civil and political rights
Women’s conditions regarding civil and political rights witnessed a withdraw worldwide, especially last year, as for Egypt, it came in the 128th rank between 135 countries regarding political empowerment of women in accordance with the Gender Gap Report issued by the World Economic Forum in 2013
In 2012, Egypt came in the 125th rank at the same report, this indicates less women empowerment in 2013.
Data of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in July, 2013 indicates the huge decrease in women’s empowerment in the Parliament, as Egypt came in the 139th place between 189 countries with a percentage of 2 percent for women’s representation in the Parliament, while Rwanda came in first place with a percentage of 56.3 percent for women, South Africa comes in eighth place with a percentage of 42.3 percent, Mozambique comes in the 12th rank with a percentage of 39.2 percent and Algeria comes in the 27th place with a percentage of 31.6 percent of the Algerian Parliament are women.
The following table shows the order of some countries in terms of women’s political participation according to the report of the International Parliamentary Union
Rank country Elections date Number of Parliamentary members Number of women Women’s representation percentage
1 Rwanda 9 2008 80 45 56.3%
6 Senegal 7 2012 150 64 42.7%
8 South Africa 4 2009 400 169 42.3%
12 Mozambique 10 2009 250 98 39.2%
21 Uganda 2 2011 386 135 35.0%
27 Algeria 5 2012 462 146 31.6%
36 Afghanistan 9 2010 249 69 27.7%
38 Tunisia 10 2011 217 58 26.7%
40 South Sudan 8 2011 332 88 26.5%
43 Iraq 3 2010 325 82 25.2%
46 Sudan 4 2010 354 87 24.6%
74 Kenya 3 2013 350 65 18.6%
78 United Arab Emirates 9 2011 40 7 17.5%
80 Morocco 11 2011 395 67 17.0%
83 Libya 7 2012 200 33 16.5%
95 Somalia 8 2012 275 38 13.8%
103 Jordan 1 2013 148 18 12.2%
129 Kuwait 12 2012 65 4 6.2%
136 Iran 5 2012 290 9 3.1%
139 Egypt 11 2011 508 10 2.0%
140 Oman 10 2011 84 1 1.2%
141 Yemen 4 2003 301 1 0.3%
142 Qatar 7 2010 35 0 0.0%
About guarantees taken by these countries to make sure that women are fairly represented, some of these countries electoral laws like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda allocated a Quota for women, other countries like Rwanda, Somalia, and South Sudan’s constitutions state that there must be a Quota for women. It is worth mentioning that countries with high rates of women’s representation in the Parliament allocated a certain number of seats for women in their Parliaments, while countries like Egypt, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia settled for allocating a Quota for candidates (without specifying women’s order in a electoral list for political parties in elections, this lead to declination of women’s presence in the Parliament from 12 percent in the 2010 Parliament in Egypt to only two percent in the 2011/2012 Parliament)
If Egyptian women’s participation in political life was compared to women’s participation in political life in the Arab World, International Parliamentary Union reports last March indicate that Egyptian women’s participation is very low compared to other women in Arab countries’ participation.
The following diagram shows
A comparison between women’s representation in the dissolved Egyptian Parliament and representation in other Arab countries’ Parliaments
The previous diagram shows that Algeria comes first regarding women’s representation in the Parliament with a percentage of 31.6 %, followed by Tunisia with a percentage of 26.7 %, then South Sudan with 26.5 %, Iraq with 25.2 %, followed by Sudan with 24.6 %, Saudi Arabia 19.9%, United Arab Emirates 17.5 %, Morocco of 17 %, Libya with 16.5 %, then Jordan with 12.2 %, then Bahrain by 10%, then Kuwait with 6.2 %, then Egypt with 2 %, Oman with 1.2 %, Then Yemen with 0.3 % and finally Qatar with 0 %.
