Shura Council member and leader of the Salafist Asala Party Adel Afifi on Thursday called for the dissolution of Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW), Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported on Thursday.
Afifi also called for dividing the dissolved NCW's budget between Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM).
"Before the revolution, these councils didn't play real roles; they were little more than window dressing," said Ashraf Daadaa, head of the Cairo-based Citizenship Human Rights Organisation. "Most of the funds that came from abroad to serve women and children were not spent for this purpose."
He added: "But this doesn’t mean the NCW should be dissolved; it can be restructured and developed so as to play a positive role. And the council's restructuring should have nothing to do with political orientations or the political situation."
Daadaa went on to stress the need to revamp the NCW.
"Development [of the NCW] is a must," he said. "The NCHR was politicised when the Muslim Brotherhood took power, which was the only development that took place. In if remains so, it's better to simply dissolve it."
On 16 April, the NCW sent a letter to Shura Council speaker Ahmed Fahmy denouncing fierce criticisms of the council that had been voiced at an earlier meeting of the Shura Council’s human rights committee.
The committee had been discussing women's rights in Egypt at the request of Shura member Nadia Henry. The session included discussion of a recent UN declaration, ostensibly aimed at ending violence against women.
The NCW has said that it sent a draft law aimed at ending violence against women to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil on 15 April. The draft law reportedly includes five sections dealing with physical violence, rape, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and the exclusion of women from inheritance.
Qandil had commissioned the council to draft the proposed law earlier in the year.