Saturday, June 11

old news...

but still worth knowing, what's going on in Egypt these days:
women’s asylum news
refugee women’s resource project @ asylumaid
issue number 51
june 2005

Egypt: demonstrators sexually assaulted whilst protesting against
‘flawed’ referendum

The BBC reported on 1 June that a number of women testified that
loyalists President Mubarak’s party had assaulted them during a
demonstration against a forthcoming referendum. The subject of the
referendum is the proposed multi-candidate presidential elections due to
take place later this year.

The women who complained to the police about incidents of ‘groping,
harassment and assault by men suspected of being government supporters’
also said that police and security forces stood by or shouted orders
when the attacks took place. Some women were said to have had their
clothes torn apart and were left completely naked in the streets. The
government response was to blame the assaults on ‘emotional tension’ but
others described the incidents as a ‘black day’ for Egypt and are
determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. Demonstrators
protested few days later in Cairo demanding that Interior Minister Habib
el-Adly resign after allegations that he allowed the sexual assaults on
women at the previous pro-democracy demonstration.

The incidents occurred days after the World Economic Forum published its
report putting Egypt under the spotlight on gender issues by stating it
has the largest social and economic disparity between the sexes amongst
60 countries studied, along with Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey. 56% of
women over 15 in Egypt are illiterate compared to 33% of men. As of
2003 only 2.4 percent of parliamentarians are female. The National
Council for Women says the report should have highlighted the
‘significant steps towards improving women’s participation’ in politics
but Dr Nawal El Saadawi, a leading Egyptian feminist and sociologist,
confirms that ‘women have no role in Egyptian politics, this is a very
male dominated class society. We have one man or one family rule; we
don’t have political institutions or political parties’.

Details on how the study was carried out can be found in WEF’s report
‘Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Gender Gap’, available online at:

Mohammed also writes about well as Ethan Zuckerman.

Don't know what to comment though, going to demonstrations here isn't always that fun too, but still something like this, I can't imagine happening...

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