Arab Women’s Rights Activists Hold Strikes Across Region

Women’s rights activists across the Arab world plan to hold strikes today in response to recent femicides in Egypt and

Arab women's rights strikes

Women’s rights activists across the Arab world plan to hold strikes today in response to recent femicides in Egypt and Jordan. Photo: Hossam el-Hamalawy/ Flickr

Women’s rights activists across the Arab world plan to hold strikes today in response to recent femicides in Egypt and Jordan.

Recent high-profile cases of young women being killed for rejecting marriage proposals have fueled the debate for women’s rights and safety, especially as Egypt has seen a significant increase in gender-based violence in the last two years. 813 cases of violence against women and girls were documented in 2021, compared to 415 in 2020.

Though Egypt recently implemented tougher sexual harassment laws, activists claim that the police are not properly enforcing them which in turn dissuades many women from seeking legal aid. The recent cases will likely help to propel awareness about future incidences of gender-based violence through social media and news coverage, despite the Egyptian government’s extensive efforts to curb online criticism of its human rights record.

Women’s activist groups and legal experts in Egypt are calling for concrete laws to address gender-based violence. The recent outrage over the issue may help build traction for current initiatives, including an opposition to a judicial committee formed to redraft a personal status law, and several proposals to outlaw child marriage and grant emergency alimony to mothers.

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