Women’s Issues

Stop Blaming the Victims of Sexual Harassment

Sunday September 2, 2018                     By: Ingy ِEl Naggar

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Sexual harassment is Egypt’s illegitimate child, born out of chaos. The phenomenon that had been around for a while, has escalated drastically in the last 7 years. Our long-lived misconception has constantly wronged the female or, worse, it urged people to look the other way. Thus, sweeping the whole problem under the rug, feeding the harassers’ ego and confidence and turning them into limitless monsters who think it’s not only okay, but it’s also their right to cat call, touch and shame girls on daily basis.… continue reading …

Parliament Amends Inheritance Laws to Tackle Gender Discrimination

Saturday July 7, 2018                               By: Sara Mohamed

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Photo credit to Joya El Aggar

Like many women of her generation, Samia Medhat, a housekeeper for many New Cairo villas, says that while she is the breadwinner for the family, she has little control over the salary she receives.

Her husband, who “refuses to get off the couch”, demands she hands it over every month, keeping in line with societal norms which dictate that men are in charge of the family’s economic decisions. More importantly, however, when Medhat received her inheritance from her late father, her husband also took the money and used it for his own personal purposes.… continue reading …

Childhood Interrupted: Egypt issues a new law to criminalize child marriages

Saturday June 8, 2018                               By: Alexandra Kinias

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While most twelve years old girls go to bed dreaming of doll houses, ballet classes, crayons and scrapbooks, princesses in sequence dresses and tiaras, nightmares keep others awake in fear that the sunlight of the new day willsteal their childhood. In one of the most heinous crimes that are still committed to humanity, underage marriages are still practiced worldwide, Egypt included. … continue reading …

Egyptian Film “The Campaign” Screens at the Arab Film Festival in Michigan

Friday June 1, 2018

“Can an ad campaign change attitudes towards Sexual Harassment in Egypt?” 

33992935_1820499261322093_3801690495327928320_nThe short Egyptian film, The Campaign, by Egyptian-American director Jenny Montasir will be screened on Wednesday, June 6th at the Arab Film Festival organized by the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI. The Campaign will be paired with Tunisian feature film Beauty and the Dogs (Aala Kaf Ifrit). Montasir will also participate in a panel following the screenings to discuss sexual harassment and how to support transnational solidarity with movements like Me Too.… continue reading ….

Stop Objectifying Women

Sunday April 29, 2018                            By: Nagwan El Deeb

7DB5491E4299F8CD85A7ACDB3A56C79A981D277CIn spite of the vast efforts by various organizations and human rights groups to empower women, a significant percentage of women around the world continue to suffer from objectification.Needless to say, in many cases, objectification starts at home.

Parental beliefs, cultural factors and the goals parents set for their children determine their parenting styles. These styles, if not channelled in the right direction, may in turn create lasting psychological effects on the children…. continue reading …

Why we became the men we wanted to marry

Monday April 22, 2018                By: Menerva Hammad

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The Arabic term for spinsters is A’anes. It’s a despicable word, not to mention that it is an insult thrown in the face of unmarried women, especially when they reach their thirties.

Once women in Arab countries reach this age without getting married, it’s better to burry themselves in a faraway desert and pretend to be dead than live in the judgmental societies. Their surroundings will haunt them all the way until they get married… continue reading …

Meet Hind Elhinnawy, the ِِEgyptian Woman Who Defied the Social Norms

Saturday July 21, 2018                    By: May Allam

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After stirring up controversy in the Egyptian society for being the first young women to file a paternity suit in 2005, Hind Elhinnawy shied away from the public life to raise her daughter. Leena Alfishawy, daughter of Elhinnawy and actor Ahmed Alfishawy was born out of an Urfi marriage, which Alfishawy denied after Elhinnawy got pregnant. Instead of having an abortion, the young mother-to-be defied the social norms of women in her situation and fought for her daughter’s right to live.  In an unprecedented step, she publicly took Alfishawy to court, but he refused a court ruling to undergo a DNA test to prove his paternity… continue reading … 

The Stigma of Being “Samra”

Tuesday March 27, 2018      By: Menerva Hammad

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Samra is the term used to define a dark-skinned girl or woman in Arabic. We Egyptian girls, no matter where we grow up, we will learn that a fair skinned woman is beautiful and a samra is not. We will learn, that our naturally curly hair needs to be straightened, because otherwise it looks too messy, and girls with messy hair are not beautiful. We will be brainwashed that our dark eyes are less attractive, because blue, green and hazel eyes mesmerize people, but dark eyes simply don’t…. continue reading …

She Can- 2018, Unleashing the power of women in Egypt!