1- Women and dissolved Shura Council
Shura Council of 2012-2013had a percentage of 4.4 % of women among its members, which were 12 members, 5 were elected and 7 were appointed out of a total number of members of 270.
The following figure shows the party affiliations of female members within the Shura Council.
The following figure shows the average use of Parliamentary members for Parliamentary oversight during the 4 months of the Parliament’s period
The following figure illustrates the Party affiliations of the female members of the Parliament who used Parliamentary oversight most effectively
2- Women and leadership positions
2013 witnessed a decrease in the percentage of women reaching senior positions and being managers, Egypt has ranked 101 between 136 countries, according to the Gender Gap report of the World Economic Forum in 2013. This is even lower than Egypt’s rank last year which was number 99.
Women at the Cabinet
In 2013, two Cabinets were formed; the First Cabinetwas formed in last May, during the ousted PresidentMorsi’s reign, this Cabinet had 34 Ministries with only two women as Ministers, Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs, Dr. Nagwa Khalil and Minister of Scientific Research, Dr. Nadia Zakhary, this indicates that women’s representation in the MB government was 5.8 %, these two ministers were appointed during the SCAF reign, which means that Former President Morsi did not appoint any female minister, despite his continuous allegations of him being with women’s rights.
The Second Cabinetwas last August, and although it was announced that Cabinet formation will be according to competencies, the final formation did not exceed 8 % representation of women as usual, it only had three ministers out of 35, these are Minister of Information, Dr. DoriaSharaf el-Din, Minister of environment, Dr.LailaRashedIskander and Minister of Health and Population, Maha Rabat.
It is also worth mentioning that female ministers were excluded for unprofessional reasons, such as exclusion of Dalia el-Sadany from being the Minister of Scientific research under pressure from NourSalafi party because he was unveiled and elegant!!
While she is one of the best 100 architects worldwide.
Also during Mohamed Morsi’s reign, women were dismissed from leadership positions without any justifications, like Head of the Egyptian Opera house, Dr. Enas Abdel Dayem.
Women and the Governor’s position
During 2013, there have been two Governors’ changes; the first was at the beginning of June, 2013 and the second one was in August, 2013 and none of those had a single woman governor, because of unstable security conditions as officials claimed, despite the massive participation of Egyptian women in revolutions and toppling Morsi and his regime under very high risks for women, and although Governors were not able to enter their headquarters except under heavy security, and it would have been better if women in higher positions were appointed as governors, they would easily have the ability to and the experience to run the government because they have relations with people inside the governorate, this would be better than putting people from outside the governorate in charge and them being under security protection, this caused women’s share of being governors to be 0%.
Women and Judiciary
Women in Egypt still face a lot of obstacles regarding being a judge, where female judges in Egypt are only 42 judges after the last appointment back in 2007, also state council refused to appoint female judges in March, 2010 based on many allegations including the 11th article in the 1971 constitution that stated that women are given their rights according to Islamic Sharia, this contributed in the misuse of such article in preventing women from being judges in State Council, this leads to wasting many capabilities of competent female graduates of the Faculty of Law, because of inaccurate religious exegetics and unacceptable considerations as the conservative current increases within Egyptian judges.
This lead to the issue of a fatwaby the Mufti of the Republic, Dr. ShawqiAllam regarding women being judges and that religion allows them to be judges, governors and to have senior positions at the state;this fatwa was a result of huge efforts for Civil Organizations concerned with women’s rights demanding that women become judges, as women have the same requirements and will be punished the same as men in religion, this was approved by the Mufti when he said:
“Women are the same as men regarding duties in Sharia, and every demand in Sharia whether it came through Quran or Sunna includes men and women…”
Therefore, women can be judges without contradicting with Islamic Sharia, as some allegedly said before, and this fatwa came as a culmination of the efforts of women in all fields,and because of women’s role in building a new democratic country, because democracy cannot be obtained unless there was no elimination for any factions.
The importance of this fatwa is about preventing those who use religion to take away rights from women and eliminate her.
