The dramatic events in Egypt and the Middle East & North Africa have seen millions taking to the streets to demand real change.
Women are standing beside men, demanding an end to repression and calling for root and branch reform. Both women and men have suffered under these repressive governments. But women have also had to cope with discriminatory laws and deeply entrenched gender inequality.
So it’s no wonder that women took to the streets. That they cheered loudly when Mubarak departed. Or that they wanted to believe the promise of a new dawn in Egypt.
In Egypt, where the country begins to look toward its future, women are in danger of being excluded from the process of creating that new Egypt.
They are being excluded by the caretaker government and the international community so far remains indifferent. Most recently, a new national committee formed to propose changes to the Egyptian constitution was composed only of men.. This is not acceptable.
Women's participation must be in every aspect of building new systems and institutions. However the current behaviour by the interim authorities and the international community betrays a sense of paternalism all too familiar to Egyptian women who have spent decades living under an oppressive government supported by supposedly rights-respecting states like the UK and USA.
For the promise of true and lasting human rights change in Egypt and elsewhere in the region – and the world – to be fulfilled, women of diverse backgrounds and views must be at the table as full partners.
Write to the Leader of the Supreme Military Council - Field Marshal Muhammad Tantawi to tell him that women must not be excluded from the shaping of the future of Egypt.
Image: © Ramy Raoof