Gender-based violence in Egypt

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Collective action on GBV in Egypt

In the 2000s, international civil society organisations championed the recognition and prioritisation of gender based violence globally. This created a ripple effect in Egypt where the national women’s machinery adopted the elimination of gender-based violence at home as a key issue, and coalitions were formed to work specifically on the topic and as one of the key issues raised in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Most of the coalitions were comprised of NGOs working together on common campaigns. The leadership was predominantly of an older generational group from more privileged backgrounds (middle and upper class). Very few men were involved in such initiatives and where they were, it was in their professional capacity as workers or NGO leaders, rarely as volunteer activists.

Since the 2011 revolution, new and revitalised coalitions have emerged, led by young women, using innovative approaches and involving more men. For more information see the Profiles of Collective actors in Egypt.

Collective actor highlights

A young woman protests in the street. Her placard reads My freedom is my dignity
A young woman protests in the street. Her placard reads “My freedom is my dignity”.
A street protest against sexual harassment. The placard on the left says “We will not be afraid”.
This woman protestor’s placard reads “Shame on men, harassment is disgrace and dishonour”
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Egypt programme reports

Reclaiming the Streets for Women’s Dignity: Effective Initiatives in the Struggle against Gender-Based Violence in between Egypt’s Two Revolutions. Tadros, Mariz (2014).

This Evidence Report and accompanying brief focus on the struggle to combat gender-based violence in public space in Egypt through the sustained collective action of vigilante groups who organically formed to respond to the increasing encroachment on women in public space from 2011 onwards. 

Evidence Report Supporting brief

Database of Collective Actors Involving Men Tackling Gender-Based Violence in Public Space in Post-Mubarak Egypt. Tadros, Mariz (2013).

This report reviews interventions involving men, collective action and gender-based violence in Egypt. It examines what made interventions successful and notes that each has important elements of partnership, coalition working, or community mobilisation strategies around changing social norms.

Evidence Report | Online profiles of collective actors

Battling with Increased Gender-Based Violence in Egypt’s Transition: Report on the Scoping Workshop held in Cairo, November 2012. Tadros, Mariz (2013).

This report is about a scoping workshop held by the Institute of Development Studies in collaboration with the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA). The aims were to bring together activists to identify the most acute forms of GBV in the Egyptian context; map actors influencing GBV; discuss strategies and engage with those using collective action and who work with men.

Evidence Report

Latest updates

A new IDS policy briefing summarises the key findings of a global research programme on effective organised activism against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). It highlights the importance of addressing the underlying structural causes of violence showing that men are becoming more visible as partners in tackling SGBV, holding themselves and others accountable for maintaining harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence.

23.09.15How feminist groups are taking on post-revolution Egypt

Since the Egyptian revolution, from 2011 to 2014, feminist groups and civil initiatives have been working even harder against sexual harassment and for gender equality. This article explores the work work of these groups, including Nazra for Feminist Studies.

Ntokozo Yingwana explores the importance of a collective strategy for impact, inspired by a recent global learning workshop on engaging men and boys in sexual and gender-based violence initiatives. The workshop brought together partners from Egypt, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Uganda.

Women’s rights and the 2011 Egyptian revolution

The Egyptian Revolution instigated on the 25th January, 2011, saw the participation and leadership of women in the bid to oust Mubarak from power and demand “freedom, justice and dignity” for all. Accordingly, there were raised expectations that women’s agency would be recognised by the post-Mubarak state and society alike, through increased opportunities for leadership and more egalitarian attitudes towards citizenship rights for all, irrespective of gender. 

Read more