• Women
  • February 4, 2010
  • 3 minutes read

In Egypt, female taxi drivers for women only

In Egypt, female taxi drivers for women only

 CAIRO: The Committee of Fatwas of al-Azhar, which is responsible for issuing Islamic fatwas, or decisions, said it would allow women to work as taxi drivers in the country, but only if those taxis are specializing in transporting women only. The committee also set a number of conditions to enact laws for what they said would protect women who work in this sector from “outlaws” and those “not following the teachings of Islam.”

The text of the fatwa said that “if the State has allocated a number of taxis for women, to work as female taxi drivers, it is better to allocate their dealings with women only and to make the service provided for women only.”

As further stated in the fatwa, “the allocation of such taxis, is to keep women from harm, the government must develop laws to protect women working as taxi driver from outsiders and opponents of integrity; because they do not have the capacity to brawl or defend themselves.”

The allocating of taxis for female drivers has raised concerns and controversy in human rights centers in Egypt, particularly the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR), which rejected the project and said in a previous statement that the center is “deeply concerned” with what it described as “an attempt to isolate women and separating them from the society” and stressed that this project is trying to “find naïve solution with serious implications for social and security problems that needs hard work and proper planning by studying the fundamentals of these problems in order to find the solutions and not by the development of women communities that would siege other women and isolate them.”

The center considered the project a setback for women’s rights in Egypt and called on the need to abolish the vehicles of the underground metro allocated for women only, as it also helps in isolating women.

Nehad Abul Komsan, Head of the ECWR said that these projects represent naïve solutions with “serious consequences that would affect the social security and adversely affect women’s participation in public life.”

She added that it is also a religious setback for human rights “because of its conflict with what was said in international conventions and treaties of the right to life, liberty and personal safety.” She emphasized that there is no provision in the law or Sharia law that “stresses the isolation of women.”