START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
927,528 people care about Women's Rights

Gender Barriers Break In Egyptian Protests

Gender Barriers Break In Egyptian Protests

All of the coverage of the protests in Egypt got me thinking about what, exactly, the perspective is for the women who also want to take to the streets.  A New York Times article had a hopeful perspective, suggesting that social media and the general feeling of social upheaval have made it easier for women to participate in and even help organize the protests that seem to be leading to the Egyptian president’s downfall.

A week ago, women were estimated to be a stunning 20 to 50 percent of the crowds that called for Mubarak’s resignation, where in past protests women have only comprised about 10 percent of the turnout, mostly because of the risk of sexual harassment.  And in later protests, women were warned to keep away, although as the crowds have grown, this may have changed.

“Female participation is at an equal standing — just like male participation — and female demonstrators are not shying away from marching despite the tear gas,” Amr Hamzawy, a research director at the Carnegie Middle East Center, told the New York Times. “It’s very impressive.  It’s not about male and female, it’s about everyone.”

Even some of the protest organizers are women.  Esraa Abdel Fattah, a political activist whose imprisonment in 2009 made her a symbol of resistance, is helming the protests, but her presence has not meant significant participation from women during past events, which suggests that there is something different about this time.  Some have speculated that the inspiration from Tunisia, as well as initial promises that these protests would be safer, drew women onto the streets.

Asmaa Mahfouz, a twenty-six-year-old woman, made a video a week before the protests in which she urged fellow Egyptians not to be afraid.  She is now one of the leaders in a group that uses social media to reach out to the country’s youth.

Perhaps all of this has something to do with what the NYT calls the feeling on the streets of Egypt: national empowerment.  “I am not socialist, I am not a liberal, I am not an Islamist,” explained a school counselor who emerged as a group leader among the people clogging Cairo’s streets.  “I am an Egyptian woman, a regular woman rejecting injustice and corruption in my country.”

It will be interesting to see how this apparently gender-defying empowerment manifests under the new regime.  But for now, it’s inspiring to see men and women on the streets together, demanding change.

Read more: , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo from Flickr.

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

43 comments

+ add your own
8:48PM PST on Feb 8, 2011

noted and thanx

10:20AM PST on Feb 6, 2011

I've also seen on News that Christians and Muslims are meeting to pray together. These are great news from the Egyptian people.

6:11AM PST on Feb 6, 2011

Asmaa Mahfouz post that helped Spark the Revolution in Egypt
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgjIgMdsEuk

Bravest girl in Egypt translated into English
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwIY6ivf70A

Muslims Christians We Are All Egyptians
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU1P0QpQMx4

7:49AM PST on Feb 5, 2011

Go sisters!

4:30PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

IMAN BIBARS, CONCLUSION, HOPEFULLY

vany means to go in or out.
The state TV is sending wrong images and stories and lying to the people of Egypt, the regime and its NDP are sending thugs and some paid youth to start fights with the heroes of the liberation square and our youth are in deep danger. They are being under siege now and are being attacked by disguised thugs and security forces, the army has blocked all inroads to the liberation square and the mercenaries of the regime are beating and attacking women, girls and young men whose only demand was freedom and liberty.
If we can reach all Egyptians everywhere and tell them that the revolution is not and will not be over, I met several young people and they said that they are willing to die for Egypt in the liberation square but we do not want to sacrifice those clean souls. Please let’s all see a way to save them and tell all of Egypt that the mercenaries of the regime are the ones taking to the street now and that no one should give up the demands for a better and more liberated and free Egypt. Please do not believe the state TV for there are no outside forces or traitors among the revolutionaries who wanted our pride and self-worth and respect to return to us.
Iman Bibars, PhD
Leadership Team Member
Vice President, Ashoka
Regional Director, Ashoka Arab World
ibibars@ashoka.org
93 Abdel Aziz Al Saud St., 7th floor, Apt 1
Manial, Cairo, Egypt.
Tel: (+202) 25328586 - 23655336 - 25314775 - 25314779
Fax: (

