-------- "This is the time for action not only words, use your God given gifts to develop this country, dont be afraid to speak up, and feel PROUD THAT U R EGYPTIAN." -------- Mohaly, Feb 2011

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

556) Women Treatment in Egypt !

I am wondering why didn't you discuss such important topic that was raised by Mona in post 553, I am re-publishing it again for discussion...

Mona said:
I have a burning question that I cannot hold in any longer, so I am just going to ask it anyway. The bad treatment of women in Egypt has been making the international news for awhile. I mean it is to extent that they are starting to warn female tourists of the danger they will be subjected to during their stay in Egypt.
Do you think it is an exaggeration or it's for real?


Love Histories said...

women threatmen.. everything is real..

Omar Rostom said...

i dunno about egyptian women, but i think that men harass foriegn women because of they dont understand the cultutral differences, when they see western women wearing that open, kissing men, dancing...etc they think that it is an easy thing coz they compare it with egyptian women attittudes.

Mona said...

Thanks Mohaly for posting my question for discussion.

I was not surprised that no one has commented on my question in the previous post -- they mentioned in the news that women are afraid to speak out in Egypt, and it proves to be true. I understand that speaking out might be a difficult (but not impossible) choice to make.

Gannah said...

الحقيقة يا منى أنا مندهشة لتحليلك والظاهر ان الإعلام لم ينصف المرأة تماما ..المرأة المصرية الآن تتكلم فى كل شىء بدون خوف وانا شخصيا لم أرد على سؤالك لانى خارج مصر ولا أتواجد الا فى الاجازة الصيفية وبالتالى متابعتى للموضوع لن تكون دقيقة..ولكن فى حدود معلوماتى فهناك مبالغات تولدت نتيجة حوادث التحرش الجماعى التى تكررت فى القاهرة والتى حاول علماء المجتمع والطب النفسى تفسيرها بشتى الطرق ..هذه الحوادث أوجدت تخوفات لدى الجميع ومنهم المراة المصرية العادية ولكن اذا كنتِ ممن تتبعوا هذه الحوادث فستعرفين انها لا تحدث الا فى ظروف معينة ولكنها بالطبع مرعبة ولا أتصور كيف استطاعت أى فتاة أن تتجاوز رعب هذه اللحظات..أما التحرش بالسائحات فقد يكون موجودا كما ذكر عمر ولكنه حوادث فردية يمكن أن تتعرض لها المرأة فى أى مكان فى العالم ولا تمثل ظاهرة تستوجب تحذير السائحات من القدوم الا مصر وكما ان هناك رجالا يتحرشون بالنساء هناك أيضا رجال ما زالت لديهم النخوة والشهامة لوقف مثل هذه التجاوزات
كنت أتمنى أن تكون معلوماتى أكثر وأدق ولكنى أشعر أن فكرتك عن المرأة المصرية مستقاه من الاعلام الذى كثيرا ما يبالغ

Mona said...

Thanks Gannah, I am surprised myself that I have come to that conclusion.

amina said...

Love History, I cant find it

amina said...

I think it is part of the nature of men in Egypt. Ana bat3akes kol yom and i am mo7agaba (begad).

Jamal said...

ehna hanefdal netabtab 3al women le7ad emta
women are created to help men, please men, we keda, so batalo tedaya3o wa2toko fel kalam 3al mar2a we 7e2o22 el mar2a we mo3akeset el mar2a
we yekon fe 3elmokom en el set eli matet3akesh betgheer men el set eli betet3akes!

Mona said...

Based on some new information that has come to my attention, I re-examined my statement about women's "fear" of speaking out in Egypt, and I guess I would like to add to that: women's feelings of "injustice," "inadequacy," and "hopelessness."

amina said...

Jamal who gave you the right to talk like that. I am wondering how the blog readers who are mostly women didn't answer you.

Jamal not all the women are the same!

Mona said...

Amina, That's O.K., that is democracy and freedom of speech.

By the way Amina, if you go back to post 545) "Watch out for what you give women!!" and read what Hisham posted in there, in the comments section, you will find out that Jamal is not the only one who feels this way about women.

amina said...

Thanks Mona, but that is rudness not speech!

Mona said...