This fatwa is considered to support Sharia as much as it supports women’s rights, because it retrieved the true concept of Sharia that was destroyed by radical religious currents.
3- Women and the 50-member committee for amending the constitution after the 30th of June revolution
After the strong, brave participation of women in the 30th of June revolution, the 8th of June Constitutional Declaration after ousting Morsi, and the 10-member committee was formed to amend articles of the inactivated constitution.
The committee of experts (the 10-member committee)
Based on the Constitutional Declaration, the 10-member committee was formed without having one single female judge or expert, although there are female judges in the highest Egyptian Courts, which is the Supreme Constitutional Courts and the Technical Bureau of the court of Cassation, in addition to many Constitutional lawand General Law professors at all Egyptian Faculties of Law.
The Committee for amending the inactivated constitution.
After the 50-member committee finished its work, the Interim President, Judge Adly Mansour announced the formation of the 50-member committee for amending the constitutionwhich was a disappointment regarding women’s representation, where it had only 10 % only, which is astonishing especially after the 30th of June revolution in which women participated to object MB’s elimination for women, this committee was different from the MB’s committee for the constitution, it exceeded the former committee with only 3 %.
Names of Women who participated in the 50-member committee as main members:
1- AblaMohieldin adviser at the Ministry of Industry.
2- MervatTallawyas representative of the National Council for Women.
3- Dr. AzzaAshmawias representative of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.
4- Mona Zol-Faqar as representative for the National Council for Human Rights.
5- Dr. Hoda el-Sadda, a public figure.
Names of Women who participated in the 50-member committee as auxiliary members:
2- Dr. MohgaGhalib Abdul Rahman.
3- Maha Abu Bakr.
5- Dr. Leila Takla.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The state is committed to achieve equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination.
All kinds of slavery, possession of human beings, sex trafficking, and other forms of people trafficking are forbidden. The law should regulate this.
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.
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.
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 protestoutside theGeneral 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.
Second Section: Social and Economic rights
1- Women and education.
Egypt achieved a low rank in terms of women’s access to education, as Egypt came in the 108th place among 136 countries regarding access to education, according to the gender gap index report issued by the World Economic Forum,
In addition to vandalism and manipulation of education curricula where women’s roles have been deformed according to MB’s deeds, in an attempt to standardize women’s role in Egypt, in addition to that many teachers use discrimination against female students in schools for reasons regarding political conventions, for example:
Ministry of Education sent a decree to all preparatory schools telling them that huge portions of “History” subject were removed from the curriculum, these partsincluded the role of Egyptian women at the beginning of the last century, her role in the 1919 revolution and finally her role in the 25th of January revolution.
A preparatory school director at Amreya, Alexandria prevented a talented Karate student from having a memorial picture to honor them with her colleagues because she was unveiled.
2- Women and work
Women in Egypt still suffer from lack of job opportunities and economic participation, as Egypt comes in the 125th place among 136 countries in the world regarding job opportunities for women and economic participation, this rank is worse than last year’s rank, as Egypt came in the 124th place last year, this indicates the deterioration of Egypt regarding women’s rights.
There are many obstacles regarding competing with men for job opportunities according to the World Bank report:
• Women are still struggling against many boundaries regarding freedom of movement and choice.
• The poor quality of education and the gap between education and the talents needed by the private sector.
• Employers consider women less productive than men
• Women have fears regarding stigmatizing their reputation and for their own safety when working at the private sector. (5. The World Bank Report, Gender Equality and Development in the Middle East and North Africa)
After the revolutions in January 25 and June 30, there is unprecedented chance to practice pressures to apply crucial procedures to empower women to compete men strongly and equally in the labor market. This will also help allowing women to economic participation.
Section three: Violence against women:
Women suffered in 2013 from many forms of violence, either political violence or social violence. Forms of political violence against women:
1- Muslim Brotherhood and using women during their protests and sit-ins:
Women’s cause and their rights to protest, and attack that women experience during protest, are the most the most prominent signs of transformation and change of the Muslim Brotherhood phase, and discoloration of their attitude.
