Wednesday 23 September 2009

Egyptian women to fight harrasment disease

It looks like Egypt is famous for only two things. The Pyramids and Sexual Harrasment of Women. I did post about the problem some months back and now its in news again.

Egypt's Centre for Women's Rights conducted a survey last year which revealed that 93 per cent of Egyptian women have endured harassment of some sort at least once.

For some, what should be a leisurely stroll through the streets of Cairo, Egypt's capital, has become more like a gauntlet run.

Campaigners say the male-dominated society leaves women feeling vulnerable and unprotected by traditional forces like the police.

The problem has become so acute that the government is now considering making the abuse a criminal offence.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera's Amr el-Khaky meets a group of women in Cairo who are taking the fight in their own hands: they are taking lessons in karate.

Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian writer and activist, says that almost every woman she knows has been sexually harassed or groped.

"It is no exaggeration to say this is an epidemic," she says.

"This is much more than sexual frustration.

"This is about power, about humiliation, about the way women have been portrayed, not just in the media but also through religious sermons.

"… The respect that Islam gives to women ... is missing from a lot of religious discourse in Egypt."

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