One women’s advocate says the treatment of women is the greatest indicator of how much a government values democracy.
Hibaaq Osman, the founder of Cairo-based women’s rights nonprofit Karama, joined HuffPost Live at the Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss the relationship between women’s rights and a government’s commitment to its people. She mentioned that governments who show little regard for women’s rights will perpetually lack respect for democracy and justice.
Specially, she mentioned Mohammed Morsi’s recently ousted Muslim Brotherhood:
“The minute [Morsi’s government] came in and, of course, they started curtailing women’s rights, immediately,” she told Ahmed Shihab-Eldin of HuffPost Live. “And, to me, that was an indication that these governments in the Middle East were not committed to democracy, human rights, justice, or dignity. That was an indication.”
Osman has advocated for the improvement of women’s status, dignity, and rights in the Arab world — especially in Egypt, where women have long suffered from a lack of equality.
In March, for example, Morsi’s government claimed that a U.N. declaration promoting women’s basic rights would destroy society. In 2011, women only made up 24 percent of Egypt’s working force. Recent U.N. Women data indicates that almost 100 percent of Egypt’s women have been sexually harassed at one point.
Osman’s organization, Karama, operates in Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt to influence legislation and advance the role of women in the Arab world.
The original article was published August 3, 2012 on The Huffington Post’s website.