Their double standards were clear to everyone, especially regarding women rights. No one can forget that during the rule of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi, the Regime was speaking with male formula, in addition to male content that dominated all Muslim Brotherhood marches, and their claims indicating that voice of women is similar to nakedness, that women should not enter men society, stressing that women only belong to their households. They also accused women political activists who demonstrated against Morsi, that they are financed from abroad.
Manal Abu el-Hassan, Secretary of Women Affaris in Freedom and Justice Party, said that women who participate in protests, to defend their rights, are violating their dignity, she added “do they have husbands or brothers to defend them?” she also released a statement describing the march of “Haraer” or free women which was organized to denounce attacking women, saying that the protesters are financed and have their own agenda, claiming that all of the women who participated in that march were not a part in the revolution.
Women rights committee in the Shura Council which had majority from the Islamic current stated in February 11th 2013 that women political activists, who suffered from sexual harassment during the participation in the second anniversary of 2011 revolution, caused themselves this kind of attack because they participated in protests side to side with men.
But after the ousting of Morsi Muslim Brotherhood women became in the front row of all the group calls demanding the return of Mohamed Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood men used to using women as human shields for their leaders. In addition that woman were a part of the Rabaa el-Adawia “not peaceful” sit-in, during this period Muslim Brotherhood said that women participation is part of their duties to defend legitimacy, women voices became the engine of all marches after the brotherhood described them as nakedness.
The Muslim Brotherhood using women during the sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahda was obvious, they used women as human shields in marches front rows, and they also exploited women sexually in what the group described as “jihad al-nikah” or sexual jihad.
Following we list some of those violations.
List of violation forms that women and children were exposed to during Rabaa el-Adawia and Nahda sit-ins:
•Using women as human shields
During the Muslim Brotherhood marches after the ousting of Morsi, the group kept women in the front rows, even when women were attacked the brotherhood benefited from their suffering, like what happened during Morsi supporters march in Mansoura City, when thugs killed three women.
Human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, listed after the second wave of the Egyptian revolution in June 30th, 100 sexual harassment cases on the sidelines of anti-Morsi protests, groups that condemn sexual harassment like ” Op Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault” that monitors these kind of cases in Tahrir Square, the group released a statement saying they denounce using their data for political gain and objectives, adding that Presidency ignored these attacks last year, and held women responsible for being the target of sexual harassment.
In the light of what we know about “jihad al-nikah” or sexual jihad we find that the Muslim Brotherhood abducted and forced women to perform jihad al-nikah, as the following:
•A housewife filed a report that women wearing “niqap” tried to abduct her in order to present her to men in the Rabaa el-Adawia sit-in to be a part of sexual jihad. The housewife was walking when these women frisked her and offered her money so she joins the sit-in and when she refused they held her hostage in Orman Park and investigated her to know why she support Sisi and told her that they will take her to the men to perform sexual jihad then they beat her up causing injuries in her face, neck and a deep cut in her head, but she managed to escape.
•Two girls who belong to the Islamic current filed two reports in Nasr City Police Station saying that men tried to attack them sexually during their presence in Rabaa el-Adawia sit-in, in the pretext of sexual jihad.
•The marches and protests of the ousted president supporters focused on poor women and exploiting the categories of people who benefit from the Muslim Brotherhood Associations.
•The protests of the ousted president supporters are now depending on female college students who organized marches at 7 a.m. they cut off the road and stopped traffic which caused anger to residents and the whole situation developed to verbal arguments then attacking people who pass by the marches and shop owners. Women who organized these kind of marches were arrested and referred to Misdemeanor Court in charges of blocking the road and thugery, the Alexandria Misdemeanor Court sentenced 21 of female Muslim Brotherhood, who participated in blocking road in Alexandria, to be imprisoned for 11 years for adults, while the underage were sentenced to detention in one of the Juvenile Welfare houses. Then the sentences were reduced to months reaching maximum the period of one year, the sentences were halted for the sake of the students future.