I was actually amused by Jamal's unearned sense of entitlement just because he was born as a male. And I am not sure why, but when I read his post I could not help but to remember Martin Luther King Jr. famous speech "I have a dream."

And for this occasion, I prepared this verse which is borrowed from Martin's speech with minor changes:

"I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their gender but by the content of their character. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed- We hold these truths to be self-evident- that all men and women are created equal."

Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. dream.

Noblese said...

Hi everyone, I came across this link


It has interesting insights of the society. What do you think?

Mona said...

Good Job Noblese! Thanks for the great findings, which is in alignment with what I suspected, researched, and experienced first hand.

WEN said...

Hello All,

I cam across this blog and it is my first time to share discussions even in any blogs.

But Mona, I liked your topic and it is true that it is not safe anymore to walk in the streets of el ma7rousa as they used to call it.

If i didn't park my car close to the place i want to go....I really feel a burden walking in the streets. Even the police people who should protect us bey3aksoona.By the way, what you are talking about is not only in streets.... it is even there in Big Malls.

Gannah, trust me, it is not an exaggeration, but I guess this is going with the new phase of lack of ethics in the community lately.

Jammal, we are not complaining about women's right and we are not against your point about pleasing & helping men as you said. I totally agree that women shouldn't loose their feminine side, but also Men are created to protect women and secure them. This is the area where Mona is discussing.

Mona, back to you....still the freedom of women's talk and discussing various topics is not that acceptable in our culture....I sensed this with my male friends

Mona said...

Welcome to the blog. And thanks so much for your courage and constructive participation.

I am not sure what to say, the moral coma, double standards, injustice, inconsistency and irrationality of the culture is making me angry and sad at the same time.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Well, women are mistreated in Egypt on many levels. Sexual harassment is only one face of this mistreatment. Actually like what Amina said, sexual harassment is an Egyptian thing. To be more specific, verbal harassment is kind of an acceptable unacceptable behavior. Even in the old Egyptian movies we would see a man following a woman calling her "ya 2amar" and she replies by the infamous "ya sem". Such a behavior is unacceptable yet it was tolerated to a great extent. But somewhere in mid seventies, or the beginnings of the eighties men started to feel sore about the mere existence of women. And they found the best way to set their records straight. They started to abuse women. Women abuse is an individual choice, but amazingly it is widely spread. Some, decided to prove superiority by sexually harassing females. And instead of the "ya 2amar" they started enforcing what they know will hurt a woman "Sex".
I am not surprised of what Jamal wrote, because what he wrote reflects part of the reasons men feel sore. Some men believe that women were created to please them. Toys don't have rights, toys aren't equal to those who play with them. But how men chose to react to the change in what they thought was a toy position is what really surprises me. They took a primitive reaction, they claimed superiority based on physical differences. They claimed superiority because they are simply more strong. They used this power to get over the soreness. As if harassing or abusing a female in any other way would make her less human.
Unfortunately, men aren't superior. Actually men and women are equal, in rights and obligations. Yet they are different, and this difference is what's necessary to keep life on earth. A man only world can't function and so won't a woman only world. A thing that men and women usually forget, in terms of what they expect from the opposite sex. Women only see what they think are their lost rights and men only see what they think is their advantage over women.
So, women weren't really created to please men, the same way men weren't really created to please women. And it is not the differentiation that women suffer, but it is the discrimination.

As for Omar's point, I completely agree. And simply because Egyptian men think that because women and men abroad can have sex outside marriage this consequently makes a woman a slut.

And I agree with WEN that it isn't really easy for women to speak up their minds. It is not acceptable for a woman to talk about many things and even when she does, she risks the chance of being called every name in the book.

I don't know how I didn't notice Mona's question in the first place. I am not sure if a warning should be issued, though I am being harassed regularly but I still think that the Egyptian streets are safe, because you can always find help.
But it is my country, I know how to react. Maybe tourists should be aware of how to react when subjected to such a situation.

Mona said...

So if I understood Shimaa correctly, we have several issues on the table: Sexual harassment, gender discrimination, gender inequality, and sexual and verbal abuse.

So what are we going to do now to address these issues? (something other than fight or flight responses)

Shimaa Gamal said...

