Tag Archives: Egyptian women

A Single Egyptian Woman In Cairo

Single women throughout the world live in apartments, travel alone and enjoy nights out with friends of both sexes. Layla is a 31 year old graduate of college who obtained a job in Cairo and after several months of commuting decided to end four hours of daily traveling in exchange for a comfortable apartment near her work place. At that point, she encountered a prejudice that only single female Egyptian women encounter in the quest for living space. She contacted the manager of an apartment building in which several foreigners lived, but was told by the owner of the building that he “doesn’t like Egyptians.” At the next place the owner did not like girls(single ones, that is). As Asama Fareg, director of a shelter for women puts it: “in the Egyptian society, a woman has no choice. She can’t live by herself, she has to live with her parents or with her husband.”

Sometimes it is difficult to reconcile 21st century life in some parts of the planet with other parts, particularly when discussing issues of gender. Oh well, we have another 90 years to go before the century concludes.

Egyptian Women FIGHT Sexual Harassment

There is a new phenomenon in Egypt as women begin to fight back against sexual harassment by men which even occurs in the course of daily life. Dozens of women are now taking karate to learn tactics of dealing with men who like to grope a woman walking in the street. A year ago during a Muslim holiday, young men went wild in the streets feeling and touching women in an orgy of sexual harassment. Self defense classes are cropping up all over Egypt as women have come out of the closet and are ready to confront men in the open on the streets of their nation. Even the government which ordinarily does not even wish to admit there is such a thing as harassment of women on the streets of Cairo is finally discussing the possibility of passing new legislation.

A recent report indicates that 83% of egyptian women and 98% of foreign women said they have been sexually harassed. In an even more startling result of the survey, 62.4% of men admitted they sexually assaulted women! Ironically, the survey reveals even women dressed in traditional clothes are subject to harassment.

Egyptian women rarely report this harassment but the emergence of Facebook and MySpace has provided women a venue to share their complaints and to organize women to fight back. A campaign on Facebook to fight back is called, “Respect Yourself” and now has 48,000 members.

Sexual Harassment Finally Punished In Egypt!

The first sexual harassment case in the history of Egyptian courts resulted in a landmark three year prison sentence being imposed on the accused. Sherief Gomas Gibrial, a driver, was sentenced to jail and fined in the first such sentence being imposed on any male who harassed a woman in Egypt. The verdict indicated Egypt’s courts are ready to crack down on sexual abuse on the streets of Cairo which result in women being groped, have their clothes torn, and forcibly kissed and fondled by strange men who assume a woman must accede to male desires. The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights said: “This sentence sends a message to all segments of Egyptian society that sexual harassment is a crime and will not be tolerated.”

The defendant, Noha Roushdy, was assaulted in broad daylight by Mr. Gibrial who got out of his car and fondled her before jumping back and drive away. Most bystanders yelled at Ms. Roushdy for wearing clothes that led to the assault. It is amazing that women in a Muslim society that constantly decries the excesses of Western society allows such behavior on the streets of Cairo.