•The violence committed by the Muslim Brotherhood female students escalated in eight Egyptian Universities, it reached the phase of attacking professors especially in Al-Azhar University, in addition to attacking other students to force them to stop the education process in an attempt to prove that the campaign of boycotting education succeeded.
•Female Muslim Brotherhood students’ violence reached the point of attacking the staff and reached the point that these students ripped off the clothes of two female professors and videotaped them naked and broadcasted the videos online, authorities are still investigating these incidents.
2- Targeting female activists:
Year 2013 witnessed during the rule of the ousted president targeting female activists in different fields, examples:
•Attacking large number of female Journalists and Photographers during performing their duties in covering the marches and protests against Morsi, during the first half of 2013.
•Investigating Professor of Psychiatry Dr.Manal Omar in charges of insulting Mohamed Morsi when she analyzed the character of President of the Republic in one of the Television Programs.
•Mohamed Morsi supporters attacked women activists in Itehadeya protests. They used excessive violence in general during the dispersal of that sit-in and with female activists specifically.
•The activist Shahena Maqld suffered an attack by one of the Muslim Brotherhood stopped her from chanting a slogan of “MB are the enemies of Allah” by putting his hand over her mouth, during an attack that targeted the sit-in and a failed attempt to disperse it.
•Mass sexual harassment attacks during the second anniversary of 2011 revolution, which targeted to eliminate women from political life.
•Attacking activist Mervat Moussa in front of the Muslim Brotherhood guidance office in the day of Egyptian Women, after she draw with other activist a graffiti against the MB politics, which MB members considered as insult and one of them beat her.
The forms of social violence which women were exposed to during the past year, represented in sexual harassment.
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in collaboration with the National Planning Institute and Demographic Center in Cairo made a study titled “studying the ways and methods to eliminate sexual harassment in Egypt.”
The study had many results including:
•99.3% of women in the survey said they were exposed to some for of sexual harassment.
•49.2% of Egyptian women experience sexual harassment, 19.2% of them experience sexual harassment on a weekly basis and 7.3% experience sexual harassment monthly.
•67.1% of women in the survey assured that all girls suffered sexual harassment regardless their clothes, their looks and the way they talk or walk. 87.7% of the participants in the survey see that women in all social classes are exposed to sexual harassment.
•68.9% of the sample sees that sexual harassment happens all the time and 68.5% insisted that all ages of males harasses sexually.
•48.9% of women assured that sexual harassment increased after January 25th revolution, but 44% see that sexual harassment rates are the same before and after the revolution, while 7% see it is less after the revolution.
When the women were asked about which parts of the body exposed to touch, the answers came as follows:
•54.5% answered with the chest, 13.5% buttocks, and 7.1% all body.
Women suffered especially during the reign of isolated President Morsi from various forms of abuses, especially during their presence in stands and demonstrations, where many women were exposed to sexual harassment and rape during the second anniversary of the 25th of January revolution.
The attacks targeting women in Tahrir Square were done in systematic way, where group of men assault women who are alone or the attackers try isolate women away from their colleagues while number of aggressors rapidly increase, they drag the victim into a circle of large gatherings, they violate the women with their hands and sometimes with weapons that they use in some cases to access to the victim’s body by ripping off her clothes.
Amnesty International had to issue a statement addressing the President of the Republic at that time – Mohamed Morsi – to call him for taking decisive actions to end sexual harassment against women in Egypt.
The strange thing is the statements made by some officials about the incidents of sexual harassment, we find:
•The Human Rights Commission of the Shura Council blamed the girls who have been subject of harassment in Tahrir Square on the second anniversary of 2011 revolution, Major General Adel Afifi said “the girl who know that she will be among thugs must protect herself before asking that the police protect her while Police officers cannot protect themselves. ” he added” in some cases, the girl contributes being raped by 100% because she put herself in these circumstances.”
