The recent Egyptian national election for parliament revealed a disgraceful result in terms of the election of women. It was revealed that no more than eight women were elected, which means only one and a half percent of the total number of the new Egyptian parliament is represented by women. As a result, speculation began to circulate that the Egyptian Higher Military Council might appoint ten women to the new parliament. Even if this will be accomplished, their percentage will be no more than two percent. The rules set prior to the election stated that half the members of the future parliament should consist of workers and farmers. Even such specification is not accurate, because most of those who were elected are neither workers nor farmers.
Furthermore, the rules of the election should have been more specific in regard to other segments of the Egyptian population, such as women, who constitute more than 50% of the total population of Egypt. Also, more than 30% of Egyptian women are the main economic supporters of their households.
Throughout history, Egyptian women in general have played a very important role in Egypt’s economic, political and social developments. The Egyptian revolution of January 25, 2011 reflects the role of Egyptian women who stood side by side with men in support of the uprising. In many situations, as an eyewitness of that revolution, I saw women carrying their babies while protesting. I have seen women helping to clean the debris from the ground of Tahrir Square. I saw female doctors and nurses treating wounded men who were shot and/or brutalized by the Egyptian security forces. I saw young ladies being beaten by Egyptian security forces. According to international human rights organizations, more than one hundred women who were arrested during the protests were sexually assaulted by soldiers and security agents. (NYT, 1/10/2012).
The Egyptian Higher Military Council and the political leadership of parties who ran for election failed miserably to emphasize women’s rights during the election. It seems to be that all of these parties are not that different from the Muslim Salafis in terms of their views about the role of Egyptian women in society.
Furthermore, the Egyptian Copts, who constitute more than 11% of the total population, did not get enough members in parliament to be consistent with their numbers. Also, the young Egyptians who started the uprising and were the vanguards of the Egyptian revolution were marginalized by the military and the various political parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood group. May God have mercy on Egyptian society.