4:28PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

Dr. Iman Bibars - sorry, this should be the conclusion or close to it

, those traitors who abandoned their posts and allowed our children and families to die, be attacked and vandalized. Many of the looters and thugs were reported were associated one way or the other with the police. They did not mind that mothers, elders and children be terrorized in an effort to abort the revolution and scare all of the liberation square heroes away from their main battle. They did not care and frankly this is what the last regime had shown over and over again, that they do not care for us, for the Egyptians or for Egypt. That is why they should not stay, they should go, they should not be allowed to rule or govern as they are in reality traitors who hate us. No one who loves his country and its people would have allowed the scandal and shameful behavior of the security forces not only in murdering and torturing the protesters but more so in terrorizing the kind people of Egypt by opening the prisons, and sending their own thugs to steal, loot and vandalize shops, homes and the nice and simple Egyptian families.
Now at this moment and after the maneuvers of the state , a peaceful transition of power is becoming less of a reality and clashes between the youth of Egypt, the real revolutionaries and those pushed and prompted by the state and the NDP is going on now. I just learned that the liberation square is completely blocked and the army tanks are around it and also blocking any means

4:24PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

I am as you all know quite mature (i.e. old) and have been here since the 60s and I have worked with the people and in the streets and was naïve enough to try to enter politics believing that this country needed those who loved her and who would give more than they would take. I was burnt and burnt hard and not only from the government but from the pretenders or those who played the roles of defenders of human rights or of the people but who in many cases found it lucrative to play that role. My mistake was that I always followed my conscience and what I thought was right and was neither extreme left nor extreme right. What happened in Egypt during the last 5 years at least what I found out broke my heart and I started thinking and acting seriously to leave the country to go and live somewhere else. I did not feel there was any hope left.
But then on the 25th and when I was home and discovering the internet world , face book and you tube for the first time in my life, I also rediscovered Egypt, the Egypt I have read about and dreamed about. The brave and noble youth of Egypt have resurrected our pride and soul. They have revived the real spirit and soul of Egypt. They have taken away our shame of being so spineless and useless for decades. They have and for the first time in our history carried a real people's revolution at least during my life time.
They managed to reveal the true face of our security and police forces, those traitors who abandoned their posts and all

4:23PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

Conclusion of Comments Received from Dr. Iman Bibars,
ASHOKA MENA on the ground in Cairo


I am as you all know quite mature (i.e. old) and have been here since the 60s and I have worked with the people and in the streets and was naïve enough to try to enter politics believing that this country needed those who loved her and who would give more than they would take. I was burnt and burnt hard and not only from the government but from the pretenders or those who played the roles of defenders of human rights or of the people but who in many cases found it lucrative to play that role. My mistake was that I always followed my conscience and what I thought was right and was neither extreme left nor extreme right. What happened in Egypt during the last 5 years at least what I found out broke my heart and I started thinking and acting seriously to leave the country to go and live somewhere else. I did not feel there was any hope left.
But then on the 25th and when I was home and discovering the internet world , face book and you tube for the first time in my life, I also rediscovered Egypt, the Egypt I have read about and dreamed about. The brave and noble youth of Egypt have resurrected our pride and soul. They have revived the real spirit and soul of Egypt. They have taken away our shame of being so spineless and useless for decades. They have and for the first time in our history carried a real people's revolution at least during my life time.
They managed to reveal t

4:22PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

Received yesterday from Dr. Iman Bibars, ASHOKA Middle East North Africa on the ground in Cairo
-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Boone
Sent: Wed, Feb 2, 2011 11:06 am
Subject: WORD FROM INSIDE EGYPT : Please share
Dear Friends and colleagues
This is a letter to all of my friends and colleagues who sent warm and kind words of encouragement to me , my family and all of the Egyptians at these very tough times.
What has happened in Egypt the last week or more is unprecedented and is a wonderful and revitalizing experience for all Egyptians who love this country? This is our first real people revolution and it is fueled by wonderful and great young men and women from all walks of Egypt. The liberation square has become a symbol for all our sufferings and also our victories. I cannot claim that I have suffered as many Egyptians did and many of the young revolutionaries asked me why am I supporting them although I have been benefiting (their words) or have not been harmed by the old regime. My only answer was that I loved Egypt and that to be loyal and patriotic to this country means that you want the best for her and you want her to be free and her people to be liberated and treated as humans. For me Egypt is a she, a her and the mother of all Egyptians and the matriarch that has kept us all in her bosom and nurtured us whether we were grateful or not. And what the regime of husni Mubarak and the security apparatus headed by the war criminal habib al adly have done to us

7:51AM PST on Feb 4, 2011

good to see so many women involved.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

Hope the cows are happy at the sanctuary.

juana: Medical marijuana is taxed far less than recreational pot, to the tune of 2.9%. On average one…

I never heard of SNAP before. It sounds like a great idea to help out. Thanks for the info.

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.