Egypt opposition criticizes president's initiative for women

Sunday, March 24, 2013 5:27 PM 
Thousands of Egyptians women marched to the presidential palace on Thursday, December 6, 2012, against a decree issued by President Mohamed Mursi and a draft constitution written by an Islamist-dominated assembly. Ahmed Hamed/Aswat Masriya

Egypt's National Salvation Front criticized on Sunday the presidency's initiative to support women rights for ignoring the National Council for Women (NCW), considering this an attempt to create an alternative body to the council.

Presidential Aide, Pakinam Sharakwi, called on Saturday for launching a new initiative to support women rights under the auspices of President Mohamed Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The presidential initiative for supporting the rights and freedoms of Egyptian women seeks to upgrade the conditions of women. This initiative is undertaken in cooperation between the presidency and the National Center for Social and Criminal Research along with several NGOs," said the initiative's page on Facebook.

The page explained that this initiative stems from the sense of responsibility towards maintaining the status of women.

"The president's initiative ignored the National Council for Women which is the most concerned entity with women rights," NCW member and professor of political science, Nevine Mosaad, said, stressing that most members of the council decided to boycott the initiative's conference.

In a press conference held by the Front to discuss the  systemic aggression on Egyptian women, Mosaad said that this initiative is an attempt by the presidency to create a parallel entity to NCW, albeit one that controlled by the regime.

She pointed that the NCW members will persist to defend women rights, saying, "There is no free nation without free women."

Mosaad expressed her fear of plans to dissolve the National Council for Women and substitute it by this initiative.

She believes that the violence women are subjected to cannot be separated from the violence practiced by the regime towards society.

"This is a regime that frowns upon the sharing of roles within the family between men and women and condones violence in general and specifically towards women," the NCW member said.

Mosaad praised the efforts pursued by Mervat Al-Talwi, NCW head, to adopt the declaration of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women entitled ‘End Violence against Women’.

The Muslim Brotherhood had warned against this document saying, "The document includes articles that contradict established principles of Islam, undermine Islamic ethics and destroy the family, as it grants girls sexual freedom, stipulates abolishing concepts of polygamy, dowry, and allows Muslim women to travel, work and use contraceptives without the husband's consent."

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