Egyptian National Council for Women proposes new sexual harassment law

Ahram Online, Friday 5 Apr 2013

Proposed law contains broader definition of sexual harassment with stiff sentences for repeat offenders and those convicted of offences in the workplace

sexual harassment
Women recently protest against sexual harassment in Egypt (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW) has proposed a new law against sexual harassment containing a minimum sentence of one-year imprisonment for first-time offenders.

Under the proposed law, sexual harassment would include following and chasing, obscene gestures, and spoken or written comments of a sexual or pornographic nature in public or in private.

A person convicted under the law would receive a minimum one-year jail term and/or a minimum fine of LE10,000.

If a person commits another harassment offence within one year of being released from prison he would receive a three to five-year prison sentence and a minimum fine of LE5000.

Sexual harassment in the workplace would result in a minimum three-year prison sentence and a minimum fine of LE10,000.

The NCW submitted the law to the cabinet last week but only published its details on Friday.

According to a 2008 survey by the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR), 83 per cent of Egyptian women say they have experienced sexual harassment.

The most common form of harassment was inappropriate touching, followed by verbal harassment. Thirty percent of respondents said they experienced harassment on a daily basis.

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