Will The Post-Mubarak Egypt Shut Women Out?

Originally published on April 24, 2011 10:02 am
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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Thank you so much for coming in.

MONA MAKRAM: Thank you for having me.

HANSEN: Women have a long list of demands; representation in parliament for one, economic opportunities, educational opportunities. Are you likely to get the ears of the new leaders?

MAKRAM: Today, we, the pro activist Democrats, we want proportional representation so as to give more opportunities for women and for Christians, and for youth - which is very similar to your affirmative action here. That's what we want.

HANSEN: Now, you were in the parliament 20 years ago. Were you treated equally? What was your experience there?

MAKRAM: I had tried at the time to have a women's caucus, but there was no encouragement in that, and women thought that this would be badly looked upon by the men. Many women think things that, you know, politics is a man's business and they are bashful. I think after 25th of January, all this has changed. There is a new spirit among the young generation of men and women today who have given their lives for dignity, justice and freedom.

HANSEN: For the first time in Egypt's history, a woman is running for president, Buthayna Kamel. It seems it could be a sign that things are changing. What do you think her chances are?

MAKRAM: So this will take less time but people will get used to the idea. And I'm very glad that she's running. Maybe I said that she doesn't have any chance because I'm a realistic. But I'm very, very happy that she is running. And I'm sure that a lot of women will be campaigning for her. So I am really very hopeful.

HANSEN: You've outlined so many things that you are aiming for, for women in Egypt. But there was the protest and there were the men yelling at them. Do you expect to have to do that again?

MAKRAM: Do you think that we will be scared by men yelling at us? We can yell 10 times more. That you can be sure of. And secondly, we will go back to Tahrir Square. We will ask for our rights and you'll see that they will have to back down.

HANSEN: Thank you so much for coming in.

MAKRAM: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.