Cairo 25 November 2015
ECWR calls for legislation to combat domestic violence on the international day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
In the light of the Campaign against gender-based violence, the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) calls on the Egyptian president and the upcoming Parliament to issue legislation to combat violence against women and particularly the increased epidemic of domestic violence. This comes with the horrifying recent incident in which a woman was murdered by her brother, uncle and cousins. The State did not formally interfere investigating or employing the law, in fact they only mediated informally which is a clear violation of the penal code and the right of the victim.
According to the most recent statistics of the Demographic and Health Survey (2005), almost half of married women in Egypt (47.4%) have been subjected to physical violence at one point in their lives. Statistics indicate that 33% of women have been exposed to at least one form of physical domestic violence by their current or former husband.
The necessity in combating domestic violence is not only from a humanitarian perspective, it has an economic necessity. The economic cost of violence against women is measured through preventative measures and the cost of lost opportunities; such as:
– Low income cause of constant absence
– High cost of healthcare
– Increased burden on law enforcement institutions as a result of violence against women, as the public sector or the government bears the biggest share of the cost as the judicial system and also other services as healthcare, shelters, and social services for women and children
Also, the economic cost of violence against women includes the low productivity of women which leads to women losing part of their income, business owners bearing the cost of sick leaves and so the state loses taxes paid as a result of low productivity.
According to the Global Gender Gap report 2015, which is produced by the World Economic Forum, Egypt comes within the worst 10 countries in the world in gender equality, which is rather alarming and dangerous.
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is an international campaign to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world by the United Nations. It is an opportunity to revisit legislation and work on improving infrastructure protecting women from violence.