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What's the future for Egyptian women?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 12:57 UK time, Wednesday, 9 March 2011


They took the streets to mark international women's day calling for harsher punishments against sexual harassment, fairer representation in parliament -- and for a woman to stand for Egypt's presidency. Basically equality. Yet the hundreds of women who demonstrated yesterday in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the backdrop for the recent pro democracy protests, were verbally abused and sexually assaulted by a large group of men according to witnesses.

This journalist, Glen Johnson, was there

"One man, Yousef, dressed in a well-cut suit and wearing Oakley sun-glasses, was yelling at the three women. "Not now," he chanted, in chorus with the rest of the mob. Yousef explained, with a slight American accent, that Egyptians could not focus on the grievances of one group of people. "It is about all Egypt now. We have to stand together. No one group should act alone. We have other goals first. Later they can talk about what they want."

Jumanah Younis is a writer and activist who lives in Cairo and took part in the protests
"Protests take place in Cairo daily in the wake of Mubarak's departure, and are viewed as a celebration of a freedom that establishes one's humanity and role in society. As long as the same freedom is not granted to Egypt's women, the revolution is far from complete."

Is she right, is now the time for Egyptian women to push for equality, or should the greater fight for the country take precedence?

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