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

Women in Egypt protests 2011
Women can be seen leading part of the protests in Cairo February 2011. Image: Ramy Raoof

On January 23, 2012 the government of Egypt was ‘officially’ transferred to the parliamentary majority, with the Muslim Brotherhood at the helm, but the parliament is still under the control of Egypt’s Military Council, a situation that worries numerous women in Egypt.

“This yr nowhere I wanted 2b but Egypt. The revolution continues. Lots of work to do. Passion&determination of marchers tells me we’ll do it,” says one of today’s twitter tweets by Egyptian born and recent U.S. citizen Mona Eltahawy, who is also a CNN journalist and commentator on the Middle East region. While on assignment for CNN Eltahawy survived a targeted sexual attack by Tahrir Square security police in November 2011.

In spite of attacks and setbacks, the fight for freedom of expression and dignity has been an integral part of the ongoing movement for women in Egypt. An acceptance of diversity with religion has also been an included dialogue among numerous women. But the recent tone in some political circles has taken a turn that has caused various splinter groups to form.

“We wanted to get rid of Mubarek and we did Suzanne,” said Eltahawy to CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux when she asked Mona what was happening on the ground in Cairo on the year anniversary. “But what ended up happening is that he was replaced by 19 Hosni Mubaraks, which is the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces headed by Field Marshal Tantawi, and we came out today to march today from various points across Cairo, but also various points across Egypt to say ‘Down, down with military rule’ because we’re serious about regime change. And we’re also here to say that the revolution continues until we get rid of that regime and Egypt is under civilian control,” continued Eltahawy.

“When people took to Egypt’s streets in January 2011, they were bound together by a deep hatred of the Mubarak regime rather than a common vision of what demands for “bread, freedom and social justice” would mean in policy and practice. A year on, the situation is worse economically, political space is more constrained than ever, and social justice is framed in even more exclusionary terms,” says Ms. Mariz Tadros, a research fellow and expert in Middle East politics at IDS – Institute of Development Studies based in the UK. Prior to joining IDS, Tadros was an assistant professor of political science at the American University in Cairo and a journalist for Al-Ahram Weekly.

“The return to Tahrir shows that the Middle East has awoken out of its stupor and the wheels have shifted. Safety in exchange for control is no longer acceptable, wealth in exchange for dignity is not an option,” says Ms. Mushira Sabry a female Egyptian correspondent in Cairo working for Joseph Mayton at Bikya Masr news.

“So the revolution continues I’m very glad to report,” added Eltahawy.


Part One of a comprehensive documentary by Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) called “The Egyptian Revolution Part One: The Flood” was written and narrated with a personal story by talented Egyptian woman photojournalist, Heba Kandil, who has previously worked with Reuters. “On 25 January 2011, Egyptian youth took to Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand basic rights and freedom from decades of authoritarian rule,” says Reuters news. Within a few days, this protest of thousands grew to millions across the country. See the videos that outline the continuing progression of Egypt’s revolution in Part Two and Part three below. This is part one of a January 2012 release produced by Thomson Reuters Foundation for a new TRF site that is now reaching Egypt called Aswat Masriya.


The Egyptian Revolution Part Two: The Clash. This video documentary story, narrated by journalist Heba Kandil, continues to outline the progress of Egypt’s revolution. In it Heba brings us inside Egyptian society to take a look at her family who are only one in the multitudes of families of activists in Egypt who have gone to protest on the streets in Cairo and other cities around Egypt. It highlights the every day struggles of a family who goes to the grocery story as prices soar and people fear that supplies will run out as citizens hope for a better world in Egypt. This is part two of a January 2012 video production release by Thomson Reuters Foundation.


The Egyptian Revolution Part Three: The Fall. This video chronicles the fall of Egypt’s President Mubarak and the battle for democracy in the region with the outstanding personal narration of events by Egyptian woman journalist and chronicler Heba Kandil. Script, narration and photos in this series were created by Heba Kandil. This is part three of a January 2010 video production release by Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Human rights journalist Lys Anzia has been reporting on conditions for women throughout the MENA region. She is also Editor-at-Large for WNN – Women News Network.


Text in this article ©2012 WNN – Women News Network
Videos in this story have come to you through an ongoing WNN partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation TrustLaw Women. No part of this article release may be reproduced without prior permissions from WNN, Reuters news or TrustLaw Women.


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