Egypt’s women judges get favorable ruling
Egypt’s women judges get favorable ruling
Wednesday, March 17,2010 16:00

The Cairo-based New Women’s Foundation held a press conference on Monday to show its support for the embattled female judges, who had voiced and protested on the street, their frustration over the decision in February.

“We are pleased that the court has revoked the decision, but there is still a long way to go before we are able to have a place in Egypt’s upper parts of society,” said Eman, a recent law graduate who had participated in the protests in February and early March against the State Council’s ruling.

The State Council, which is authorized to settle administrative disputes, voted overwhelmingly against the appointment of women on the body.

The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) was outraged, issuing a statement highlighting that the decision revealed the ongoing struggle women in Egypt must go through in order to have their rights and status affirmed by men.

“Does a lack of organized procedures for entering the judiciary mean that we violate the rights of women indefinitely by preventing them to enter judiciary positions?” an ECWR statement asked after the initial ruling.

After Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif became involved, the country’s top court ruled that the general assembly was not authorized to make such a move, which they said should be decided “by its administrative committee.”

The matter is to be reviewed again on March 22.

Under Egyptian law, the nomination of new judges to the State Council is by presidential decree following the approval of candidates by the administrative committee.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the February decision and called on the Egyptian government to end judicial discrimination toward women.

“The continuing discrimination insults the many Egyptian women who are fully qualified to serve as judges,” Nadya Khalife, women’s rights researcher for the Middle East and North Africa at HRW, said at the time.

“It is about time, but if we look at the situation, all the judges who are women in Egypt have been appointed by the president and this needs to change. We need a chance to make our work speak for ourselves,” added Eman.