May 17 coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia. Despite the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of world days to celebrate certain groups, but sometimes they do help to spark a discussion or spotlight the deplorable status of these groups in particular countries, like the status of gay and transgender people in Egypt.
International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on March 8. Egypt celebrates Egyptian Women’s Day on March 16, and March 9 marks the infamous day when members of the Armed Forces performed virginity tests on female protestors detained in Tahrir Square in 2011 — a crime no one has been held accountable for to this day.
After more than three decades of national family planning programs, an almost 30-year-old national AIDS program, and two decades of combating female circumcision, a quick look at Egypt’s latest statistics might give you the impression that all this work is Sisyphean. The population clock has just ticked over to 90 million people earlier this month with increasing outcries over the population growth and rising fertility rates.
The Ministry of Health conducts a Demographic and Health Survey every three years. It is the only comprehensive national survey to give a panoramic view of the demographic and health reality in Egypt. The ministry always commissions El-Zanaty and Associates to conduct the survey, which is funded by USAID and supported by UNICEF.
Mona Al-Tahawy’s article, Why Do They Hate published in Foreign Policy magazine, caused huge controversy over the past few days. The bottom line of the article is women all over the MENA region are oppressed by every single man in their lives; men in their families, in society at large, male members of the government, MPs from the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated political parties etc. They all miraculously agree and come together to conspire against us women and the reason is: HATE.