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Egypt to have its first female president?

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Summary taken from NPR, April 20, 2011

For the first time in Egyptian history, a woman is running for president.

The candidate in elections expected later this year is a 49-year old talk show host, Buthayna Kamel.

In the past, only candidates approved by former president Hosni Mubarak and rubber-stamped by his Parliament could run.

Egyptians were convinced Mubarak was grooming his son, Gamal, to take over once he retired.

But today, Kamel and other Egyptians are looking forward to what they hope will be a real presidential race with grassroots campaigns.

Still, the candidate says she fears that at some point, Egyptians will tell her and other women who want a say, “Thanks for working with us to overthrow the regime, but now it’s time for you to go home.”

She has reason to be concerned. Participants in last month’s International Women’s Day march to Tahrir Square in Cairo were attacked by men on the street (see WVoN story).

Some activists complain the emerging leaders in post-revolutionary Egypt are ignoring women’s issues because they associate the topic with the old regime and its Western allies.

Egypt’s best known feminist, Nawal El Saadawi said:

“When the revolution succeeded and we came back home, we opened the newspaper [and] we found women excluded by the military and by the new temporary government.

“They appointed the people in charge of the provinces, the muhafezeen — not a single woman. There was not a single woman in the committee for changing the constitution. Every day we found women are not there.”

Saadawi wants women’s groups to unite and do exactly what the youth did in the uprising that toppled Mubarak.

“Women should be in the street in millions,” she says. “If women … make a march with all their demands, this is the pressure.”

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