How would you describe women's participation in the revolution in January and February?
Margot Badran: As we know youth were predominant at the very start and the youth included females and males. And, when people of all generations quickly joined the demonstrations in Tahrir Square this also saw women and men rising up together. Everyone rose up as Egyptians whatever their gender, religion, or class. The eighteen days of protests in Tahrir that quickly spread to other parts of Egypt constituted a monumental display of national unity. It was everyone's revolution.
When the going got tough and the protesters were attacked women and men alike fought back. Together they kept the struggle alive, everyone pulling their weight and doing whatever task was necessary – gender had nothing to do with it – until they achieved the ousting of Mubarak.
Now some eight months after the fall of Mubarak, looking at the first round of parliamentary elections it is apparent that there will be very few women in the Parliament.
Badran: Yes. But actually the numbers of women as members of parliament in Egypt have historically been low so this, alas, is not all that different.
However, with the revolution one would certainly have hoped for greater numbers of women to be elected. Imagine what it would be if the proportion of women in parliament matched, or even approximated, the numbers of women as revolutionaries on the front line.
We see that it is fine for women to be militant activists but being equally active in formal politics is something else. This will change but the question is how long will it take for electoral politics to catch up with activist politics.
Interview by Elisa Pierandrei
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