WOMEN WAR & PEACE | PBS

Women in the New Egypt: A Cyber-Activist’s Perspective

March 21, 2011 | Lauren Feeney and Jeanne Park

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, 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, talks about 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 Women, War & Peace and PBS’s Need to Know. Protest footage courtesy of Al Jazeera.

Comments

  1. Valerie Smith says:

    Isn’t it wretched that it took almost 150 years for women to get to vote in the US after we achieved through revolution, the establishment of a democratic republic as Egyptians seem to have just beyond their grasp? Please don’t tell me that today…when there are examples even in the Middle East & other Islamic countries where women have the right to vote, become representatives in government or even Prime Ministers that Dalia Ziada is correct… that a male-dominated system, such as the military, is entrenched & calling the shots (no pun intended), & as long as they do… women will be shut out! Hopefully, not for 150 years.

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