On January 25, 2011, Egyptians stood together in Tahrir Square to call for the end of autocratic leadership. The crowd was widely representative: women, men, children, Coptic Christians, Muslims, Bedouins all showed up in support of the revolution. Less than two weeks before, Tunisian President Ben Ali had been ousted from power as the result of relatively peaceful demonstrations. What seemed a permissive environment for women in the early days of the 2011 revolution turned out to be dangerous, and at times, brutally violent. Following the ouster of Mubarak on February 11, 2011, sexual harassment and violence against women took an insidious turn amidst a period of political turmoil and transition. Two particular forms of sexual violence against women emerged during the demonstrations that ensued: organized mob attacks and gang rape and sexual assault committed by state security forces.
Before long, Egyptian women mobilized to demand their right to political participation and take back their dignity. As women came increasingly under attack in post-revolution Egypt, various organizations surfaced in the fight against sexual harassment and violence against women. The origins and efforts of three of these organizations—HarassMap, Operation Anti Sexual Harassment (OpAntiSH), and Tahrir Bodyguard—are featured here. Working together, and in conjunction with other civil society organizations, members conducted awareness campaigns, rescued women under attack on multiple occasions, and ultimately, pushed for social and political change.
Using Ray and Korteweg’s findings on women’s movements in third world settings as a theoretical framework, I demonstrate that the mobilization of Egyptian women during this period constitutes a “post-revolution women’s movement.” I then discuss the successful social and political outcomes that emerged from the movement, and conclude that this movement is a unique and powerful chapter in the historically rich and still unfolding narrative that is Egyptian feminism.
Keywords: Egypt, women, sexual violence, feminism, mobilization
|School:||The American University of Paris (France)|
|Source:||MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Womens studies, Middle Eastern Studies, North African Studies, Political science|
|Keywords:||Egypt, Feminism, Mobilization, Sexual violence, Women's movement|
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