Egypt: Women worse off after Arab spring

By Konye Obaji Ori

Posted on November 12, 2013 10:46

While Egypt maneuvers through its post-revolution challenges, activists say Egyptian women need a revolution of their own, as women in the country have had it worst since the Arab Spring.

According to a recent study conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), Egyptian women were found to be worse off when violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy were examined.

we women need a double revolution […] against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women

The results which were released on Tuesday described Egypt as the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman.

“As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women,” Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy told reporters.

Although women played a central role in the country’s revolution, Egyptian women have scored badly in almost all categories.

Citing female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, violence, bigoted laws and a spike in trafficking placed, the TRF asserted that women have made losses instead of estimated gains.

In a society where women were already disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically, the revolution and post-revolts have brought conflict, instability, displacement and a rise in Islamist pro-Sharia militias, further limiting the rights of women.

“We removed the Mubarak from our presidential palace, but we still have to remove the Mubarak who lives in our minds and in our bedrooms,” Eltahawy added.

Human Rights Watch reported that 91 women were raped or sexually assaulted in public in Tahrir Square in June.

A subsequent U.N. study in April revealed that 99.3 percent of women and girls in Egypt were subjected to sexual harassment.

The Arab Spring has enhanced women’s rights in Tunisia, but women in Egypt and Libya are still seeking any real progress.

In Libya, ranked 14th for women’s rights, the uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi two years ago had failed to enshrine women’s rights in law.

However, in Tunisia, ranked best among Arab Spring nations, women hold 27 percent of seats in national parliament.

Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia are signatories to the U.N. Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.