Where are the women? Egypt’s revolution one year on

Lys Anzia – WNN Feature

Women students from Cairo University protest
Women students from Cairo University protest in the streets of Cairo. Image: Sarah Carr

(WNN) Cairo, EGYPT: As the women of Egypt stress concerns over food costs, security, human rights and political exclusion, along with reports of rape and attacks made against those who were publicly protesting throughout the year, the movement of women to push forward is evident in what some say is the largest gathering to date on the year anniversary of the revolution.

The number of protesters in Cairo’s square has grown large on the anniversary exactly one year after the ‘Day of Rage’ where Egyptian protests sparked the Arab Spring throughout regions in the Middle East. The gathering in Cairo has brought well over one hundred thousand people to the streets. During the past year attacks have been ongoing against women, as well as men involved in the protests. Over 850 deaths have been reported in Egypt, with over 100 of these deaths occurring after Mubarak stepped down; all during an uphill climb that began as a plea for democracy, fairness and transparency in the region.

But the democracy movement a year later has met with frustration as military rule and splintered political factions have attempted to bring control of Egypt to their doorstep.

Other reports have stated that 12,000 citizens have been part of closed military court hearings, hearings conducted as Egyptian custom dictates without juries. In the wake, progressive women’s coalitions are pushing to continue their campaigns for a better form of government that does not involve military rule. Over 100 separate cases have been pushed forward into Egypt’s courts on cases involving women who want to bring justice to alleged beatings and sexual assaults by military personnel or security police teams in Egypt.

Ms. Samira Ibrahim is one such case that has shown some progress for women. Ibrahim was submitted to torture with a demeaning ‘virginity test’ by soldiers who detained her during her appearance at a protest on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Since her case has been in process one judge has officially outlawed all ‘virginity tests’ of detainees by Egypt’s security forces.

“There needs to be some balance. Not people at the very top and at the very bottom. I want to see democracy in my country, and I have to sacrifice for it. I have to be ready to die, to be arrested. I can’t sit at home and say: I want freedom,” said 21-year-old female Egyptian university student Ruheya only a few weeks after the revolution for demands in Egypt began last year. Wearing a long veil Ruheya had come 100 miles to protest in the early days of the 2011 revolution in Egypt.

To see more of this story with documentary videos narrated by an outstanding Egyptian woman photojournalist link to page two below > > >

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