Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Study Show 75% of Women Harrassed

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

A new study conducted by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR) claims that 75% of women are harassed in one form or another on a regular basis. The study was done as a part of a wider campaign against sexual harassment, and while it may not be representative of all sectors of society (75% is probably high, yet illustrates an important and relevant point):

Cairo, Egypt (AHN) - A recent report on sexual harassment published in coordination with the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights (ECWR) has highlighted the difficulty of discussing women's issues in Egypt. "Making our streets safe for everyone: a volunteer campaign to end sexual harassment" was published by ECWR on May 18, but much of the report leaves more questions than answers.

Statistics dominate the report, showing that nearly all women in Egypt experience some form of harassment on a regular basis. According to the report, at least 75 percent of women in Egypt are touched inappropriately or verbally harassed throughout their daily activities.

Rebecca Chiao, the International Relations Officer at ECWR, told All Headline News that she was disappointed in the wording of the Arabic version.

"Some [women] explained harassment as happening because people are going away from religion," the Arabic report read. It added that other reasons could be a result of how women dress and show themselves on the streets.

"The report was completely volunteer run and we employed a marketing company to conduct focus groups to better understand the data we were getting," Chiao said. "One of the last focus groups was with working class women and that was a major influence on the writers.

"Working class women [in Egypt] believe it is their fault that harassment happens," Chiao continued. She argued that it shows that there is still a long way to go before women believe that no form of harassment is okay, no matter what someone is wearing.

"It [the study] gives us a picture of what is going on," and that can be used for better use of our resources in helping to end sexual harassment, Chiao argued.

Read more about the campaign and what you can do to help here.

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