News / Middle East

Survey Slams Egypt on Women's Rights

FILE - An Egyptian woman is seen in front of a group of soldiers as they stand guard during a protest near Cairo University.
FILE - An Egyptian woman is seen in front of a group of soldiers as they stand guard during a protest near Cairo University.
Edward Yeranian
A survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation says Egypt ranks the lowest of 20 Arab states in the area of women's rights.  Trafficking in women, harassment, genital mutilation, and generally conservative attitudes prevailing in parts of the country led to the ranking.  

Egyptian women are faring far worse than their Arab counter-parts, according to an annual Thompson-Reuters survey.  That survey canvassed more than 300 experts on gender relations in the Arab world.

The criticism of attitudes and behavior towards women focused on several key points, including the practice of genital mutilation, widely carried out across the country, especially in provincial areas.  A United Nations report says more than 27 million Egyptian women have been subjected to genital mutilation.

An Egyptian woman screams in July as a crowd of men physically harass her during one of many protests in Tahrir Square since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011.  She was surrounded by a crowd of men which dragged her away from her friends, before assaulting her.

Egypt has taken steps to improve the treatment of women, officials say.

A highly publicized women's initiative to track and curb physical harassment has given women a voice.  A campaign calling itself HarassMap has been documenting, publicizing, and working to eradicate harassment.

Despite the critical reports about women's rights in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country has long had a reputation for women's participation in all walks of life, unlike in many other Arab states.

Since the era of socialist-leaning President Gamal Abdel Nasser, women have held prominent positions in the country's bureaucracy.  Many work outside their homes and education for young girls is compulsory.

Egypt has many women judges, professors, journalists and several ministers in the current interim government.

Bouthaina Kamel, ran for president in 2011, but was eliminated in the first round of voting.  She ran on a platform criticizing harassment and various sorts of inequality in the country and has long spoken out for women's rights.

"There must be a secure environment for women either in the home, at work or in the street.  That means there should not be any physical or verbal harassment," said Kamel.

American University in Cairo political sociologist Said Sadek says the position of women has been strengthened in many respects since the 2011 revolution.

"The feminist movement in Egypt in the last two years has become even stronger.  Look at women's participation in demonstrations, despite the weapon of sexual harassment that was used against women to drive them away from political participation.  They did participate in all Egyptian revolutions and protests and that shows you that they are not weak or destroyed," said Sadek.

The Thomson Reuters report also gave low marks to Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen for their treatment of women.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs