By Farida Ezzat, Contributor, EgyptianStreets.com (editing by Mohamed Khairat)
Since its start in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has been a day where female activists all over the world come together under the certainty that women’s equality is not only a sign of societal development, but a human right that cannot be overlooked.
It is a day where thousands of women defy society’s restrictive and discriminating views of women and march for hours chanting their rights of equal pay, voting rights and overall equality.
A day to celebrate women’s freedom and courage, International Women’s Day stands as a reminder of how far we have come and how long we have to go.
With political instabilities and economical downfalls, women have continued to brave discrimination and sexual abuse in order to fight for freedom and to put an end to oppressive fascist regimes. Countries all over the world have taken actions to inspire change and promote societies drenched with promise for women. Women’s rights organizations have continued to work to ensure that women’s equality is achieved in all aspects of society.
Egypt has begun to take simple steps in ensuring the rights of its women by passing laws protecting women’s rights, ensuring equal representation in office, and reducing all forms of violence against women.
It is no secret that throughout history Egyptian women have been regarded as second-hand citizens, deeming unworthy of equal rights. Until 2000, for example, Egyptian women required the permission of their husbands or fathers to obtain a passport and travel overseas.
Egyptian women have been a target of sexual violence, gender-discrimination and societal intolerance for centuries. It is quite obvious that evident change in the area of gender issues has yet to take place in Egypt. In fact, months after the constitutional referendum, the Egyptian government has failed to represent women equally in office, giving women only 12 percent representation.