Feature

Women in Egypt’s Parliament: Growing Presence but Little Change

Women in Egypt’s Parliament: Growing Presence but Little Change

Female candidates secured around 1% of the 508 seats in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
Female candidates secured around 1% of the 508 seats in the 2012 parliamentary elections.

By Aswat Masriya

Egyptian women were given the right to run for parliament in 1956, making them the first to be granted suffrage rights in the Arab world.

Abdel Ghaffar Shukr, deputy head of the National Council for Human Rights, told Aswat Masriya that this is “women’s most important accomplishment,” although women have not made significant electoral victories because society has not accepted it.

Suffrage right was stipulated in the 1956 constitution and in 1957, eight women ran for seats in parliament.

On July 14, 1957 the first two Egyptian women won seats in parliament, making history both in Egypt and in the Arab world.

In the 1964 parliament, women grabbed eight seats, which amounted to 2.2 percent of the 360 seat house.

The introduction of quotas in 1979 marked another milestone for Egypt’s women. The quota reserved 30 seats for women and women could also compete against men over other seats.

In 1979, 200 women contested and 33 won parliamentary seats. Late president Anwar al-Sadat appointed two more women, which brought the total to 35 women lawmakers, accounting for eight percent of seats.

parliament

The quota was broadened in 1984 to include marginalised categories which reduced the percentage of women in parliament to 7.8 percent or 36 seats.

In the following elections, the quota was cancelled and the drop was more pronounced. Women only made up 3.9 percent of lawmakers in 1987, when 14 female contenders won seats and four were appointed.

But 1990 marked an even harsher blow to women, who only made up 0.22 percent of all lawmakers, after winning 10 of 454 seats.

The quota was reinstated in 2010, guaranteeing 64 seats, but women were unable to win any additional seats.

In 2012, the quota was lifted and female representation in parliament was less than 2 percent despite a record number of candidates that exceeded 900.

Egypt is now gearing for parliamentary elections and 308 women are running for seats. Campaign season has kicked off last week and women are working relentlessly to make their mark.

Voting for the House of Representatives will be held over two phases. The first phase of voting in Egypt and abroad will run from Oct 17 – 19.

Egypt Dominates African Rowing Championships With 14 Medals
Islamic State Leader's Convoy Struck in Airstrike: Iraq

Subscribe to our newsletter


Feature
@AswatMasriya_En

Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

More in Feature

‘My Private Space’: When Puppets Talk

Aya NaderMay 23, 2017

A Trip from Egypt to Indonesia: Marvelous Destination for Budget Travellers  

Egyptian StreetsMay 18, 2017

Nassim el-Raqs: Artistry Unleashed in the City of Alexandria

Engy AdhamMay 17, 2017

Egyptian Poetry Book Celebrates the Cultural Heritage of ‘Shubra’ District

Egyptian StreetsMay 17, 2017

Forget Pricey Books, 6 Places in Cairo That Offer Affordable Books for Bibliophiles

Egyptian StreetsMay 15, 2017

‘Cinema for Humanity’ Film Festival Launches in Egypt’s El Gouna

Aya NaderMay 10, 2017

Alwan & Awtar: Driving Education Based on Community Needs

BECAUSEMay 9, 2017

The League Gears up to Rock the Sports Scene in Cairo

Egyptian StreetsMay 7, 2017
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2017 Egyptian Streets. All Rights Reserved.