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Egypt: Morsi’s Women Initiative Criticised

Monday 8 April 2013, by siawi3

Source: Daily News Egypt, 26/03/2013

Women’s rights group Fouada Watch criticised President Mohamed Morsi’s initiative regarding women, rejecting its contents completely.

Morsi announced a new initiative on Sunday to support Egyptian women’s rights, expand their role in Egyptian society and resolve their most pressing challenges.

Fouada Watch, a women’s rights watchdog campaign, said in a statement released on Monday that the president’s vision regarding women’s rights has timed-out, adding that his vision cannot be farther from what Egypt is currently going through.

They also criticised Morsi’s speech during the initiative launch. “It was as far away as possible from the Egyptian women’s painful reality,†the statement read. “The president even intentionally undermined women during his speech.â€

Presidential Advisor for Foreign Affairs Essam Haddad released a statement on Tuesday regarding the initiative. Haddad said in his statement that the initiative was launched to safeguard the status of women and activate their role in Egyptian society. He added that the initiative “demonstrates the great attention given by the Egyptian state to the advancement of women as an integral part of the state’s plan for the advancement of the Egyptian society as a whole†.

Fouada Watch referred to the statistics Morsi cited in his speech, casting doubt over their credibility. Morsi stated that the percentage of female breadwinners in Egypt doesn’t surpass 16%, whereas the rights group claimed the correct figure is over 30%.

Haddad stated that the initiative’s inauguration was attended by representatives of ministries, parliament, and national councils concerned with women’s rights, primarily the National Council for Women (NCW). The attendants also included syndicates, parties, youth, civil society institutions, and public figures.

NCW member Nevine Mosaad stated on Sunday that most NCW members are boycotting the initiative. Mervat Al-Tellawi, head of the NCW, did not attend the inauguration.

Fouada Watch also criticised Morsi for not providing any mechanisms for bettering women’s conditions. Haddad listed a few means of executing the initiative, including workshops, opinion polls and focus group discussions.

According to the statement, the president allocated his speech to verbally threaten the Egyptian people and tell them that insulting the president equals insulting the nation.

“It is a dangerous sign suggesting that Morsi sees himself as the state,†the statement read.

They referred to Morsi’s attack on independent media outlets, accusing him of using verbal violence against media practitioners and media outlets.

“The president’s initiative is empty and flimsy,†the Fouada Watch statement read. It added that the initiative comes while the Muslim Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party are attacking the United Nation’s Declaration on Violence against Women signed recently by Egypt.

“This initiative is nothing more than a cosmetic for the regime’s ugly face,†the statement said.