Good question Mona. I don't know how to impose change on the Egyptian community. And I don't have a clear idea about the type of change needed.

I am just back from Umrah. And I couldn't help but notice that Egyptians are better compared to many nationalities.
I met a Syrian girl, who is 21 yrs old and have been married since she was 14. She was asking about marriage in Egypt because she has been listening that things are too hard here. And she was astonished that I am 30 yrs old and not married yet. And when I replied that it is expected that girls won't marry before mid twenties because this is the age they finish their college degrees she asked and what about those who don't go to school?!
My point is, we are way ahead of such countries. We are way ahead of our neighbors except Israel. Only few Arab countries could be compared to us.

I think that spreading the idea that Egypt is better is the start. People lost belief in this country. People are leaving because they think this is the worst place on earth. They act aggressively as if hurting a fellow Egyptian is the only way to set the records straight.

I believe that the criteria of evaluating the Egyptian problems should change. To which countries are we comparing Egypt. Are we comparing Egypt to the 1940's Egypt? Was the 1940's Egypt better than this Egypt? Are we comparing Egypt to Arab countries? Are they better? Does having plenty of oil money means a better civilization?
Are we comparing Egypt to Europe and North America? What are the community problems do they have their?
But the thing is, Egyptians are best at complaining. We keep complaining and say nothing is good in the time it is logic to have something good even in the worst places.

Mona said...
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Mona said...

What I gathered from your post is that we have several other issues on the table for resolution:

- Early marriage vs. delayed marriage impact on the individuals and society;

- Finding the right balance between education for development and evolution and/or Education aimed to preserve the Egyptian/Arab heritage;

- Finding the right balance between individualism and collectivism;

- Finding the right balance between political correctness and freedom of speech;

- The necessity for ethics and peace education;

- The necessity of justice,law and order.

mary jacoub said...

Would anyone kindly tell me where the hell did you get the damn idea of (women mistreated in Egypt)from? i think everyone living outside Egypt and don't know what exactly's going on,should keep his or her idea to his or herself or lets they make us a favor and come to see how are we really are being treated.

Mona said...

That's an opinion, thanks Mary.

And we are so sorry that we won't be able to accommodate your request and eliminate or assassinate ideas here in this (one)post. We strongly believe that everyone is entitled to their views and beliefs and that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their views or belief systems.

We value diversity of thought and perspective, and we welcome cooperation, partnership, and teamwork.

Once again, thanks so much Mary for offering your perspective and for contributing to the discussion.

Mohaly said...

Tone down girls.

Thanks Mona.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Mary
Women are mistreated all over the world. It is more than enough that most men believe that Eve is the essence of all evil.
Women are being discriminated at. But things may not be as bad as it seems.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Mona
I am still feeling a bit off balance :) but I will try to explain what I really meant by my two long comments.

The mistreatment of women in Egypt takes many forms. The same way the mistreatment of women everywhere in the world.

I am personally with the differentiation between males and females but I am against discrimination. Discrimination is when a group of people or a person decide that he has the right to decide who is better based on only this criteria.

Sexual harassment is just a symptom of a problem and so is the other forms of mistreatment. The problem is discrimination. The discrimination that leads to lack of respect.
Men will talk about their female superior in very low language. I heard men mocking successful women because they are single and married to their jobs. This is discrimination. When only the gender of a person decides if he is to be respected or be taken lightly.

The example I gave about the Syrian girl I met was to say that Egypt is better than many countries even though we suffer from problems that they don't have.

For me the delayed marriage though many people think is a curse might really be a proof that we are more developed than many other communities and that women in Egypt have more rights and less discriminated at.
The Syrian girl I met didn't have enough education, if she ever had any, and it is acceptable in her country for women not to have education and consequently get married at the early age of 13 or 14.
We are way past this stage in Egypt.

So, the point is maybe what we think are problems are just signs of development. Women are being harassed now more than the past because more women are getting involved in the community. Women delay marriage because they have careers. Women are now ministers, business women, professors. So, maybe we are looking at the subject from the wrong perspective.

So, the question is how to wash off the discrimination against women from the community mind. ( Because even women discriminate against women)

mary jacoub said...

