Egyptian women under patriarchal mentality-8

Male laws control the life and freedom of Egyptian women

News Center - The male authority practices huge violations against women, and laws leave a lot of space for men to exploit all issues to the subjugation of women.

Major social challenges facing Egyptian women are denied the right to abortion and deprived of custody of their children after divorce if they get married again, and men take alimony as a tool to humiliate the women, in the detention centers, large numbers of women who demanded better living and greater freedom and said neither to corruption nor to military rule, so they are subjected to the worst methods of torture.

 Forbidden abortion and the exploitation of women

 Abortion is perhaps one of the thorniest issues in the modern era, increasing women's awareness of their rights and increasing the pressures and requirements of life, and openness has made abortion a fundamental issue today, that it is a right of women, but it is denied or forced upon it according to the men’s desire.

The Egyptian law treats abortion as two different cases if women are forced or aborted as a result of being subjected to violence, and this is one of the results of the widespread violence in the country, but the controversy always revolves around the right of women to terminate a pregnancy that she can't decide her desire for an abortion in all the world not just in Egypt.

Laws and traditions prevent women from owning their right to abortion, and in Egypt, the situation becomes more complicated, with the increase in the rate of rapes and unemployment, women are forced to keep the fetus that came without their desire.

Egyptian law permits abortion in the event of necessity only if the pregnancy is a threat to the life of the mother or impairment of the health of the fetus, otherwise, it is considered a crime and an assault on the right to life.  The laws do not take into account the pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or even the poor living conditions in the country and this law has been in effect since its adoption in the thirties of the last century.

During the reign of Khedive Tawfiq, on November 13, 1883 AD, a law taken from French law was issued, and the third chapter of the Penal Code stipulated "the abortion of pregnant women and the manufacture and sale of adulterated or harmful jewelry that is harmful to health".

Articles 261 and 262 of the Penal Code consider him a misdemeanor, the first Article 261  stipulates that “whoever intentionally aborts a pregnant woman by giving her medications, or by using means that lead to that, or by using her means, whether with or without her consent shall be punished by the imprisonment ".

The second Article 262 stipulates that “a woman who is satisfied with taking medications with her knowledge of her, or she satisfied with the use of the aforementioned means, or has enabled other means to use these means for her and causes the abortion, she is punishable by the imprisonment".

The law does not punish the initiation of abortion without its occurrence, according to Article 264.

In order to prevent the specialists, doctors, and midwives from performing the abortion, Article 263 stipulates that "if the person who is performing the abortion, a doctor, a surgeon, a pharmacist, or a midwife, he shall be punished by temporary hard labor"

In a report prepared by the International Population Council in cooperation with the Egyptian Society for Fertility Care in 2016, the abortion rate was 14.8% for every 100 births, while the latest study of the Medical Encyclopedia found that Egyptian women are at high risk of dying during the abortion process, or after it as a result of complications, and the Ministry of Health said that In 2006, 1.9% of mothers died due to abortion.

Egyptian feminists and women around the world take advantage of World Safe Abortion Day on September 28 of each year, to demand that women be given the right to abortion and not be forced to keep a fetus they do not want.

From the religious aspect, there is a great debate inside Al-Azhar, the views of the elders differ, but most of them agreed that it is permissible to abort before the fetus reaches 42 days.

In 2016, the head of the Department of Jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, Dr. Saad Al-Din Al-Hilali, issued a Fatwa that abortion was permitted three months before pregnancy, and he demanded that the law be amended in line with this fatwa, but it was met with strong opposition from militants.

There were many campaigns calling for granting women the right to safe abortion, feminist organizations were active in this field. In 2018, 14 women's organizations, a political party, and dozens of public figures launched the campaign “Stop oppression ... our hands stained with the blood of women”, calling for granting women the right to a safe Abortion and this campaign survey revealed the use of abortion and pregnancy as a weapon against women.

The poll, which included 150 women, revealed that 30% of domestic violence against women was the result of unwanted pregnancy, 37% of women were forced to become pregnant in order to continue the relationship with their partner, and on the contrary, 18% ended their relationship with the partner because of being forced to become pregnant or abortion, 98% of women who undergo an abortion have experienced domestic violence.

Alimony and custody

The divorced couple turns into enemies in our country, men seek to insult their wives, and with the presence of children, the suffering of divorced women increases, that the man escapes from paying the costs of his children to oblige his wife to pay costs that she cannot pay often, especially many women are not working, and men circumvent the law by submitting a paper proving their dismissal from their work, and it is known that the maintenance for men is proportional to his work.

Law No. 4 of 2005 carried an amendment to Law 25 of 1929 regarding the determination of the age of custody and stipulates that “The right of custody of women ends with the arrival of the young age of fifteen, and the judge chose the young after reaching this age to remain with the incubator, until he reaches the age of Adulthood and even marries the little one “Knowing that this right is forfeited in the event that the mother marries, as Article 144.

