The head of Egypt's National Council for Women, Mervat al-Tallawy, said Friday that Egyptian women are excluded from the revolutionary scene due to “social culture and the currents that have taken advantage of the revolution and taken positions, such as political Islam.”
Tallawy told Saudi satellite channel Al-Arabiya that political Islamists “always refuse to grant women their natural place, although all their statements say the opposite."
She said that appointing a woman vice president will not correct the situation, because the answer is in fixing the development of woman's rights in the Constitution rather than leaving it to gift giving by the president or Parliament.
Tallawy said supporters of Islamism in the Parliament have tended to undermine the rights acquired by women.
She gave as examples proposals to cancel the law giving women the right to obtain divorce, which is a right granted in the Quran, to reduce the marriageable age of girls to 12 years, and to cancel laws against sexual harassment and female genital mutilation.
She said that these proposals are derived from Islamic Sharia law and have the approval of Al-Azhar, the State Council and the Ministry of Justice.
Tallawy attributed women's problems to erroneous interpretations of the Sharia, while Islam produced the first document in the world that recognized human rights, she said, even before countries described as “civilized.”
Essam al-Erian, vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, said President Mohamed Morsy believes that the presidential institution may combine various components of Egypt's society, such as women and Copts, without necessarily making them all vice presidents.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm