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The Daily Need

Women in the new Egypt: A cyber-activist’s perspective

Perhaps one of the most memorable facets of Egypt’s pro-democracy uprisings earlier this year was the strong presence of women in the (largely peaceful) demonstrations that took place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in other Egyptian public arenas. The revolutionary images broadcast around the world showed Egyptian women from all walks of life joining their male counterparts in the often dangerous rallies leading up the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

This period of gender equality, however, was short lived, as many Egyptian women discovered a few weeks ago, when activists issued a call for a “Million Woman March” in Tahrir Square to commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8. The public space that had become synonymous with peaceful revolution was no longer hospitable to the same women that had populated it during the historic protests. Rather, many groups of men dogged female participants and admonished them to “return home and take care of their families.”

Dalia Ziada, a prominent Egyptian cyber-activist and blogger, recently spoke to us about the growing marginalization of women in Egypt’s political sphere following Mubarak’s departure at the Newsbeast Women in the World conference in New York City. On the eve of Egypt’s constitutional referendum — the first free election in 18 years — Ziada, 29, discusses the importance of including women’s voices in the committee that is responsible for revising the country’s constitution, and speaks to the importance of women’s rights in any true democratic state.

This video is a collaboration between Need to Know and Women, War & Peace, an upcoming PBS special series on the changing role of women in war and post-conflict peacebuilding.

Protest footage courtesy of Al Jazeera.

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  • Vanessa

    Double standards need to be pointed out to these men. “Woman of Egypt, unite and refuse your husbands demands. Post what you are going through on the Internet so you will get world wide approval. This is the safest and best way to establish equal rights. Good luck to you.

  • cassandra

    I agree with the above statement. Gain world wide support. It may not be easy for the men in your life to understand what you are doing or why, but do it for your equal voice. Do it so your daughters are participants in government and law making. Do it so women are representedas equal citizens. I would come to the sqaure just to stand with the women. We had to up through something similar in the states to establish our equal rights, and it was and still is a slow process. Show the men why its important and ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes. Stand strong!

  • SooooznQ

    Wouldn’t it be great if women in the middle east had their OWN country, run by women? Wonder how things would turn out?

  • Joolikins

    I would move there… :)

  • Darkoverlord

    I like the show. I really like the hostess Aliceson.I’ve watched her over the years,she just keeps getting more beautiful in the most natural way. She’s not overly dressed up and has a serious look about what she’s discussing. I admit I find her ears beautiful with her hair pulled back.The show on the sis from Liberia really hit the mark I hope alot of Afrikan women in Amerikkan and around the world get to hear and see what this sis is talking about.