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Jakarta Post

Women in the legislature: Egypt and RI experiences

  • Fitri Bintang Timur

Singapore   /   Sat, February 4 2012   /  02:01 pm

It seems that women are no longer the second sex in Egypt’s streets. But is that true? Twenty-six-year-old Asmaa Mahfouz successfully gathered a critical mass of demonstrators during Egypt’s uprisings last year when she uploaded a video of herself stating: “I, a girl, am going down to Tahrir Square ... Come down with us and demand your rights, my rights, your family’s rights.”

The video went viral bringing out more than 50,000 people to kick-start demands for regime change. After the subsequent commotion relented, in December, Mahfouz was awarded the Sakharov human rights prize for her bold action.

Women protesters are not a new sight for Egypt; they joined demonstrations in Cairo against the British to call for independence in 1919. When Hosni Mubarak stepped down last year, women were seen marching Cairo’s streets while cheering, some in niqabs (full-face cov...