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Egyptian president Morsi vows to elect woman, Christian as vice presidents


Crystal Huskey
WVoN co-editor

Newly elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi says he will appoint a woman as one of his vice presidents and a Christian as another.   

The decision is historic, as no woman has ever held that position in Egypt.  

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, held that women should be banned from the role of president, but that he would stand for women’s rights.   

The Muslim Brotherhood is historically conservative.  Before the election, there was a real fear that the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power would mean Egypt would become an Islamic state.  

It is important to remember that the new regimes have been democratically elected.  As long as the people continue to have a voice and can report on human rights violations and demand change, the government will continue to evolve in a positive way. 

The most significant threat posed by an Islamic regime would be to women’s rights.  

Morsi, however, directly confronted this fear by saying: “”The role of women in Egyptian society is clear.  Women’s rights are equal to men.

“Women have complete rights, just like men. There shouldn’t be any kind of distinction between Egyptians except that … based on the constitution and the law.” 

Egyptian women have had a history of their rights being violated. According to the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, 90-97% of women have been victims of female genital mutilations (FGM).

Following the mass protests in Egypt, women were subjected to virginity checks and further abuses. 

According to “Islam, Human Rights and Interfaith Relations: Some Contemporary Egyptian Perspectives,” by Valerie Hoffman: 

“In the last ten to fifteen years, Islamist thought has evolved. Politically speaking, the Muslim Brotherhood has long been viewed as ‘moderate,’ working within the system and no longer advocating the violent overthrow of the government, a reality that has in fact led them gradually to alter their political theories and perspectives on Egyptian society and government.” 

Egyptian feminist Nawal el Saadawi (and patron of WVoN) pointed out, however, that just because one of the vice presidents was a woman would not necessarily mean that she would be less of a patriarch, capitalist, or racist than a man.   

“Half of the Egyptian Women’s Union are young revolutionary men,” she told WVoN, “yet some women with the Salafi party or with the Muslim Brothers party supported the backlash against women’s rights in the last parliament in Egypt. 

“If the new president… chooses a progressive woman supporting women’s rights, then this will be positive.”

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