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Islamists Win Egyptian Elections, Women Marginalized

Islamists Win Egyptian Elections, Women Marginalized
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Final results for the first parliamentary elections in Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was deposed have been tabulated. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has won the largest number of seats for the lower house of Parliament, 47 percent, and the hardline Islamist Al-Nour party 29 percent. The liberal New Wafd party won about 7 percent of the seats, placing third, and the secular Egyptian Bloc coalition came in fourth. The Revolution Continues coalition, which is mainly comprised of youth groups who led the pro-democratic protests, received only 7 seats.

Women will be scarcely represented. Women have won only about 8 seats, fewer than 2 percent of Egypt’s Parliament. Dalia Abdel Hamid, the gender officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, described the results as “disastrous.” An activist who ran for Parliament, Dalia Ziada, recalls protesting in Tahrir Square with Egyptians of different beliefs, backgrounds and genders and now feels “betrayal from our companions.”

Islamists Prevail in Elections

Egyptians had voted in in three phases over six weeks to elect 498 members of the People’s Assembly. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), the military government that has been governing Egypt since Mubarak’s fall, will be appointing ten seats. Voter turnout was 54 percent in the polls, says the election commission.

Saad al-Katatni, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official who had previously sat in Egypt’s parliament as an independent, has been selected as speaker.

The elections results make it clear that Islamist will “wield major influence over a new constitution,” which parliament is now charged to draft. However, it will ultimately be the president who chooses the government, says the BBC’s Jon Leyne ,”so the winners of this election do not automatically take office.” A new president will be elected in June under a timetable set by the SCAF.

Electoral Quotas For Women in Arab Countries

A number of Arab countries including Tunisia and Iraq have electoral quotas to improve the likelihood of women being elected into Parliament. Such quotas were introduced in Egypt in 1979 but have been viewed with suspicion; as NPR notes, under Mubarak, quotas were seen as a way to “stack the Parliament unfairly.” 

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Photo taken in February of 2011 in Tahrir Square by Al Jazeera English

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302 comments

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2:11AM PST on Feb 15, 2012

Janice. You say:--

"I do not believe your assertion that HALF of all Islamic countries allow their women to work. Most of them do not even allow them to drive."

And this from a person who says she has an IQ of 170 ! You seem sorely to lack reading skills. I said that in many Muslim countries, women form half of the university population. And do a little research on your driving allegation. When you've done that you can come back and tell me that the KSA is the only Muslim country where women can't drive.

As for my language skills, I make a living as a translator and checking other people's translations. You can see my languages on my profile.

Lastly, the "I don't hate Muslims because I dated [an Islamic guy]" statement is totally redundant. It's an equivalent to saying "I'm not anti-semitic because one of my friends is a Jew".

9:19PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@John,
I do not hate them. I dated an Islamic guy from India for a year and my only complaint about him was that he cheated at Monopoly. I do not believe your assertion that HALF of all Islamic countries allow their women to work. Most of them do not even allow them to drive. Also in some of the countries many of the women's rights are under siege, Egypt and Afghanistan for example. And by the way I have 170 IQ and speak besides English, Chinese, French and a little Russian. How about you?

7:46PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

And ther female children in India and China who are left to die or killed, this is Islam too, is it?

Get a life.

7:21PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@John,
One more thing. Why don't you go online and look up all the abuses that are heaped onto Islamic women and children every day? Read about the Afghan female legislator who was at first left outside to die by her mother because she knew her husband would not want a female child. What kind of religion of 'peace and women's rights' treats girl babies this way? Read about the attempts that have been made on her life since she became a legislator. My God, you're so ignorant about the reality of the lives of these people. Even in the Koran itself, the original, not the cleaned up English version, it talks about Mohammed taking a 9 year old wife to bed, his second wife, Aisha. Does this mean nothing to you? Education, dude, education!

7:13PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@John D,

Thanks for giving me my biggest laugh of the day! I just about died laughing when I read your comment! So the 13 year old who was beheaded for flirting, that was their version of peace and women's rights, was it? And the guy who killed his 3 daughters and his first wife (in the states or Canada) that was also peace and rights? And the ladies who aren't allowed to drive? And the ones who aren't allowed to leave their house without being accompanied by a male relative? That's your version of women's rights? And that poor old woman who had young men whom she'd known all their lives (the men in her family were all dead) buying food for her (she paid for it) and bringing it to her door but she was found to be in violation of the law (they weren't related to her-so that was a no no) so she was whipped some 50 or maybe more (I forget) times for it. That's all women's rights? And the women who aren't allowed to choose their own husbands but are forced to marry relatives who in some cases they despise, that's women's rights and peace too, huh?

To quote the last lines of a poem by a famous poet;
Charm us, oh orator,
till the lion look no larger than the cat.

7:11PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Janice M. Your brain has never been switched on. I live in a Muslim country and a large proportion of women work. Women form half of the university population in most Muslim countries.

Where does your hatred come from?

6:01PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Ernest R and Janice M.

Youir comments reveal a startling ignorance of Islam, the religion of peace. In fact the Quran codifies and gives far more rights to women than were ever allowed at the time and far more than Judaism and Christianity.

5:07PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@Ernest,
The whole problem began with the concept of 'property'. The Christian who murders his wife because she's been at it with another man does so either out of rage or because he views her as 'his', his property. Islamics have the problem even worse, killing women and girls on the slightest smallest infractions (wearing the wrong clothes, flirting, etc.) because they view them as property and as that only. From some of the things I've read, written by Islamic women, women and girl children aren't viewed as much else. They aren't given as much value as animals by many Islamics. Until the people of the world stop viewing women and children as property they won't stop killing them.

4:57PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@ John D.. “when a Christian husband kills his wife because she's been at it with the milkman? Is that different?” Of course it is, but as a card carrying Islamophile you can’t see that, can you ? when a Christian husband kills his wife because she's been at it with the milkman? Is that different? My feeling toward Muslims is not so much hate, as disgust, even though the Good Book tells us “there is a time to hate.”




3:41PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

@John,
Dude, do you turn your brain off? It seems that way. I said that China only allows one child per family and that since Chinese believe that boys can make more money than girls some abandon their girl babies. This is not the reason Islamic women sometimes do it. They do it so that their daughters won't suffer the fate of being female in an Islamic culture. It has nothing to do with how much money they can make since in most Islamic cultures women are never allowed to go outside of the home and make money anyway. Read a little on these Islamic people that you're so enamored of!

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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