Washington: The heady optimism that infused Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year is being slowly replaced by fear, that the very political forces that helped sweep long-serving Hosni Mubarak from power, which are remaking the Egyptian society into a rigid, religiously intolerant, patriarchal system, a female Egyptian activist has warned.
Dalia Ziada accused the Muslim Brotherhood of pursuing anti-democratic policies and said that women needed to be given more power.
“What’s happening now is the Muslim Brotherhood is coercing everything. What I fear is that we will be facing the Muslim Brotherhood’s theocracy with Mubarak’s autocracy,” the Christian Science Monitor quoted Ziada, as saying, referring to the once-banned conservative Islamic political group that now dominates Egypt’s parliament and the presidency.
“I don’t believe our revolution will succeed until one day we will have a woman president. I don’t believe there can be a democracy unless women are properly in power,” she added.
She also acknowledged that Egypt’s political life mirrors traditional social norms, particularly when it comes to attitudes toward women in public life. She said her organization helped run a public opinion survey not long ago in Cairo, and of the roughly 1,000 people surveyed, every one of them said they did not want a woman to be president.
“Men are telling women, ‘Go back home, it’s not your time now, we want to build democracy, you should be home. It’s not proper that the people who led the revolution are now completely out of the scene now,” she said.
Ziada is one of a growing number of women activists in a movement that some have called “The Pink Hijab.” The wave of uprisings that roiled politics and upended dictatorships from Tunisia, to Egypt, to Yemen has featured female activists at its forefront in a way that was previously unthinkable in male-dominated Muslim societies, the report said.