•Sheikh Ahmed Mahmoud Abdullah, also known as “Abuasalam”, launched a sharp attack on women who denounced being molested in Tahrir Square, he said they are not a red line, as some say they are, but he descried them as “Crusaders” and widows, stressing that they are going to Tahrir in order to be raped.
•Former Minister of Information, Salah Abdel Maksoud, harassed female journalists more than once, during an award ceremony he answered a question of one of the Journalists who asked them “where is the freedom of press?” the Minister answered “you should come and I will tell you where.”
•The Minister repeated the same sentence in a press conference when he responded a question by the reporter of Hayah channel when she asked about the content of Egyptian Television, he said “I will tell you like what I told your colleague before, come and I will tell you where.”
•Former Prime Minister Hisham Qnadil, during the rule of the isolated president Mohamed Morsi, made a statement to many journalists saying that women in Beni Suef Governorate are raped in the fields and children there have diarrhea due to the lack of their mothers’ personal hygiene.
Incidents of sexual harassment became connected with systematic violence, some examples to that are:
•A young man threw a caustic substance on a female student, which caused her to be injured with severe burns, after she tried to blame him for molesting her in Munib.
•Unknown young man threw a caustic substance on a girl who was walking, that incident acquired without any reasons and resulted first, second and third degree burns to the girl who had to undergo surgery after a long medical treatment.
Confronting sexual harassment and violence against women:
1- Document of violence against women:
A state of controversy surrounded the document that aims “to prevent women and girls” issued by the United Nations at the 57th session of the Committee, which was held in March last year.
The Muslim Brotherhood issued a strongly worded statement and launched attack campaign against the document, claiming that it grants girls sexual freedom, and the freedom to choose their sex partner – choosing to have normal or abnormal sexual relationship – they also claimed that the document provides teenagers with the rights to get contraception and to be trained on how to use them in addition to legalization abortion and getting rid of pregnancy, the MB claimed that the document gives homosexuals all the rights, protection and respect, and it also protects women in the field of prostitution and it gives equality in getting the inheritance in addition to other things.
The Building and Development Party or El-Benaa Wa El-Tanmia dennounced the document issued by the United Nations, when Hisham al-Nagar, member in the media committee of the party, said that the document include items that would seriously dismantle the structure of the Egyptian family and tear its fabric.
Major General Adel Afifi, member in Human Rights committee in Shura Council said that this document is considered as “Apostasy in Islam.”
Salafist call condemned the document that prevents all forms of violence against women and girls and described it as “corrupt.”
The document demanded a systematic and integrated approach to preventing violence against women and girls and to defend their rights as what the agreement on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women states, the document also called for wider integration of prevention strategies, within the framework of policies and programs related to public health, in order to include reproductive health and others.
The recommendations also called for acting to achieve universal ratification of the agreement on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, and the withdrawal of all reservations on the agreement, plus the ratification of the optional protocol, in addition to reviewing, revising or amending laws and policies that include provisions against women and girls.
The United Nations Commission concerned with women agreed on non-binding declaration that states to combat violence against women, the announcement confirms that women all over the world deserve the same rights as men. Some Muslim and Arab countries expressed reservations regarding the announcement, but have not halted it. Egypt has approved the document after requiring that it will be executed according to legislations and laws of each country, taking into account the traditions of each community.
2- Establishment of a unit to address violence against women in police stations
Interior Ministry issued a decision to establish a special unit in police stations to confront violence against women, the Unit will be involved in researching and investigating cases of harassment, beatings, and all forms of violence against women in Egypt.
