Over the past couple of years, Egypt has drastically changed. Personally, my favourite turning point in the Egyptian history is the 1919 revolution. Although people seem to only focus on the negative aspects the feminists of the 1919 revolution have caused, I consider them heroes.
If you watch old Egyptian movies and dramas, you will notice one infuriating trend that seems to be repetitive; men having the upper hand. I do understand that at that time men did all the labour, the work and the moneymaking, and I do understand that the final word was theirs since nearly every cent spent was theirs, but that was because, back then, the women were not allowed to have jobs!
Fast forward to 2017, women have jobs, women have their own money to spend as they please, not to mention how even some women are the ‘moneymaking person’ in some households, however, why do women still face discrimination and sexism on daily basis?
On the 22nd of July, I made an online questionnaire titled Gender Roles in Modern Egypt, it was filled up by 16 Egyptian female high-school students who come from median-to-high-income families. The questions circulated around their experience with gender roles.
When asked whether they feel that gender roles affect their lives or not, 83.33% of them answered with yes. The next question was an open-ended question for them to give examples of the effects of gender roles on their lives, 3 of the most spot-on answers were:
1. Having to serve and feed another human being who can serve and feed himself because I’m a woman and he is a man.
2. I can’t go out late or go on road trip with friends because I’m a female.
3. It’s expected of females (by family/society) to always bear children, even when they do not wish to.
And when asked about situations which they’ve witnessed gender roles being applied, these 3 answers caught my attention:
1. Women spend the whole day in the kitchen while men spend the whole day at work.
2. Women always do the cleaning and take care of the house.
3. At multiple households, the wife’s duties are only cooking and taking care of the children, as for the husband they’re working and providing money.
Lastly, when asked whom they think is more affected by gender roles; females or males, 100% of them answered with ‘females’.
I chose female high school students from median-to-high-income families because they are the next generation. Most of the low-income families’ females still suffer from the gender roles that have been there even before the 1919 revolution took place, whereas the students I have chosen are considered privileged in modern Egypt. If these students are already going through hardship because of gender roles, imagine how much the females of the low-income families are suffering! Not to mention the fact that the majority of families in Egypt are low-income, meaning that the majority of Egyptian females are suffering!
Now onto the solutions; how can corporations help females feel more confident to rise as high as males in the Egyptian society?
I have thought of three perfect solutions for this social issue.
Firstly, corporations should start non-profitable advertising campaigns on television and social media to encourage females to speak up against discrimination and offer them the financial support they need if their case requires it. That way, these females can spread their stories to help more females speak up.
Secondly, corporations should allow both genders to apply to all jobs regardless of whether these jobs are office-jobs or physical-labour. Also, when advertising about needing new employees, employers should use the phrase, “we accept both genders,” instead of, “we accept females too,” because the former implies that accepting females for this job is as much as a right of females as it is for males. On the other hand, if they do not write either phrase, it would discourage females from applying due to their fear of being rejected or made fun of.
Last but not least, corporations should discourage the sexist newspaper memes about how scary women would be if they were given their rights to being equal to men; these subtle remarks cause men to be more aggressive towards the idea of letting women have as many rights, privileges and freedom as them.
In conclusion, I have to admit that in comparison to other countries, Egyptian females may be considerably living blissful lives, however, that does not mean that they do not suffer from unjustness.