On occasion of the International Day Of the Girl.. We don’t celebrate.. We remind of Violence against us
Two days ago the world observed the fifth international day of the girl child; a day that reminds every nation to renew its commitment towards upholding the rights of the girl child against any form of discrimination.
Since a very long time ago, the Egyptian girls have faced the attacking of the society, abiding by cruel rules and living under the umbrella of “you are a girl so you can’t do this and that”.
And the question here and on occasion of our celebration of the International Day of Child Girl (October 11th) is, till when this discrimination will keep taking place and till when the rights of the Egyptian women will be neglected?
Having a Girl… What a Shame!
The problem started a long time ago when the spread ideology was when giving a birth to a girl this is called “a shame”. In Upper Egypt and in the urban areas, especially the poor people, they started to hide the identity of their girls to avoid the shame of having a girl, until it became a tradition. Having a girl in your house is as same as being a criminal or being a man of shame who is afraid to face the society.
They started hiding the girls, forbid them from their rights to educate, and work, they force her to wear hijab or she can’t leave home, to marry at a very young age and violence is hardly used with them.
FGM.. Harsh Punishment Believed To Be a Great Grace
“The beliefs surrounding the origins of female genital mutilation vary greatly. The predominant school of thought is that FGM originated in ancient Egypt and then spread to East Africa, hence the term ‘Pharaonic Circumcision’ coined by the Sudanese. The earliest record of the custom was made by Strabo, the Greek geographer and historian who reported excision on Egyptian girls in 25BC. It is believed that the practice was occurring some centuries before this, however, and was spread by dominant tribes and civilizations as a result of tribal, ethnic, and cultural allegiances.”
It is a similar story across much of the country, in 2008, Unicef estimated that 91% of married Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 had been mutilated – 72% of them by doctors, Which is a great percentage. In 2008 FGM was banned by the Egyptian law, but that wasn’t enough to stop the phenomenon, as according to the latest numbers declared by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, shows that 92 % of women aged between 15 and 49 had been subjected to circumcision.
Despite outlawing… Forced Child marriage prevails
Despite Egypt changing the legal age of marriage to 18 in 2008 after a very long time of allowing such a crime to take place, child marriage continues across the country and particularly in underprivileged areas, early marriage is detrimental to a child’s education. Exposing young girls to marriage has a very negative impact on their physical and psychological health. It reduces their chances to complete a normal growth rate and negatively impacts their ability to participate at the economic and social levels.
Besides the health problems that are already facing most of the girls in the urban areas because of poverty and lack of alimentation, wrong traditions like Circumcision and the early marriage that destroy the girls’ health and immune system and weaken their bodies. Due to poverty most of the urban citizens can’t afford the medication which decreases their immune system and increases the ability of death and infection between them.
Early marriage in such cases causes birth of abnormal and sick nee and increases the infection and catching diseases more than the normal rate. Such phenomenon resulted in more than 67% case in early marriage in the poor areas allover Egypt.
In studies, UNICEF agrees, finding that “healthy, educated and empowered women” are more likely to have healthy, educated and confident children.
According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report, individuals from the Gulf “purchase Egyptian women and girls for ‘temporary’ or ‘summer’ marriages for the purpose of prostitution or forced labor; these arrangements are often facilitated by the victims’ parents and marriage brokers, who profit from the transaction.
Despite people knowing these facts and awareness being made across Egypt, girls are still being married at a young age. Many families resist change because it is altering age old traditions and beliefs. In addition, many families see little point on changing rules on child marriage because once they have found a suitor willing to pay a dowry, it seems apt that the marriage takes place, however, young the girl.
This phenomenon is taking place since a lot of decades, millions of girls in Egypt and in the whole world faced and is still facing this crime, one of these girls is Salma at 5 years old was engaged to her 9 years old cousin, this marriage was stopped right before the wedding and the girl was saved from losing her life alive, thanks for social network websites.
Frankly… Egypt isn’t doing enough to save her girls from sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is one of the most famous social phenomena in Egypt, in the past few years, Egypt’s streets haven’t been safe spaces for women of all ages.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women published a report showing statistics of sexual harassment in 2013. The study shows that 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment.
The study indicates that 96.5% of women in their survey said that sexual harassment came in the form of touching, which was the most common manifestation of sexual harassment. Verbal sexual harassment had the second-highest rate experienced by women with 95.5% of women reporting cases.
There was a clear shift in women’s attitudes since the 25th of Jan revolution, unlike the pre-revolution days when, women had accepted harassment as part of their daily life. Since the revolution five years ago, more women have broken their silence, coming forward to report harassment and sexual assault and to demand justice from the perpetrators of such attacks.
And thus, in 2013 Sexual harassment is a crime according to Egyptian law. Harassers can, should, and have been charged based on articles 306 (a) and 306 (b) of the Penal Code. According to the law, verbal, behavioral, phone and online sexual harassment will attract a prison sentence of 6 months – 5 years, and up to LE 50,000 in fines, but sexual harassment is still rampant in Egypt, as the Amendments to the penal code are not enough to address the epidemic of sexual violence, because the policemen who are supposed to implement the law aren’t well aware about the danger of sexual harassment and women’s rights, the offences lack a good enforcement mechanism, and they are both vague and limited in their definition of the crimes they refer to.
Girls’ schooling… More Engagement Rates Along With More Dropouts
Girls’ labor and Early marriage stand behind dropout
One of the most famous traditions also in Egypt is inequality in education. Many people believe that girls have no right to educate or to leave home so they drop them out of school. 87% of girls in urban area are either illiterate or were dropped out of school. They are forced to leave school, stay at home either work to help her family or marry.
In the past decade, more girls were attending school and most of them completed basic primary education, but dropout’s rate increases within the preparatory and secondary education.
Girls in urban areas who are not educated are forced to work, whether she agreed or not, working is not an option unless she is getting married. Families believe that marrying or working is much more important than educating.
There’s a belief among poor families that their girls will gain money in labor, but if they continued in schools, they have to pay money which is something harmful for the poor people as they save money for food and nothing else.