This decision comes in response to the demands of campaign called “street safe for everyone” and initiated by the center in 2005 to combat sexual harassment in Egypt, and on the legal level:
Necessity of creating a special crimes unit specialized in cases of violence against women and sexual harassment, the unit’s tasks include receiving reports with respecting the privacy of the women who filed the claims, in order to encourage women to interact with security officials to reduce harassment, but with including cooperation from civil rights organizations to follow the work of police departments in dealing with complaints and incidents of harassment to develop the partnership between all concerned parties.
Section Four: Some of the efforts made by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights
1. Several civil society organizations and political forces sent proposals to amend the inactivated Constitution, to the Committee assigned to amend the constitution.
Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights sent proposal titled “Basic Principles for ensuring women’s rights in the constitution” an attempt to guarantee the rights of Egyptian women in the new constitution, stressing that the articles need to be clear and do not have more than one meaning, and the summary of what came in this proposal is:
In order to guarantee equality between women and men, constitutional articles must be clear and that starts from the preamble of the Constitution, it must contain clear signals to establish the principle of equality between women and men and the phrases must addressed to men and women instead of mysterious words like people or citizens, Rwandan constitution is considered as one of the best constitutions, and a model in the preamble that holds equality between women and men.
• The principle of non-discrimination
Formulating the principle of non-discrimination must be with clear and detailed articles, in order to narrow the field in front of explanation before the court, the principle must be formulated with the utmost precision and details and specificity, one of the best constitutions that accurately discussed the principle of non-discrimination are Constitutions of Morocco, South Africa and Rwanda.
• The principle of equality in front of the law
Best drafting of the text on equality in front the law between men and women is “men and women are equal in front the law” it does not leave room for doubt or. One of the best constitutions that talked about the principle of equality in front of the law is Iraqi and Colombian constitutions.
• Political Participation
There should be a constitutional text guaranteeing quota for women in all legislative, judicial and executive authorities plus all the top positions in the state, to ensure the participation of women in political life regardless the electoral system. The best constitutions in this area include the constitutions of Afghan, Ugandan and Iraq.
• The right of equal pay at work
The presence of a clear confirmation that ensures the right of women to be equally paid with men for the same work, one of the best constitutions that talked about that subject is Ugandan constitution.
Finally, there are some important principles that must be contained in the constitution, which are:
1. The word of men and women becomes more accurate, it also emphasizes the observance of equality of all men and women.
2. Should by all means take into account the limited use of the conscience of “him”, because even if some see that linguistics emphasizes that this signal include men and women, but it is one way or another, the impact of social and cultural gives the opportunity for expansion in the interpretation by the court in the direction of discrimination based on gender.
3. There is a need for an article that addresses the cultural and legislative distortions discriminating against women. The distortions which were inherited for generations. In addition to providing at least 30% of all decision making positions, elected councils seats -such as parliament and local councils- and boards of unions to women.
4. Article about the measures that must be taken by the government to strengthen and confirm the equality between men and women in all fields.
5. The necessity of a text that guarantees the right to shelter and housing, this text is very important for women who find themselves homeless after the absence of the breadwinner, whether divorce, death or abandonment.
6. An article that clearly outlaws discrimination between men and women.
After the formation of the fifty member committee, there were many community dialogue sessions where the committee listened to the proposals in addition to special sessions by women’s organizations and women’s movements to listen to their suggestions, the sessions were attended by the Egyptian Center, one of these sessions with a coalition of women’s organizations which focused on proposals presented below:
• The importance of a women’s quota
The constitutional must guarantee that at least 30% of the Parliament is for women, there are 97 countries in the world apply the quota, even Arab countries, many of which apply quota, such as Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan, and Iraq. During the years of 1979, 1984 an 2010 when Egypt applied the quota the Parliament witnessed in these courses high proportion of female representation as a result of the application of the quota.
The quota must be applied in any electoral system. If the system was based on individual system, the constituencies must add the seats of workers, farmers and women,
However, if the electoral system was based on lists, the lists will be arranged as: man woman man woman or woman man woman man.
