Egyptians Fight Back Against Sexual Harassment

In Egypt, a nation where over 99 percent of women have experienced a form of sexual harassment, both men and women strive to make change.

egyptian women sexual harassment
(Image credit: Archives)

Women's rights have been a hot button topic stateside, especially in the past few weeks with news about abortion (opens in new tab) and birth control (opens in new tab) hitting the headlines. But overseas, women's rights are being equally hit hard, and some are standing up to protest. Sexual harassment has become more than just a problem in Egypt — it runs rampant.

According to a recent report from U.N. Women, more than 99 percent of Egyptian women have experienced sexual harassment. That's nearly every woman in Egypt. Additionally, 83 percent said they don't feel safe on the street. The laws and punishments for men who grab and grope women mean that not only do Egyptian men continue to engage in this behavior, but that they can continue to do so without any legal ramifications.

To combat this growing problem, strides are being made to help the situation. The Anti-Harassment Movement has both male and female supporters. The group holds workshops in universities and in the streets to spark discussion about issues of sexual harassment. Even the government is taking a stand — local press reported in May that an all-female police unit was being formed in order to combat sexual assault in the streets.

While efforts are being made, the legal murkiness of the situation demands change. There are laws pertaining to rape, public indecency, and assault, which can apply to sexual harassment, but nothing that specifically addresses it. While efforts are being made, there hasn't been any substantial drop in harassment. As awareness and efforts grow, hopefully that drop is not too far away.

Diana Pearl
Diana Pearl

I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.