Is there a need for yet another revolution for Egyptian women?

Feminist revolution, fight for equal rights for women. First wave of the movement experienced in 19th and early 20th century and so far it has several overlapping movements and ideologies. A wave that led to change in status of western women is yet to emerge in many other parts of the world.
On surface level it seems as a fight against patriarchy or unequal representation of the women. This mass movement brought them out of the four walls of homes and led to them to workplaces. Western women are more career-oriented and contribute equally to the running of house. Gone are the days when women were content performing the role of mere home-maker. What came as an outcome of this movement, woman realize themselves as individual first and then a wife or mother. Though this list of roles is never ending but women in general even today realize and identify themselves only through these set of roles they perform.
Each individual must realize one’s own individuality first then only one will be able to play other roles assigned by various relationships. Sadly this sense of self is yet to be realized by women in many parts of the world. Statistics have revealed that women perform 66% of the world’s work, earn 10% of world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property.
Recently Egypt has gone through a mass uprising that resulted in oust of more than three decades old rule of former president Mubbarrak. But this revolution will go in vain if a strong foundation is not laid for equal rights for all. All Egyptians irrespective of gender should be provided with opportunities to grow and expression of their ideas. The development of any society is hard to imagine without these basic rights. An important factor behind the growth of developed nations is equal rights.
There is a lot to be done on this road towards equal rights. Very few nations have been able to achieve this goal. Women in Scandinavian countries enjoy equal representation in administrative and political life. But there is bigger segment of women in many other parts of the world that have yet to realize these rights.
In many of the Arabic nations women remain oblivious to their rights as an individual. According to a research in 2000, “legal courts prohibited women for obtaining new passports or travelling outside without permission of their fathers or husbands.” Generally, these women accept everything as part of their culture. An obligation that is usually self-imposed due to their sense of belonging to a particular religion. In most cases transgressors from this path face a harsh punishment. Therefore to avoid any inconvenience most women accept their lot as it is. The question arises how fair it is to let our religious aspirations determine our sense of individual.
From times immemorial we have seen man and woman contribute to form a society or civilization. Researchers have proved that societies in which women enjoy equal rights are more progressive and developed. It is not a statement that equality will lead to this specific amount of development. Rather it is an additional factor which contributes to the development of any nation.
Another data regarding the representation of Egyptian women reveals that in 1998 women constitute 28% of the professional and technical workforce, 16% of Egypt’s administrative and managers and merely 5% of high government officials. The representation in case of political system is almost zero. Even now when the country is going through reforms there has not been any significant change on this side. Though women participated equally in the uprising but there are hardly any significant voices. Ironically when a BBC reporter asked an Egyptian woman about their not being in politics then she replied as if it is not meant for them. Most women are at ease and not at all bothered by this hard fact.
Above facts reveal there is a lot more to be done for women. A woman lays foundation for child’s early education that decides the fate of future generation. It is well said that “an educated woman can educate an entire generation”. The revolution 2011 should not only focus on political reforms but also reforms in representation of women in various sectors. A country that had been a capital of culture and science where women had a status in the society needs to realize that in this phase of transition women issues are not to be neglected at any cost. Let this revolution be the beginning of a new era of change not only in the political governance but also in fair representation of women in various sectors.

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