Thursday March 8, 2018              By: Jaylan El Shazly

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The highly anticipated “She Can – 2018 ” conference took place on the first weekend in March at the Greek Campus, Downtown Cairo. The event brought together over 28 speakers and hundreds of women and men to showcase successful female entrepreneurs and listen to their experiences. Under the warm Cairo winter sun, a main stage was set up throughout the two days.  Entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and scientists delivered Ted-style presentations that focused primarily on their professional journeys and the challenges they encountered in their careers….. continue reading …..

 

Jomana Ismail walks from Aswan to Cairo to raise awareness on population growth

Sunday February 11, 2018

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On January 16th, 2018, Jomana Ismail and her team members embarked on the “Crossing Egypt Challenge”. The team of 4 young athletes crossed Egypt on foot from Aswan to Cairo in 23 days, to raise awareness on population growth. The challenge was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Royal Norwegian Embassy, Ministry of Youth and other private companies…. continue reading ….

A Sneak Peek at Entreprenelle’s – She Can 2018 – Mega Women Empowerment Event.

Saturday February 10, 2018

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As communities thrive when women are economically empowered, it’s imperative to invest in women, not just because it is right, but because it is important and necessary for the growth of healthier societies. With this understanding in mind, Rania Ayman founded, Entreprenelle, a mission driven enterprise that strives to bridge the gender and economic gap. It also aims to empower women with the needed skills by educating, training and linking them to all the resources possible.… continue reading …

FGM: The controversial issue with no solution in sight

Sunday January 7, 2018.         By: Nagwan El-Deeb

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It is shocking to learn that 87 percent of girls in Egypt are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), despite the efforts made by the government to fight this brutal violation of women’s bodies. A statistical report published in February 2016, ahead of the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, stated that ‘’200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM in 30 countries; half of which live in only 3 countries – Egypt, Ethiopia and Indonesia’’… continue reading ..

Dinner With Doreya Shafik on her 109th Birthday (1908 – 1975)

Thursday December 14, 2017       By: Alexandra Kinias

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A reporter once asked me, if I could have dinner with one Egyptian woman, dead or alive, who would it be? My instant response was Doria Shafik.

Doria died when I was 11-years-old. She ended her life by ‘plunging to her death’ out of her balcony at the age of 67. I never heard of her before her death, and I am ashamed to admit, I didn’t learn about her accomplishments until decades later… continue reading ….

 

Some Things Can’t be Covered

Monday December 4, 2017     By: Alexandra Kinias

kkf-wmens-abuse-englishIt was not uncommon when I was growing up in Alexandria, Egypt to hear loud screams screeching the stillness of the hot summer nights, when people opened their windows to the cool Mediterranean breeze. Chilling sounds of women pleading to their husbands to stop or calling for help pierced the neighborhoods. And by sunrise, perpetrators walked freely in the streets, as if nothing had happened, while the bruised faces you met, with eyes averted, were the only proof of the heinous crime committed against these women….continue reading .

Opinion: Domestic Violence…”You Are Not Alone”

Wednesday November 29, 2017      By: Menna Doubal

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Body stamped with rainbow coloured bruises, dislocated shoulders, broken bones, battered souls, muted screams, silent cries, shattered voice and endless feelings of sorrow…

Since the beginning of time, women were considered unequal to men. They were viewed as slaves; properties. As a result, some men came to believe they have the right to control, manipulate, use and discipline them, in any way they see fit, …… continue reading …. 

Hues of Abuse

Saturday November 25, 2017          By: Salma Hamed

Woman Covering Her Face In Fear Of Domestic Violence

“I’m Sorry. I’ll never do it again. I swear,” she frantically repeated as she backed into the kitchen corner, hands held up to protect her face.

“I’ll make sure you never do!”

The next day, Mona goes to work sporting a black eye, the makeup barely conceals it. No one at work asked her about it, they already knew. They whispered, they murmured and they gossiped, yet no one reached out to her. “It’s none of our business,” they said to themselves. “It’s a family dispute between a man and his wife.”….. continue reading ….

The Secret Everybody Knows

Saturday November 18, 2017               By: Farah Desouky

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Secrecy, shame and anxiety are among many feelings and behavioral patterns that accompany every woman during her period. The average female endures about 450 periods in her lifetime, which roughly calculate to about 2250 days, or 6 years.  This biological process is among other aspects in a woman’s life, like hair removal and sexual needs and desires, which aren’t socially acceptable to address publicly, not just in Egypt but worldwide.….. continue reading …

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Thursday November 9, 2017              By: Rita Tadros

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Women all over the world have proven they can succeed in different walks of life. Not only have they caught up with men on the educational level, but some women have also surpassed them. Additionally, women are venturing into male-dominated fields, and are leading influential political roles. However, and in spite of all their achievements, gender inequality at the workplace is still hard to break…. continue reading …..

