Women are "the slaves of this age", according to an Egyptian politician who took a stand against the country's Muslim Brotherhood to back a UN declaration on violence against women.
Mervat Tallawy, who headed the Egyptian delegation at a United Nations conference that ended late Friday, said that despite the hard-fought declaration, secured after two weeks of tense negotiations, more help must be given to women in the Middle East.
Tallawy stunned many at the UN Commission on the Status of Women -- marked by blocking tactics by conservative Muslim and Roman Catholic states -- by backing the document that set global standards to combat violence against women.
Despite growing human rights, wealth and other progress, Tallawy told reporters after the landmark accord was approved that there is still too much discrimination.
"Women are the slaves of this age. This is unacceptable and particularly in our region," Tallawy said.
Tallawy, a diplomat turned politician and head of Egypt's National Women's Council, said "international solidarity is needed for women's empowerment and preventing this regressive mood whether in the developing countries or developed, in the Middle East in particular."
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, said this week that the proposed UN document "undermines Islamic ethics" and "would lead to the complete disintegration of society." (AFP, via Your Middle East)