In a DIPD seminar on the role of political parties in Egypt, on 27 May in Copenhagen, Dr. Fatemah Khafagy pointed to the Women’s Charter as an example of how women in Egypt are being pro-active in defining their role in the future Egypt.
EGYPTIAN WOMEN’S CHARTER
EGYPTIAN WOMEN: PARTNERS IN THE REVOLUTION AND IN BUILDING DEMOCRATIC EGYPT
Egyptian women constitute half of Egypt. They have been active in January 25th revolution and side by side with men they demonstrated in main squares of Egypt, they spent the nights on streets to make sure that the revolution will not be hijacked or stopped, they nursed the wounded, lamented the dead, chanted and danced when they became victorious and also cleaned the aftermath when they withheld the demonstrations. They are still active in translating the slogans of the revolution: freedom, dignity and social justice to a reality in every Egyptian’s life. They are still participating in all Fridays demonstrations in public squares confirming that democracy that they and men promised Egypt to achieve will be fulfilled soon. They want to see the themes of the revolution Freedom, Dignity and Social Justice opening new opportunities for them to obtain equality and justice.
Egyptian women have agreed that the following are their demands which they will work hard to achieve but also demand others to join them in fulfilling them
First: With regard representation of women
Women should be represented in the committees that deal with drafting the constitution. Such representation should take into consideration their size in the population and their present and future role in building the society.
Women should also be sitting in all legislative committees and in all dialogue forums that discuss national issues.
Women should occupy 50 percent of the cabinet and should be in decision making positions in political parties electoral lists.
The new constitution should spell out clearly full equality between man and women in all spheres of life and the elimination of all sorts of discrimination against them.
The constitution should also state that the percentage of women should not be less than 40 percent in the parliament.
Selection for leadership posts and all positions should be based on qualifications and objective professional requirements and not on basis of gender.
Second: With regard to International conventions
The Egyptian government should hold its commitment to all international human rights conventions including the convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women.
Egyptian representation in International human rights committees should include women from government and non-government organizations
Third: With regard to social and economic rights.
Egyptian women particularly the poverty groups should have access to basic services to enable them to combine their roles at home and in society.It is a shame that 40 percent of Egyptian women are still illiterate in the age of information and technology. Without the use of technology the 25th revolution would not have succeeded
Only 16% of Egyptian full time workers are female. In the current times of insecurity a preference can be observed to first support men as the “traditional breadwinners” in getting out of unemployment. Therefore now even greater efforts are needed to support women claiming their economic rights. Women should have equal opportunities in accessing the labor market, credit, capital and skills training. At the work place women should face decent working conditions, prospects for advancement as well as security with regard to sexual harassment.
Fourth: With regard to legislation
All discriminatory legislation against women should be reviewed and redressed on basis of equality and justice. The Family Law in particular needs to be reformed to reflect human dignity and justice for all members of the family and protect the children
Fifth: Women and judiciary posts
Women graduates of law schools should have equal opportunity to acquire judiciary posts and climb the ladder up to being judges and in all branches and ranks of the system.
Sixth: Women Machinery
Egyptian women demand an executive ministry for women’s affairs that can coordinate with all other ministries and ensure equal opportunities to all citizens.
A national policy should be formulated to reflect a positive image of women and to help create a culture with no discrimination against women.