PRESS RELEASE: 17 December 2013
Henry Jackson Society report – Marginalising Egyptian Women – shows the role the post-Revolution Egyptian government played restricting women’s rights in the public sphere through sexual violence and political marginalisation
Marginalising Egyptian Women, a new report by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), provides an examination of the limitations imposed on women’s rights within the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist ideological and political framework.
The report’s findings are based on extensive first-hand interviews carried out by the report’s author Emily Dyer during her time in Cairo with leading Muslim Brotherhood politicians, women’s rights activists and NGO workers. The report looks as how the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), took steps to impose total control over women in public spaces, and finds that the state played an instrumental role in reversing women’s rights and restricting their roles in society.
Key findings include:
- The FJP blamed female victims of harassment, which played a major part in creating a culture acceptability surrounding sexual violence towards women
- Egyptian law and constitution prevents sexual attackers from being successfully brought to justice. The Egyptian police force often act as attackers rather than protectors
- The state’s push for sexual segregation in public spaces has helped worsen the causes behind sexual harassment, rather than acting as a solution
- The FJP attempted to exert control over women’s bodies through opposing the ban against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), wrongly justifying it as both a religious obligation and medical necessity
- The FJP launched a full-scale crackdown on women’s rights NGOs through stigmatisation, intimidation, divisive tactics and greater restrictions on their freedoms and activities
- Political participation among Egyptian was forced to an all-time low following the 2011 revolution. Female parliamentary representation sank from 20% under President Mubarak to 3% under President Morsi
- Women were pushed out of the public sphere at all levels. Female political representation was brought to an all-time low under the Muslim Brotherhood – despite an increased appetite among Egyptian women to participate in politics.
Author of the report, Emily Dyer, said:
‘The problems facing women in Egypt today were made worse by Egypt’s first democratically elected government. Women’s ability to create change has come under direct attack from those in power and sexual violence continues to be used as a political tool. Just a few weeks ago, female activists were reportedly rounded up off the streets, sexually abused by the police and left in the desert outside Cairo.’
‘This report forces us to look at issues which are so often ignored, many of which are faced by women not only in Egypt, but by women across Africa, the Middle East and, shockingly, even here in the UK.’
For more information on the exclusive findings of this report, please contact author Emily Dyer at 020 7340 4520 & email@example.com