Egyptian men are staging another revolution—one “against women’s rights,” said Aliaa Dawood. Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, a peaceful revolt in which female demonstrators played a key role, organizations have sprung up with names like the Coalition to Protect the Family and even the Egyptian Men’s Revolution. They are trying to cancel many of the rights that women gained before the revolution. Almost immediately, these groups managed to eliminate the quota assuring women a presence in parliament. Next on the chopping block, and already under discussion, is our right to sue for divorce and then to retain custody of our children.
Women’s rights in Egypt are particularly vulnerable because they are associated with the former First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, who has become a symbol, along with her husband, of depraved greed and autocracy. Suzanne was so strongly identified with the laws giving women full equality that they are known here as the “Suzanne Mubarak laws”—an unfortunate label now. Some Egyptian men seem to feel that the Mubarak regime will not be fully banished until the Suzanne laws are overturned.