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Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’

Egyptian TV Imposes Mandatory Diets on Women Anchors to Maintain ‘Appropriate Appearance’

Photo: Al-Ahram
Photo: Al-Ahram

The head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) Safaa Hegazy issued a decision on Tuesday preventing eight women anchors from appearing on screen, pending the implementation of a mandatory diet to achieve an “appropriate appearance.”

According to Aswat Masriya, Hegazy also issued instructions to the women anchors in the TV sector to abide by a nutritional plan and to choose appropriate clothes, or be permanently barred from appearing on-screen and be transferred too administrative jobs instead.

Human rights activists condemned the decision, which they deemed as a “commodification of women” and “a discrimination that no man has ever been subjected to.”

In a statement to Aswat Masriya, Salma El Naqqash, director of gender issues at Nazra Association for Feminist Studies, described the decision as a “superficial and demeaning evaluation that does not rely on efficiency or professional standards,” adding that it is “a clear discrimination against women.”

Hegazy, who was appointed head of ERTU in April 2016, was herself the subject of a similar decision in 2007. After 17 years as a prime news anchor on Egyptian television, Hegazy was forbidden from appearing on the screen following a decision that “prevented overweight announcers from presenting the prime news bulletins,” as part of a renovation plan.

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