Breaking the Frame

Wednesday November 1, 2017
By: Nagwan El Deeb

“In order to liberate women, we need to liberate men’’. – Anne Hathaway

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Over the past few years, women in Egypt have been facing a myriad of significant issues such as FGM, sexual violence, marital abuse, unjust laws, lack of education in many rural and urban areas and deprivation of inheritance. It was difficult to decide which to tackle first, considering that many of them are equally pressing…. continue … 

How Women Are Contributing to Their Oppression

Sunday October 15, 2017
Written By: Farah Desouki

The problem with gender inequality is once you understand and notice it, it becomes impossible to ignore. This realization leaves you angry at society. As you hear it in everyday conversations with your parents, relatives, and friends, your anger escalates. You realize that the inequality and stereotypes were drilled into your head as well, since you were a little girl wearing pink clothes and playing with Barbie dolls. My anger at society led me to this conclusion….. continue reading …

 

On the Day of the Girl Child: Don’t Clip Their Wings

Wednesday October 11, 2017
By: Menna Doubal

8415723372_c595df3247_bMillions of girls around the world are deprived from their basic rights. They live in continuous struggle because of their gender. They are considered inferior to males and treated as such; deprived from education, exposed to violence, sex exploitation and child marriages. To raise awareness and bring social justice to these girls, the UN, since 2012, marked October 11th to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child…. continue reading ..

 

Dehumanized: How Sexism Still Exists!

Friday September 29, 2017
By: Nada Reda El-Kharbotly

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No matter how advanced people think they are or how far the evolution of women’s rights has taken us, equal rights for both genders have yet to be achieved. The bold truth is that our society is sexist; most people still believe that men are stronger, smarter, and make better leaders than women. As a devout feminist, I find that shameful. I believe in equal opportunities, rights, and treatment for men and women because simply, it is not our sex that defines us, … continue reading …

 

Single Moms: The Egyptian Warriors

Saturday September 9, 2017
By: Fayza Taha Yassin

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Single mothers are often viewed by the society as culprits destroying their marriages and their children’s sense of family and stability. However, from experience, the opposite is true. Some single Moms actually choose to become single to save what is left of their mental health and stability and ….. continue reading 

 

Schirin Salem Teaches Women Wen-Do to Fight Sexual Harassment

Friday August 18, 2017
By: Jaylan El Shazly

With the soaring rates of sexual harassment in Egypt, Schirin Salem, together with her friend Emmeline Lavender, launched Igmadi (Be Strong) Initiative in 2014, to empower women to stand up against harassment through Zumba fitness and Wen-Do self-defense training. With the series of events they organized across Egypt, Igmadi has since grown into a full-blown phenomenon. In spite of growing up in Germany, Salem had always been aware of sexual harassment. She experienced it during her visits to Egypt….. continue reading …. 

 

Ramblings Of A Working Mom

Sunday August 6, 2017
By Yasmin Helal

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The notion of achieving a work-life balance is truly flawed. It implies that work and life don’t meet. That life begins as work ends, which could never be true, regardless of what work really represents to us (a means to paying bills or a life purpose). Work is a part of life and a major one too, its impact reflects on most other aspects: on our health and wellbeing, financial security, and the time and energy we have for family and friends.

A few years ago, I became aware that a better and more realistic state to aspire to… continue reading ….

 

She Can – Entreprenelle’s Empowering Event

Thursday July 27, 2017
By: Jaylan El Shazly

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Undeterred by the blazing July sun, some 200 women gathered at the Greater Cairo Library to participate in ‘She Can 2017’, an event organized by Entreprenelle. A mission driven enterprise that strives to empower local women economically, Enreprenelle organized this event to bring together women who push their limits and want to develop themselves as future leaders and entrepreneurs…. continue reading …

 

Hadia Abd Elfatah Fights For Women’s Rights, One Issue At A Time

Saturday July 22, 2017
By Alexandra Kinias

dydWhile many  women her age dream of their prince charming, wedding gowns and nurseries, Hadia Abdel Fattah dreams of safer streets and workplaces for women, gender equality, and women empowerment. At the age of twenty-nine, she is a face of women advocacy. Her life, time and efforts are dedicated to various women issues. On top of her priorities is the fight against sexual harassment. As a woman who encountered sexual harassment at a young age, like most Egyptian women, it became personal ….continue reading ….

 

3 Egyptian Women Tell About Their Intercultural Marriages

Saturday July 1, 2017
WOE Team

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The number of Egyptian women marrying foreign men of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds is increasing, defying the social customs and traditions. In the cyber age, love is no longer restrained by geographical boundaries. Dating is made easier through social networks and dating sites. And with more women travelling abroad to study or to work, it became easier to meet the men of their dreams. Is it only love that attracts women to intercultural relationships, or is it also because women feel that foreign men treat them better than Middle Eastern men? …. continue reading ….

