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The court system: one further battle for Egyptian women seeking justice?
Monday, January 06, 2014 4:21 PM
A young Egyptian girl walks in a Monofeya neighborhood with the phrase, Islam is the solution drawn on the wall behind her. Reuters.
CAIRO, Jan 5 (Aswat Masriya) There are many reasons why women resort to the law in Egypt, with some trying to achieve child support for their children and others who are being beaten or sexually harassed at their workplace, etc.
Amina, who was demoted with others by the company where they work, was beaten by her manager when she complained about conditions.
The 37-year-old worker filed a legal report against the company and her assaulter, she said, adding that she and others were deprived from their rightful vacations while 14 of them were moved from Cairo to Ismailia, which meant they had to spend about four hours in commute on a daily basis.
"I will not give up on my rights... even if I spend the rest of my life between courts," Amina said, explaining that conditions are much worse for women than men.
According to a statistics report by the National Council for Women, 23.1% of Egyptian women are active participants in the economy.
A 40-year-old woman who did not want her name published to protect her identity said, "I split up with my husband after I learnt of his many affairs and because of his failure to support our family."
She complained that now only receives 150 Egyptian pounds child support for her three children, adding that she has filed a legal report recently asking for an increase in the amount.
She added that even though her ex-husband is a taxi driver and makes a lot of money monthly, he has no interest in supporting his children, which led her eldest son to leave education and work as a driver to help support the family.
Mervat al-Talawy, the head of the National Council for Women, had urged the government to introduce new legislation and policies to abolish violence against women, illiteracy and poverty.
Another 45-year-old woman, who also refused to reveal her identify to protect herself and her family’s, told Aswat Masriya that she got a divorce because her husband was irresponsible and could not support her and her three daughters.
"His irresponsibility forced me to work day and night to meet the needs of the girls and their education," she said, adding that after the divorce, her husband robbed their co-owned store.
She went to the family court, which asked her for 1,000 pounds fees to begin procedures.
"I could not afford it, so I had to go to one of the non-governmental organizations concerned with women rights," she said, adding that the NGO helped her file the report.
There are a million and half divorced women in Egypt, according to estimates by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Nema, a 29-year-old who was sexually harassed in a minibus by a man in his 50’s, also turned to justice with the help of other passengers who testified in the case.
"I filed the report in August and I will not give up," she said, adding that silence only increases the problem.
A United Nations report had said that 99% of Egyptian women have been exposed to sexual harassment in the streets.
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