The main reference for the achievement of equality, justice, and protection

Egypt’s Constitution – which was approved by 98% of voters in a popular referendum – expresses the aspirations of Egyptians, men and women, to achieve social justice. The Constitution’s preamble emphasizes that Egyptian people, both men and women, are “sovereigns in a sovereign homeland”, and that the Constitution is theirs and expresses their will. The Constitution includes several articles which refer to justice and equality. Article 8 stipulates that the State commits to achieving social justice, providing the means to achieve social solidarity to ensure a decent life for all citizens, in the manner organized by law. In addition, Article 53 stipulates that: “citizens are equal before the law, possess equal rights and public duties, and may not be discriminated against on the basis of religion, belief, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social class, political or geographical affiliation or any other reason" The Constitution also considers discrimination and incitement to hatred as crimes punishable by law. It also commits the State to take necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination, and stipulates the establishment of an independent commission for the elimination of discrimination.

The Constitution establishes a strong base for combating discrimination against women in Article 11, which sets forth four obligations towards women, including: “The state commits to achieving equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.” “The State commits to taking the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate representation of women in the houses of representatives, in the manner organized by law. It grants women the right to hold public posts and high management posts in the state, and to appointment in judicial bodies and entities without discrimination. The State shall protect women against all forms of violence and ensure enabling women to strike a balance between family duties and work requirements. The State shall provide care to and protection of motherhood and childhood, female heads of families, and elderly and neediest women.” This Articlea shift in the status of Egyptian women when reflected in legislation that is enforced.

Article 214 of the Constitution stipulates that the National Council for Women exists among other Councils, for which “the Law sets out their structures and mandates.” “These Councils have legal personalities and enjoy technical, financial and administrative independence. They are to be consulted with regards to draft laws and regulations pertaining to their mandate and fields of work.” The same Article grants the Council the right to “report to the public authorities any violations pertaining to its field of work.”

The articles of the Constitution constitute a firm base for a long-term strategy for the protection of women from all forms of violence and discrimination that could be practiced against them. State institutions are committed to its institutionalization in a manner that is not dependent on the change of officials. The houses of representatives, being the unanimous choice of Egyptians, The private sector is committed to guarantee the achievement of inclusive, participatory, and sustainable growth, and civil society is committed being a reflection of the aspirations of society at large.

In addition to legislative reform that is in line with the Constitution, State interventions to eliminate discrimination against women are highly effective when complemented by local interventions implemented by civil society organizations and the private sector. Consolidating the efforts of the State and other non-government actors leads to a change in the social structures and norms that perpetuate injustice between men and women in Egypt, and therefore helps bridge the gap between women’s aspirations and their reality.