WOMEN FIGHT FOR RIGHTS IN NEW EGYPT
Throughout the course of Egypt’s January 25 Revolution, which culminated in the ouster of longstanding President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, female protesters stood on the frontlines of the uprising alongside their male counterparts. But as Egyptians continue to celebrate the downfall of Mubarak’s oppressive regime, many female activists say the lot of women hasn’t improved – either socially or politically – in the post-Mubarak era.
“Despite the central role played by female protesters in the uprising, when women stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men, Egypt has seen scant improvement when it comes to women’s rights and female political participation,” Zeina Agha, media coordinator for the centrist Guardians of the Revolution party (established in the wake of the revolution), said.
Although Egypt’s 1956 constitution granted women the right to vote – even run – in national elections, female participation in the political sphere remained sorely limited throughout Mubarak’s 30-year tenure.
According to figures from the Cairo Centre for Development, a local NGO, female participation in national elections stood at a mere 5 percent between 1981 and 2010. During the same period, women held only 2 percent of the seats in parliament and fewer than 5 percent of the seats in Egypt’s municipal councils.
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