Written By: Reda El-Danbouki
As you read this blog entry, please be thinking about your own rights.
Message from Egypt to the World
Reda El-Danbouki, the human rights activist and executive manager of the Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, is calling on all of Egypt’s women parliament members to talk about and work on the following recommended changes to the laws.
How to Fix Egypt’s Gender Inequality:
01. There is a need for a law regarding family violence. Every attack on a woman that causes her physical or emotional harm, or has the potential to cause such harm, when it occurs inside the family unit or someone that hold authority (such as male guardianship) over the woman, whether it’s her husband, father, brother, etc., will be punished with 2 years in prison or a charge of 20,000 Egyptian Pounds. Should the crime occur again, the previous penalty will be doubled. This crime is inclusive of rape, both the harassment and sexual harassment of women, and blaming women for acting in a sexually ignorant manner.
02. Discrimination within the implementation of the laws regarding adultery must end.
Adultery carried out by a married woman can currently be proven by a witness in any location. However, adultery carried out by a married man is only able to be proven by witnessing the act within the man’s bedroom. There is also discrimination within the punishment of men and women that have committed (or are accused of committing) adultery. The same circumstances must apply to all parties. A man convicted of this crime faces up to 6 months in jail, while a woman, after being charged, faces a prison sentence of 2 years. This is a violation of the principals of equality within incrimination and punishment, which appears in Islamic Sharia law and appears in Article #2 of the CEDAW agreement.
03. Regarding the criminalization of FGM (female genital mutilation), the current penalty is very ineffective and doesn’t achieve deterrence. This structure needs to be strengthened by increasing both the minimum and maximum penalty.
04. Christian women should have the right to remarry after an official (court) divorce. The church must be obligated to accept and document the second marriage, and allow the women to enter the church and take part in all religious ceremonies.
05. The current written laws of inheritance are completely empty of any articles that punish the withholding or wrongful distribution of inheritance. This failure in the law must be corrected. There must be punishment for the neglect of the law.
06. The violation of equality in the form of not appointing women in ministries and not appointing women as judges in the country’s governing courts violates the constitution which says, “Civilians, in the eyes of the law, must be equal in their rights, liberties, and general obligations, and shouldn’t be discriminated against because of gender, religion, language, beliefs, and their appointment into public jobs should be according to their availability.” This phrase, unfortunately, has no existence in today’s reality.