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Egypt NGO statement to The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against women “CEDAW”

Egypt NGO statement to The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against women “CEDAW”

Although Egypt has not made reservations on article 11 and on article 12 of CEDAW, yet the implementation of these two articles in rural areas are characterized by obvious discrimination against rural women. Both health services and employment opportunities are very much limited in villages where the Alliance has been working. The quality of health
services is much below the satisfaction of rural women. Due to the modest educational level of women in these villages and the spread of female illiteracy, rural women have very little chance of accessing adequately paid jobs. Most of the salaried women work in the formal government sector in clerical jobs with very low pay. They have no chance of reaching any better positions in the government sector. Rural women who work in the informal sector suffer from low or no pay, interrupted work, lack of any work contracts, lack of any supervision by the State and are uncovered by any social security or health insurance. In addition, they suffer from many occupational health hazards.
As for article 16, Egypt has made a reservation on it and is insisting to keep it by stating that according to the Islamic Sharia women have more privileges when entering the marriage, for instance the man has to provide a dowry and an engagement present and he has to provide a marital residence.
According to Sharia, the man has to provide for his wife and his children as long as she is married to him and she does not have to share in this. Also when he divorces her without a good reason, he has to compensate her with monetary compensation. The government of Egypt knows quite well that the Majority of Egyptian women now share financial responsibility in the marriage and the assumption that the man is the sole bread winner and the sole provider in the family is not valid anymore according to statistics and also in view of the fact that the family cannot live on one salary only. The law has to address the reality and should be inscriptive and not descriptive. The existing family law also assumes that because the man is the one who provides, the wife has to obey her husband. In many cases husbands abuse this and deprive their wives from work, from education and from even going out without their permission. Morocco which has reformed its family law recently and also on basis of Sharia has successfully changed this assumption and based its law on shared responsibility of the two spouses. Algeria is also changing its law the same way did Morocco.
The Egyptian government also does not want to lift the reservation on the right of the mother to have financial guardianship on her children in case of divorce or death of the father because it is also the assumption that the grandfather from the father side is the one responsible for providing for the children in case of the death of the father.
The Alliance for Arab Women and several other women’s NGOs in Egypt believe that the new Family Law should be based on realities and within enlightened interpretation of Islam and Christianity.

Although Egypt has not made reservations on article 11 and on article 12 of CEDAW, yet the implementation of these two articles in rural areas are characterized by obvious discrimination against rural women. Both health services and employment opportunities are very much limited in villages where the Alliance has been working. The quality of health ...

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