In the summer of 2018, the Egyptian Women’s Issues Foundation launched a campaign entitled “My husband does not keep my custody for my children”, the campaign called for changing the legal and the judicial status that deliberately discriminates against women, and forcing many women to refrain from marriage for fear of losing their children.

In October 2019, the Association for the Advancement and Development of Women launched a campaign rejecting these amendments; because the beneficiaries were just men and the association supported its rejection using statistics. The most important of which is that 78% of men support amendments to restore the home, and 83% of children given to their fathers were subjected to physical and psychological abuse from their fathers

The presence of children with irresponsible fathers (unemployed, alcoholics, drugs, or abused) led to the presence of children in the streets and the proportion of these was 63%, also the fathers forced their children to work and the proportion of these was according to the statistic 15 %.

Egyptian women grant nationality to their children

In 2004, the amendment of the Nationality Law No. 154 stipulated the granting of nationality to a person born to an Egyptian father, or an Egyptian mother, and the amendment did not restrict the granting of nationality at the place of birth, or the status of the father, if he is unknown or not, yet children born to a Palestinian father remained denied nationality by the pretext of preserving the Palestinian identity from extinction, this law continued until the January 25, 2011 revolution, which led to abolishing this exception.

Arbitrary detentions and inhumane conditions

The number of female detainees has increased dramatically in recent years as a result of the volatile conditions of the country since 2011, the targeting of women opposing military rule has increased, especially after the fall down of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Many female detainees are held in prisons without being tried, and detention of minors and old women without regard to their health conditions, all of these cases that have become clear to all Arab and international humanitarian and human rights organizations are ignored by organizations that work under the state’s rules, such as the National Council for Human Rights, the Egyptian Women's Council, and all sides that concerned with women's rights in Egypt.

In 2018, a report on the conditions of female prisoners released by the "Al-Shehab Organization for Human Rights", which identifies itself as seeking to promote democracy and support for human rights stated that the detainees were subjected to humiliation and harassment, and prevented from visiting, food and medicine, most of whom were arrested as a result of their role in the protests that the country has prevailed since the January 2011 revolution.

The report stated that 69 women were imprisoned for the peaceful demonstration or for their human rights activities or they are the wives or relatives of political detainees.

According to the same report, 259 women were subjected to forced disappearance, 66 women were arbitrarily arrested, and 25 women were referred to the military court in various cases. From 2013 to 2017, there were more than 2,500 women arrested, 150 of them were related to terrorism accused.

Many informal institutions have documented the arrest of hundreds of Egyptian women and inhuman practices against them, in February 2019, the pioneers of social networking sites launched the hashtag #Sitt Alkul to be in solidarity with the detention centers, which led to  a wide interaction in Egypt and  families of the detainees have talked about detention and prison conditions

In 2015, the Revolutionary Alliance of Egyptian Women, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood called to demand the release of the detainees. The coalition took from Israa Al-Taweel detention center a title of his campaign: “Wipe the tears of 66 Israa al- Taweel in prison”, and Israa had been arbitrarily arrested without regard for her health status that she was disabled,  in December  2015, Israa al- Taweel was released.

In September 2019, lawyer and human rights activist Mahinoor Al-Masry has been arrested and charged with collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt even though she is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Movement with principles different from the Brotherhood that exploits religion to gain power. 

Former social activist and former detainee Aya Hijazi revealed that she was tortured during her detention and was released in April 2017 after the personal intervention of US President Donald Trump; because she has US citizenship, she said during a television interview that she was pressured to give up Egyptian citizenship, but she refused.

Some of the detained women, who could escape outside Egypt were subjected to harassment and bad and moody practices by the police, the charges are also arranged for the detainees after their detention and there are no trials Rather, routine detention is renewed every 45 days, the detainees' families do not know anything about them even if they are dead.

Women detainees are prohibited from wearing warm clothes in the winter, they are prohibited from visiting, taking medicine, and even healthy ventilation or seeing the sun, and they are subjected to systematic violations.

As a result of negligence and failure to observe the health status of female prisoners, their health condition deteriorated and some of them lost their lives, including political activist Maryam Salem (23 years old) after the treatment was prevented and she was suffering from cirrhosis.

This and other incidents confirm the accusations made by Human Rights Watch, which said that the security services have been careful to kill dissidents and detainees, by detaining them in inhumane conditions and denying medication to patients.

International and Egyptian human rights organizations that are not affiliated with the state are still calling for the release of male and female detainees, or at least providing them with humane conditions of detention.

Tomorrow: Egyptian women’s art and creativity