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Egyptian Activist: Women's Rights Better Under Mubarak Than Muslim Brotherhood


"It was not the best possible but it was still better than today because there was a state which supported women's rights."

Photo credit: ANSAMed

Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian human rights activist announced that the situation for women in her native country was better under Hosni Mubarak than it is now under the Muslim Brotherhood.

"It is sad to say that the situation for women was much better during the Mubarak era," the activist told ANSAMed.

"It was not the best possible but it was still better than today because there was a state which supported women's rights."

Ziada, who serves as director of the Ibn Khaldum Center for Democratic Studies said that women are "an integral part of Egyptian society" even though they are the ones hardest-hit by the economic crisis.

"Over 30 percent of women are 'caring women' like widows or divorcees who are working to support their families," Ziada told ANSAMed.

"They work at a time when men are having a hard time finding a proper job."

She also noted that underprivileged women fared well in Egypt under Mubarak as they were sponsored by the former leader's wife, Suzanne Mubarak.

Now "they have no one sponsoring them."

"Suzanne Mubarak was a women's rights activist before being the president's wife and a staunch supporter of new laws in favour of women...Now we have a regime which is very hostile to women, an extremist regime of the Muslim Brotherhood which doesn't like women, least of all in public life and the economy."

The activist went on to tell ANSAMed that the Muslim Brotherhood is so hostile that it actually blames men's unemployment on women. The reasoning is that if women were to stay home and take care of the house, there would be jobs for men.

Ziada explained, however, that men's unemployment numbers are based squarely on their qualifications, or rather, lack thereof.

Of course since the Muslim Brotherhood assumed power, sharia law and an erosion of women's rights is ruling the day.

Ziada explained that under Mubarak, "many programmes of the National Council for Women were aimed at poor women living in rural areas, and their objective was to enable them to help change the condition of their families."

The activist also sounded the alarms when it comes to the disturbing topic of female genital mutilation, which she said is poised to make a comeback under the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The issue exists from previous eras and I, a sort of survivor, have always fought to abolish it," Ziada told ANSAMed.

"But we are threatened by the fact that the laws making this practice a crime could be abolished. The Muslim Brothers have started a major campaign among the poorest saying it is in agreement with Islamic customs, which is not true, and stating that people should be free to carry it out."

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