 

It’s Huda Shaarawi’s 138th Birthday. Anyone Celebrating It?

Friday June 23, 2017
By: Alexandra Kinias

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Women empowerment is not a favorable subject of discussion in Middle Eastern countries, and women born and raised in these misogynist societies live in perpetual struggle to achieve tangible results.

Recently, I was asked by a young woman about Huda Shaarawi’s (1887 – 1947) accomplishments. What I first thought was a cynical question, turned out to be a real serious one. It was shocking to learn that …. continue reading …. 

 

Women Rights and Status in Ancient Egypt

Wednesday June 14, 2017
By: Alexandra Kinias

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For thousands of years, the warm golden rays of the sun shined over the glorious Egyptian civilization that flourished on the banks of the river Nile. The Egyptians excelled in medicine, astronomy, architecture, agriculture and sciences, but what made their civilization phenomenal was that women were respected and cherished. Ancient Egyptian women enjoyed more rights and better status than their peers in the neighboring lands, and they enjoyed more rights than their contemporary daughters….. continue reading …. 

 

The Fight for Women Rights – Book Review

Saturday February 25, 2017
By Alexandra Kinias

419gsb65xrl-_sx311_bo1204203200_All the women Gameela consulted, in Iman Refaat’s intriguing first novel, advised her not to destroy her marriage. “The shadow of a man is better than a shadow of a wall,” they told her. “For the sake of your children [don’t ask for a divorce]. You will be rejected. Women will avoid you in fear of stealing their husbands. You will disgrace your family, ruin your reputation. Men make mistakes,” they asserted her, “but a good woman is the one who protects her home and her family.” …. continue reading …. 

 

Your Son the Feminist

Saturday February 18, 2017
By: Nadeen El Fekky

girlwithtoycarsjpgAt the age of six, I felt like a misfit. I didn’t wear dresses, nor did I buy the latest Barbie dolls. I was the first kid in the family and I always wished I had an older brother or cousin who’d play with cars and science kits with me. Being all alone, I felt like an outsider every time I tried mingling with girls my age, I wasn’t fond of tea parties or Disney princesses, so I hung around with boys and I even played football with them….. continue reading …

 

Why Marriages in Egypt are Becoming Disposable?

Thursday January 26, 2017
By: Alexandra Kinias –

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Marriage is a partnership with shared responsibilities. But in Egypt, women’s share exceeds more than their partners’. Most Egyptian men, pampered and spoiled by their mothers, expect a wife’s role to be an extension of their mother’s, with benefits. So, while many proceed with their immature bachelor lifestyle, women take responsibility of the house and kids, and work a full time job. As the concept of family is distorted in the minds of many men, most women complain that their husbands rarely, if ever, help with the house chores or spend time with the kids….continue reading …. 

 

Her Dream to See Dresses Worn Again

Monday December 12, 2016
Written by Alexandra Kinias

The nostalgia to the Sixties, the Egyptian golden era as labeled by historians, leaves many people reminiscing about its beauty and elegance that lives only in their memories. Perhaps what is missed mostly is the freedom to wear dresses inspired by Parisian fashion that women wore then and walk in harassment-free streets; an incomprehensible image to today’s generation who are not only subjected to this perpetual and demeaning phenomenon on daily basis, but also blamed for it…. continue reading ….

 

 

Letter to My Daughter

Sunday November 13, 2016
By: Amany Zayed

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My dear daughter,
Today as we celebrate your 10th birthday, an occasion even more special than the previous ones, I wrote you this letter to share some thoughts and feelings I couldn’t tell or show you before. Today marks the end of a phase in your life and the beginning of a new one. As tomorrow comes, you will be walking away from your childhood and taking your first steps towards adolescence. I have to admit how challenging it is to summarize ten years in few lines, so the best way to start is from the very beginning of me and you….. continue reading ….

 

Marriage: Our Liberator, Savior and Non-negotiable Future

October 21, 2016
By: Malak Sekaly

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The first time I was told that I’d be ‘free’ when I’m married my mind tried to carefully wrap itself around the words coming through my ears. What did my mother mean when she said that I’d be free? Free to do what exactly? Free to speak my mind, wear the clothes I prefer, or free to exist as I already do? … continue reading …. 

 

Beyond Labels

October 14, 2016
By: Noha Hassan —

What’s your label? Are you single, married, divorced or widowed? Are you childless, overweight, ugly, beautiful, tall or short? Are you easy to get, open- minded, conservative, veiled, unveiled, wealthy or poor? Throughout our lives, we as women are labelled, pigeon-holed and corralled. Why does it happen and what should we do about it?

This constant classification of women is a means of controlling our lives, limiting our potential and banishing us to secondary roles. It may not be pre-meditated, but the casual manner in which society labels women reveals a great deal about ….continue reading …