The Egyptian Social Democratic Party has said the Shura Council’s legislative committee has overthrown women’s rights to political participation.
In a strongly worded statement the party bases its claims on the legislature’s decision not to include a condition that female candidates must be listed in the top half of electoral lists.
In previous elections women were mostly placed at the bottom of electoral lists. This meant that they had almost no chance of winning a seat.
The party said: “This unfortunate incident is within the framework of a growing political and social discourse that opposes women and takes from them their right to political participation.”
The party said it is not only “exposing the ruling current” in the country, but it is also calling on opposition parties to place women in advanced positions on lists, at least within the top three.
A discussion on the draft elections law was supposed to be held on Sunday but was postponed to Wednesday to give the legislative committee more time to discuss it.
The National Council for Women has announced five reasons as to why it rejects the electoral law. The National Front for Egypt’s Women is planning to protest on Monday afternoon outside the Shura Council.
Drude Dahlerup, a professor at Stockholm University called on Egypt to enhance the representation of women in parliament because women are a great force that cannot be ignored. She made those statements during a meeting on Sunday with one of the committees of the Shura Council, MENA reported.
She added that Egypt is the lowest ranking Arabic country in terms of female representation in parliament. Dahlerup said Algeria has the highest with 32 per cent after it implemented a quota system. Saudi Arabia, which does not allow women to drive, has recently appointed 30 women to its Shura Council.