|Protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo|
While Egypt’s Constituent Assembly tasked with the drafting of Egypt’s new Constitution continues its work and prepares to represent the final draft of the state’s highest document for voting and public referendum, the concerns over the ensuring of the rights and freedoms in the new Constitutions are still growing within the society. The problem of women’s rights also remains of the most concerning issues.
Egyptian activists and the representatives of Egypt’s coalition National Front for Egyptian Women called for the protests demanding the securing of the already gained women’s rights and guaranteeing them in the new Constitution.
The protest took place on Monday, 10 September, in the Downtown Cairo and was attended by the members of the National Front for Egyptian Women and Egyptian secular and liberal activists.
National Front for Egyptian Women is a broad coalition that includes the representatives of different political parties and forces, such as Al-Dostor Party, Al-Tagammu Party, Al-Adl Party, the Socialist Youth Union, the Nasserist Partythe Popular Socialist Coalition, Ghad El-Thawra and other parties. The representatives of several human rights’ organizations and some public figures and prominent Egyptians are the members of this coalition too and took part in the protests calling for the women’s rights to be included in the future Constitution.
The issue of women’s rights is one of the most tense and sensitive in Egypt nowadays. Egypt with its predominantly Muslim population considers being a country with a conservative society with the conservative attitudes towards women, their rights, freedoms and role in the life of the country. But Egyptian women never were silent and passive and they were always a part of Egyptian history, taking part in all important country’s events and being on the forefront during the demonstrations. The significant efforts have been made in the fight for ensuring women’s rights during the last years in Egypt. Egyptian women have got more freedoms, and the events of January 25 Revolution promised the further development of those issues, as Egypt was willing to take a path of building the democratic society, where all the citizens have to be equal. But the latest events and Islamists rising in power caused a wave of concerns and fears over the future of civil society, and the threat for women’s rights are currently very serious.
Another problem which exists in Egyptian society is sexual harassment and sexual assaults of women which became more tense and alarming recently. There was a huge amount of reports about the numerous cases of sexual assaults of the women in the streets, especially during the protests and public events. Such an attitude is considered being an attempt to prevent women from playing a more significant role in the life of society and to force them to stay at home, according to the statements of activists.
Women in Egypt, Egyptians and foreigners as well, often experience sexual harassment of various degrees, even with some extremely violent and terrible mob attacks, as it happened during the protests in Egypt. In addition to that the way of dressing of walking doesn’t play any role, as the women wearing hijab (traditional Islamic modest clothes) or even niqab (full-face veil) could be the victims of sexual harassment.
Egyptian activists and different human rights’ organizations have been organizing different protests and launching special awareness campaigns in Egypt in attempt to highlight this problem and to fight the ways to eliminate it. Thus, the issue of women’s rights is really very important for the establishing of civil and democratic society in Egypt, and the activists are demanding the members of the Constituent Assembly to include women’s rights in the future Constitution to guarantee and protect them.