Egypt: Parliament Considers Passing Sexual Harassment Law
Monday, March 1, 2010 3:00 PM


Despite initial legislative hurdles, increasing pressure from activists has moved Egypt’s parliament closer to passing a law that would crack down on sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has hindered women’s ability to participate actively in the political and economic arenas in Egypt. A study conducted in 2008 indicated that 83 percent of those surveyed had been sexually harassed and half of the respondents reported that it occurred on a daily basis.

The push for the law came after Egypt’s first sexual harassment case was brought to court in 2008. Last week one bill was presented to the parliament’s legislative affairs committee with a second bill approved by the Justice of Ministry to be presented within days. Though the drafts differ on details, such as the levels of fines to be imposed, they both define sexual harassment and specify its forms, prompting members of parliament to say that they would welcome either.

“It shows that the state is responding and changing. They are now understanding the significance of the issue,” said the head of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights Nihad Abu Al-Qumsan. (Reuters)

Compiled from: Dina Zayed, “Egypt Moves Closer to Passing Sexual Harassment Law,” Reuters (17 February 2010).