And as women are mistreated all over the world so why did you only write about Egyptian women? i sometimes feel that you don't belong to that country by any means instead of defending your home country...In the USA i don't think either that it's safe to walk in the street after 8p.m and don't tell me that that isn't true coz my family's living there in Santa Monica i agree that it's no longer safe like before but it's all over the world not only in Egypt we need yoyr support if you're living in a better environment to give us a push to be better coz i believe that we can.
p.s.don't follow the media in everything...

Mona said...

I am not sure who you were directing your message to, but if you were talking about me, my response is that, by speaking out, I am defending, helping and supporting my country and my people.

My philosophy stems from a Hadith by prophet Mohamed which says: "Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed," A man said, "O God's Apostle! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how shall I help him?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others, for that is how to help him."

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello again Mary
I am the one who said women are mistreated all over the world, and I live in Egypt. And that's why if I will write about women mistreatment I will only write about Egyptian women.

I just would like to point out that Mona's question wasn't an attack. She was trying to find out how true are the claims that the Egyptian streets are no more safe. And if true how can we get safety back.

The media is highlighting the sexual harassment hazard in the Egyptian streets. It is important that we, Egyptians, discuss what's mentioned in the media and find out if it is all true or not. And if it is not true we should find out ways to clarify things.

I will give you an example, while I was in Jeddah airport I came across an Iraqi woman trying to socialize with a group of Malaysian women. She introduced her self saying she is from Iraq and asked the Malaysian women if they know it. One of them replied "yes, Ossama Bin Laden". The woman was shocked! And that was when I interfered saying no, it is the country of Saddam Hussien!.

So, if we didn't discuss how real the problem is, if we didn't try to find the reasons and start figuring out a solution. One day we will be known as the land of sexual harassment! Only because we didn't pay attention to what the media have been saying.

Mona said...

I totally agree with you Shimaa and I will add to that, how this issue, if left unresolved, might impact tourism and eventually the national economy.

mary jacoub said...

Mona&shimaa i wasn't directing my message to anyone i was just sharing my opinion with you..no hurt feeling okay may be at the end we'll be ladies who changed the world..:-((((

Shimaa Gamal said...

Mary 7abebty, sure ma7desh ze3l. We are discussing an issue and 3ady ya3ny bey7sal labs :)
We all want the benefit of this country. We all love this country the same way. If we didn't care we wasn't going to even notice, wala eh?

Mona said...
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Mona said...
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Mona said...

This is not a time for shame or blame, our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done is too great to let the spirit of DISCRIMINATION flourish any longer in our land.

Too often we think that we can build our own lives on the shattered dreams of others. But, if we can all just remember that both men and women share the same short moment of life; that they both seek nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, finding the satisfaction and fulfillment they seek. Surely, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us, to look at all those around us, as equal, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and sisters, country-men and country-women once again*.

*Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy's speech "On the Mindless Menace of Violence"

Mona said...

Egypt's "Spinsters" Fight Against Stereotypes and Discrimination:


Mona said...

Los Angeles Times:Egypt's sexually harassed women begin to speak out


Mona said...

The washington post:In Egypt,Some Women Say That Veils...


Mona said...

Traveling in Egypt: Tourists finds sexual harassment common in Egypt.



Mona said...

A Very Important Film:


H.A.W. said...

yes.women are treated badly.in egypt adn the arab world in general.i'd focus on egypt today, because its where i live.
starting from silly question of how old are you-indicating the asking person knows this girl is single-up to openly writing in a job ad "veild girls" are not accepted- girls/women have been deprived their rights of choosing how to live thier life. even if not doing anything 7aram. still, everyone thinks he knows better, has the right to judge and throw his judgement at her face.she should better keep her mouth shut, or everyone else will interfere in the discussion. and instead of having one intruder/attacker it will be everyone in the area- discussing. as if we have no other problems to pay attention to other than a single "old"girl, or a veild girl.my teacher at school had a famous word to say,when he saw someone intruding"better keep your nose where it belongs, than loosing it"
mona, im not afraid of talking, but tired of talking and none listens. not even family. they know very well im right, but when it comes to society, they all prefer to keep silent.
thx for raising the issue. but "our" talk wont solve. when u have a child teach him to keep his nose where it belongs. hope in the new generation. the existing one is hoepless.

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