(Ahram Online) How far will Egypt's new constitution change the position of women?
As Egypt's Constituent Assembly moves closer to completing the long-awaited draft constitution, concerns have been raised regarding articles dealing with the status and rights of women. Some commentators have predicted a reduction in woman's rights from those guaranteed in the 1971 constitution, whilst others have suggested there will be little change.
Article 11 of the 1971 constitution states
"The State shall guarantee harmonisation between the duties of woman towards the family and her work in the society, ensuring her equal status with man in fields of political, social, cultural and economic life without violation of the rules of Islamic jurisprudence.
This is to be compared with article 36 of the proposed draft constitution:
"The state is committed to taking all constitutional and executive measures to ensure equality of women with men in all walks of political, cultural, economic and social life, without violation of the rules of Islamic jurisprudence."
Amr Shalakany, professor of law at the American University in Cairo, said the new article has more details on the state's commitment to women's rights and is more straightforward:
"[Article 36 of the draft constitution] holds the state directly responsible [for women's rights] through the legislative and executive arms, while the previous article [of the 1971 constitution] was not detailed on how such matters would be guaranteed. The problem is that it keeps women in the same position as the old constitution."