Constitutional amendments 'fairer' to women: Council for Women

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Sep 2013

Amendments to the 2012 constitution ensure better representation of women in elected bodies and full equality between men and women in all fields, says the semi-governmental rights body

Mervat El-Tallawy
NCW head Mervat El-Tallawy (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW) said in a statement issued Wednesday that new amendments under-discussion to the currently suspended 2012 constitution are "fairer" to women.

The Fundamental Principles subcommittee of the 50-member constitution amending body agreed to suggestions filed by NCW head Mervat El-Tallawy, who also sits on the committee, the statement said.

These suggestions included "obliging the state to guarantee full equality between men and women in all fields and fair representation of women in elected bodies." 

In addition, according to the statement, the council suggested adding a clause in Article 11 of the proposed amended draft constitution saying that the state "ensures protecting women from all kinds of violence [and] that she exercises all her rights as a citizen without discrimination against her." 

Originally, Article 10 of the suspended constitution guaranteed certain social rights for women but did not address the question of violence against them.

Article 10 stated that, "The State shall ensure free maternal and child health services, and facilitate the reconciliation between the duties of a woman toward her family and her work.The State shall provide special care and protection to female breadwinners, divorced women and widows."

A 10-member committee of legal experts, that wrote up the proposed amended looked at by the 50-member body, maintained most of the article's language but proposed dropping guaranteeing maternal and child health services for free and conditioned some women's social and political rights on their consistency with Islamic law.

The 2012 constitution was suspended following president Mohamed Morsi's ouster in July. The 10-member committee of legal experts was then formed to amend the constitution, while the 50-member committee is tasked with finalising these amendments.

The 50-member committee is expected to produce a final draft constitution within 60 days.

The constitution will be put to a national referendum within 30 days of its completion.

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