The necessity for a text that require political parties to nominate women and determining the status of women on the party list, and not leave the matter to each party. Some parties resort to placing women at the end of the electoral list, as what happened in 2011 elections.
• The need to re-districting constituencies, the wide space may form an obstacle in front the success of women candidates.
• Replacing mysterious words like”the State is bound” by words such as “the state is obligated”.
• Deleting the phrase in Article 10 “do not contradict with Islamic Sharia” law, because second article of the constitution is sufficient.
• Criminalizing all forms of violence against women by clear text.
• Criminalization of human trafficking.
• Criminalizing discrimination against women in both employment and health maters.
• Fair representation of women in all leadership positions in the state.
• Fair representation of women in all elected and appointed bodies in the country.
• Not detaining wife, sister or mother to any accused or suspects in order to force him to turn himself in because it is infringement against women without any justification.
• State’s obligation to care for widowed, divorced and single women and providing suitable housing for them.
• There should be a rule that obligates the parliament, of not having a faction with more than two-thirds of its seats.
• The need for canceling Article 219 and the abolition of Shura Council.
Section five: recommendations of the report (looking into the future)
The new constitution present quantum leap that require numerous efforts to convert texts into reality for Egyptian women so the state will benefit from the capabilities of half of its population, by working on several levels:
• Emphasizing on the electoral system that ensures the representation of women with not less than 35% of the lists or individuals in all elected assemblies to ensure the representation of women.
• Empowering women in political parties not only in committees or secretariat position, and parties should take actions to nominate women, each party must present at least 35% of its membership as women candidates for elected councils.
• Support for young female leaders who want to participate in the elections and training.
• Studying and evaluating the contribution of women in the economy and labor market, evaluating the contribution of housewives in the economy, and providing health and social insurance for them.
• The need to emphasize and take the necessary measures to ensure women take all positions as application for the principles of citizenship and equality on the basis of competence and professionalism.
• Eliminating discrimination against women in labor market and while providing job opportunities and training based on equality.
• Paying attention to women who are heads of households, and giving them the chance to establish small projects, taking into account, equality in tax breaks between men and women.
• Providing social services to help working women, such as nurseries.
Level of education
• purifying education curricula of discrimination against women in order to ensure improving women’s image in the community.
• The presence of women in decision-making positions at the level of curriculum development at the Ministry of Education.
• Giving attention to literacy classes for Egyptian women and putting fines on the drop-outs.
• The need to include social education curricula and emphasizing on good models for women.
• Necessity to teach the curricula of human rights and gender sensitivity in higher education.
• Purifying laws of all forms of violence and discrimination against women.
• Amending the law of family with the principles of justice and equality in Islamic Sharia.
• Giving attention to activating laws and applying them on all individuals and groups based of the concept of equality in front of the law in a democratic society to end the idea of favoritism and mediation.
• Tougher sanctions on violent crime in all its forms, especially rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence.
• Reforming the Family Court.
• Developing strategy for women’s issues to change discriminatory and inferiority perception of women in the media and the community, to improve the image of women in the media and drama.
• Distancing from the stereotype of women and drawing attention to the real image of women and their presence as experts and politicians or jurists, to confirm the mental image of women to the viewer as participation and present in the society.
• Activating the role of the media to publish women’s issues and to highlight their role in the revolution, in Algeria, France and their role in building Germany after its defeat in the war.
• The need for cooperation with the media, and providing them with information, in the sense of partnership not control.
• Formation of a partnership between civil society organizations and the media.
• Emphasizing the role of the modern religious discourse that addresses transactions, ethics and social relations which establishes the values and principles of human rights and respect for difference.
• Publishing and strengthening positive values and ethics of religion based on respect for the other in the community.
• Repairing the religious discourse concerning women.
Egyptian women living abroad level
• Activating the role of embassies and consulates to protect Egyptians abroad, especially women.
• Rehabilitation of women workers before traveling and making sure they have contracts and in safe working conditions.