Source: The Atlanta Post
For the first time in the history of Egypt, a woman is running for president. Buthayna Kamel, a 49-year-old talk show host, has announced her candidacy for the presidential election that will be held later this year.
This monumental step would not have been possible had it not been for the youth uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. In the past, only candidates who were approved by Mubarak and rubber-stamped by his Parliament could run.
However, what is supposed to be a historic moment is being overshadowed by many Egyptian women who feel that they will be “shut out” of the emerging government, according to NPR.
Though Mubarak may no longer be the oppressive ruler in Egypt, for Egyptian women, the fight to secure new rights and freedom is far from over.
Kamel is looking forward to a presidential race free of Mubarak’s influence, but admitted that she too is concerned that women may be sent back home. Just this past month at the International Women’s Day march to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, participants were attacked by men.
Mubarak had his faults, yet women did have a political voice under his ruling. His own wife headed an influential women’s council, and women filled Parliament’s seats while the international community released funds to support women’s rights programs in Egypt. New leaders attribute these actions to the former president and his Western allies. As such, they are turning a deaf ear to women’s rights issues, according to NPR.
Well-known Egyptian activist Nawal El Saadawi believes securing women’s rights isn’t going to be through a female presidential candidate, but through the unification of women’s groups who will follow exactly what the youth did to defeat the old regime.
“Women should be in the street in millions,” she told NPR. “If women … make a march with all their demands, this is the pressure.”