EGYPT: Parties and Civil Society Organisations Decry Marginalisation of Women in Country's Transition

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Daily News Egypt
Northern Africa
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Four political parties and seven civil society organisations strongly criticised the passage of laws dealing with upcoming parliamentary elections without consultation with women's groups and organisations.
The signatories to a statement issued on Sunday expressed “deep resentment” that the proposals of women's groups were not heard “in relation to the electoral system to optimise enabling women to meaningfully and effectively participate in the upcoming House of Representatives elections.”

Holding dialogue with such organisations was necessary to “ensure a fair and democratic electoral process and ensure fair and appropriate representation for all groups of citizens.”
Appropriate consultation with women's groups before passing legislation would “lead to fair representation of women in the council,” according to the groups.

Interim president Adly Mansour issued a presidential decree last month, forming a committee to amend the Political Participation Law. No women were included in the committee's formation, something the critical organisations called “a clear requirement”.
The signatories demanded that the committee formed by Mansour meet with members of women's rights groups and civil society organisations before amending the Political Participation Law “to achieve consensus on the form of the next lower house elections and ensure the achievements and demands of all segments of Egyptian society.”

Groups that signed the statement included the Women Secretariat of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), the Bread and Freedom Party, the Masr Al-Hurreya Party, Nazra for Feminist Studies, and the Cairo Centre for Development.
Al-Dostour Party, which also signed Sunday's statement, became the first political party to elect a female leader last February when its members selected Hala Shukrallah as chairwoman.

Last week a group of political parties also slammed the way in which election laws were being issued. The ESDP and Free Egyptians Party called on the committee to be more inclusive in its activities in order to avoid exclusion.
The Constituent Assembly that amended the 2012 constitution following former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster only had five women in it out of 50 members.