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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs