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7 - Egypt’s Tale of Two Constitutions

Diverging Gendered Processes and Outcomes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 March 2019

Ruth Rubio-Marín
Universidad de Sevilla
Helen Irving
University of Sydney
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Explores the history of women’s participation in constitution-making in Egypt, and outlines the strategies women have adopted to have their aspirations for constitutional equality heard. The chapter describes Egypt’s turbulent constitutional processes following the ‘revolution’ of 2011. It examines gender relations in Egypt’s constitutions as sites for mobilisation, bargaining and contestation, and argues that the high post-revolution hopes of the Egyptian people have been disappointed. The chapter examines the ideological underpinnings of different constitutional projects, the dynamics of coalition-building, the different gender outcomes and their enforceability. It explains how, ironically, the constitution adopted under the first democratically elected government in 2012 threatened to replace a deeply inequitable gender regime with an even more constraining one. It explains the divisions among women’s groups created by this constitution and by subsequent constitutional reforms, and the deep-seated battles between secular and religious interests over constitutional text. It concludes with a reflection on the continuing deep polarisation of women’s groups, despite some positive gender outcomes emanating from the constitution.
Women as Constitution-Makers
Case Studies from the New Democratic Era
, pp. 314 - 350
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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