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Egypt's first female ambassador dies at 85

Sunday, May 05, 2013 2:52 PM 
Egypt's first female ambassador and former minister of social affairs, Aisha Ratib

Former Insurance and Social Affairs Minister Aisha Rateb, Egypt's first female ambassador, died at age 85 on Saturday following a sudden cardiac arrest at her Giza residence, reported the state news agency.

Rateb, who graduated from law school in 1949, was also the first woman to teach International Law at Cairo University and the first woman to apply for the post of judge in the country. 

She sued the government when it rejected her application for judge on grounds of being a woman, which was then deemed unacceptable by society.

When Rateb was appointed minister in 1971, she was the second female in Egypt to hold such a post.

As a reformist, Rateb fought for restrictions on polygamy and demanded that divorce be obtained from a judge.

She resigned from her post in the cabinet in the wake of "1977's 'Bread-Uprising'", rejecting a government decision to lift subsidies on essential goods.

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