Week 2 Activity Post – Women in Egypt

Throughout history the status of Egyptian women has drastically changed. In ancient Egypt women were for the most part equal to men regardless of their marital status. Egyptian women ruled in government and had rights. In today’s climate in the status of women is much different. Today women are  oppressed, harassed, and abused. According to the Global Database on Violence Against Women, 26% of women in Egypt face a lifetime of physical and / or sexual violence from there partner, 17% are in child marriages, and 87% face genital mutilation and / or cutting (1). Egypt ranks 135 on the gender inequality index and 132 on the global gender gap index (1). What makes a woman in Egypt is very biological; the asme goes for men in Egypt. You are either a man or a women based on your sex at birth and then gender stereotypes are enforced. In ancient Egypt, women could own property without being married, today they can not walk in the street without being harassed. A 2013 UN Women report revealed that 99.3 per cent of women surveyed had been sexually harassed on the street (2). A survey was conducted on Egyptian men to get their opinions on the gender inequality that takes place in their country. when respondents were given the statement “If a woman is raped, she should marry her rapist,” nearly 64% of men agreed to this statement (2). Marriage is of high importance to their culture, it is unacceptable for women to live a single or unmarried life. According a 2017 UN Women report, just more than 8 per cent of men and about a third of women believe that unmarried women should have the same right as unmarried men to live alone (2). Many women in Egypt are pursuing higher education, and access to education in not a problem in this country. Where the problem lies for women’s education is purely social. Thousands of Egyptian girls who are currently pursuing higher education will eventually settle down at home and choose not to pursue a career (3).  In some faculties, such as Alexandria University’s faculty of medicine, more than half of the students are girls. This does not stop many male professors from wondering: “What brought all of you here in the first place? You just take up space and resources and in the end you’ll all get married and stay at home (3).” The social stigmas are what are killing girls dreams of a career. I imagine after hearing comments like this I would want to drop out too. It is not socially accepted for women to work out side of the home in Egypt. Women are expected to be home makers and all the cooking, cleaning, and child rearing chores falls into the laps of the women. Socially the atmosphere is what we Americans may describe as a very “traditional” or “1950s” way of thinking. Lastly, I watched a video by BBC on transgender people living in Egypt. due to religion in the country, transgendered people are not socially accepted but they do have access to gender corrective surgeries and group therapy is strongly encouraged by their doctors because of all of the discrimination they face. Many are rejected by their families or lose their jobs. One of the biggest hurdles they have to over come is trying to get their government ID changed.

1      Global Database on Violence against Women. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/fr/countries/africa/egypt

2     Curnow, W. (2017, August 27). Egypt’s women fight harassment on the street and restrictions at home. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-27/young-women-fight-harassment-restrictions-in-egypt/8729056

3     Ibrahim, B. (2010, April 07). The struggle for equality in Egypt | Baher Ibrahim. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/apr/07/equality-struggle-egypt-women

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