Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Women Press For A Voice In The New Egypt [NPR]

by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

For the first time in Egyptian history, a woman is running for president.

Buthayna Kamel's candidacy in elections expected later this year is the result of the youth uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak and his ruling party.

[Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson|NPR] 
Buthanya Kamel, the first female presidential 
candidate in Egypt, speaks at a campaign event 
at the main library in Luxor about the struggles 
of young people in the revolution.
Still, many Egyptian women say they feel shut out of the new government that is emerging. They worry that unless they take bold steps, women will end up with less political clout in the new Egypt than they had under Mubarak.

A New Freedom Meets An Old Problem

In her flowing black robe, Kamel looks like a traditional Egyptian woman. In reality, she is anything but.

The 49-year-old talk show host turned presidential candidate is on the campaign trail. She recently held a town hall gathering outside the main library in Egypt's famous southern city of Luxor. Not long ago, a gathering for people to vent their frustrations about the government — let alone discuss Kamel's presidential aspirations — would have been impossible.

In the past, only candidates approved by Mubarak and rubber-stamped by his Parliament could run. And Egyptians were convinced Mubarak was grooming his son, Gamal, to take over once he retired.

But today, Kamel and other Egyptians are looking forward to what they hope will be a real presidential race with grassroots campaigns.


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