Egyptian Chronicles: Talk to me about a true triumph for Women in the new cabinet

Monday, October 5, 2015

Talk to me about a true triumph for Women in the new cabinet

I did not speak about the new cabinet of PM Sherif Ismail as I used to do in this blog sharing the new ministers’ who is who. It is never too late to share some of my thoughts about the new ministers.
I noticed that in the past two weeks there has a lot of talk about the new female ministers in Ismail’s cabinet and needless to say, there were lots and lots of sexism towards those ladies.
Only three ministers were appointed in Sherif Ismail. Minister Ghada Wali kept her position as minister of social solidarity, Sahar Nasr was appointed as minister of international cooperation and Nabila Makram Ebeid as the minister of the newly founded ministry of immigration and Egyptians abroad affairs.
As soon as their photos of the ministers swearing in hit the wires, we found such comments on how beautiful and elegant they are as a triumph for women in Egypt !! We found a famous college photo for them.
The popular photo college showing the ministers swearing in
First , appointing three female ministers in the cabinet already is not a huge triumph or achievement for women in Egypt because actually it seems that the maximum number of ministerial seats the Egyptian woman can get in any cabinet is three women.
 I do not know why some of our feminists are cheering for appointing 3 women ministers when we used to have four women ministers in the second reshuffle of Ibrahim Mahlab’s cabinet.
Second, I read that comments of so-called and self-claimed feminists on Facebook and I feel that they are actually superficial sexists who judge women on how they look.
“I can say the Egyptian mentality in decision-making cabinet has progressed to meet the 21st-century global requirements” !! 
This is is the exact comment of a famous writer specialized in women’s issues on Facebook !!
I do not know what the 21st-century global requirements are, let alone we do not know really if those ladies were chosen according to those requirements.


Wali is already the student of Faiza Abu El-Naga and hates NGOs, Nasr is a former World Bank employee and Nabila Makram is a woman and Christian as well diplomat so two birds are hit by one stone !!
Other than that we do not know how they were chosen.
Other comments were about how chic, beautiful and unveiled to represent Egypt’s so-called civilized secular face.
I do not know what to say, but I am fed up with that superficial judgment.
Okay maybe those people, mostly from Pro-Sisi supporters are only on Facebook and I am biased somehow but what about the mainstream media !?
Rotana TV proud sexist TV host Tamer Amin believes that this cabinet will do good because of how those ministers look and that we are not going to share the photos of beautiful foreign officials any more thanks to them !!
Tamer Amin about the new female ministers in the cabinet
Pro-regime Siyad Ali likes Minister Sahar Nasr saying that she was young, beautiful, elegant ….  pretty like the moon and more beautiful than foreigners !!!” I wish he spoke about her background as World Bank employee and Egypt’s relation with the Bank instead.
Siyad Ali : Sahar Nasr is prettier than foreigners
Many TV hosts took that path when it comes to those ministers
Sawt El-Oma reached rock bottom with its report about “The hotties of Ismail Sherif cabinet
Even Saudi-news website Al-Arabiya used a sexist title about them, “Egypt.. the beauties of Sherif Ismail government” while profiling them.
I noticed already even state-owned newspapers also treat them in the same way.
I was reading Al-Akhbar newspaper last week and found that title about Sahar Nasr, the lady minister who changed the “furniture” of the ministry as if she were a housewife !!
 When I read the news I found out that she gave her orders to renovate the old meeting hall in the International cooperation ministry because it was old and needed maintenance !!!

   The other side of the coin

Nabila Makram Ebeid was also criticized over her short sleeve blouse she wore while swearing in !!! Yes, another kind of sexism or rather conservatism we have here.
Oh yes, close-to-Presidency TV host Ahmed Moussa said that she wearing inappropriate attire while swearing in as a minister in front of the President. He also said that El-Sisi noticed that !!!
Personally Moussa presents the true face of the regime, the Non-Islamist conservative face.
Ahmed Moussa criticizes Makram’s short sleeves
The former diplomat who descends from the famous political family slammed her critics and said that she did not break the protocol and that she would wear what she would see appropriate including Jeans in her field world with migrants.
Nabila Makram and her Chinese style blouse which I like 
Needless to say, we had couple of days discussing Makram’s short sleeves in the media especially that it was discovered that the minister wore it before !!
Oh yes Nabila Makram wore a nice blouse, she used to wear before several times before like any normal person !!!
Anyhow, I do not care if the cabinet got women or not, or whether those women are conservatives or liberal  as much I care about the performance and true background of those ministers before anything.
For me gender equity in politics does not mean we must have women in cabinet and in parliament in some sort of useless quota to show the world that we are civilized in a fake way , it means for me choosing the right person for the right position regardless of his or her gender whether that position is elected or appointed one.
Also those comments about how the ministers look ignore some basic world-historical facts.
Benazir Bhutto used to cover her head and was the Prime minister for a country like Pakistan and the-not-so-attractive Golda Meir was the PM of Israel.
Indira Gandhi of India and Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sir Lanka used to wear their national attire and not haute couture !!
Those people unfortunately also ignore that Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world currently is not its stylish woman.
By the way, speaking about female ministers and their achievements I am astonished and angry on how everyone neglected former minister Laila Iskander of urban development.
Former Minister Laila Iskander
The ex-minister chose the best interest for the country’s environment and the people whether as minister of environment or minister of urban development.
She was the only official as minister of environment to express her refusal for the use of coal. Of course after that statement and in the first ministerial reshuffle, Iskander left the ministry of environment to become the minister of urban development.
The current minister of environment fully supports the use of coal in energy and heavy industries.
As minister of urban development, Laila Iskander proved herself perfectly choosing the best solutions to help the public. Already Iskander reached to a solution in the long disputed Maspero triangle shanty town that pleased everybody whether the local residents or NGOs or the investors.
The development in the shanty should have started shortly, but now it seems that the whole project is in limbo after the bitter fact that Iskander left the cabinet and the short-lived ministry of urban development was terminated.
The file of shanty towns is back to the ministry of housing and its minister Mostafa Madbouli who is hated and feared by the shanty towns residents.
I do not find any respect or appreciation for Laila Iskander as a minister who achieved something for real. People in Maspero triangle are extremely sad that she left.
It has been a long time since the people especially from working class to have faith and respect for an official or a minister.
Back to our female ministers, please if you claim to be progressive then stop your elitist classiest  and sexist comments.

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