Women, who were sworn in as judges at the State Council last year, took a seat on the judicial benches of the independent judicial body on Saturday for the first time in Egypt’s history.
The momentous occasion, lauded by many officials as “historic,” comes in implementation of presidential decision 446/2021 to appoint 98 female judges to the State Council, state news agency MENA reported.
The council had repeatedly rejected female applicants until President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the State Council and Public Prosecution to hire women judges, a step that was widely applauded by officials and women’s rights activists.
Although there are a number of women occupying judicial posts, no women have ever been appointed as judges at the State Council.
The 98 female judges have passed an intensive training course to acquire the skills of judicial work, review lawsuits, manage court hearings, and be familiar with some issues related to national security and combating corruption, President of the State Council Mohamed Hossam El-Din said.
The judges will assume their work as judicial state commissioners, will preside over preparatory hearings, and will be in charge of making sure that all documents necessary for pleadings are complete, said Hossam El-Din.
Female judges will therefore have all the powers as male judges in the State Council and at the same time will continue to review lawsuits and prepare reports of their legal opinion on them.
They will also continue judicial training courses to enhance their “judicial character” and learn more about the code of judicial traditions, he added.
President of the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsy said that Saturday 5 March has become a “new historic day” for Egyptian women.
Established in 1946, the State Council is in charge of handling administrative disputes and appeals and reviewing draft laws.
In June, El-Sisi issued a number of judicial decisions in a meeting with top judicial figures, including allowing women to start working at the State Council and Public Prosecution starting October and declaring 1 October as Egyptian ‘Judiciary Day.’
Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady hailed El-Sisi’s decisions in June as “historic,” noting that they “will contribute to achieving full equality between men and women in assuming judicial posts in all judicial bodies and authorities.”