Women’s right to voting
Friday، 03 March 2000 - 12:00 AM
On March 3, 1956 and in accordance with the 1956 Constitution, which renders all citizens equal before the law regardless of gender, origin, language or religion, Egyptian women were given the right to vote in parliamentary elections for the first time in Egypt’s history. They were also allowed to present themselves as candidates for membership in the National Assembly.
Early in the 21st century, Qasim Amin (the Egyptian jurist hailed as the first Arab feminist) was one of the most prominent advocates of women’s rights. Amin called for granting women their basic political and social rights. His book "Modern Woman", published in 1900, called for a wider role by women in political life. The book described women as the core of social reform in Egypt.
During World War II, several women’s associations were established calling for the franchise as part of a drive to have Egyptians exercise their full political freedom. In 1949, the largest campaign ever was staged to advocate women’s participation in political life. The campaign was backed by a number of prominent intellectuals such as Taha Hussein and Salama Moussa.
Four years before the 1956 Constitution had been stipulated, the key fundamentals of equality and social justice were by then long promoted by the 1952 Revolution.
After the socialist resolutions had been issued in 1961, recommendations were made to the effect that five per cent of the 1500-member National Assembly be women. The first elected female members of parliament in Egypt were Rawya Attia and Amina Shoukri
Article 11 of Egypt’s permanent constitution, issued in 1971, states that the State shall guarantee proper coordination between the duties of women towards the family and their work in society, considering them equal to men in the political, social, cultural and economic fields without infringing on the rules of Islamic jurisprudence. Article 14 also states that all citizens are entitled to assuming public office on equal footing.
With the implementation of the multi-party system, women became more active in political life. Under it, they were able to help solve social problems.
At present, moreover, several women have climbed the legislative ladder to assume the chairpersonship of a number of parliamentary committees.