Men play backgammon at a cafe in Cairo August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
CAIRO – 17 April 2018: Tensions are vividly on the rise as a lawmaker looks into proposing an unprecedented draft law stipulating the establishment of a national council for men.
MP Omar Hamroush, secretary of Parliament’s Religious Affairs Committee, said that there is significant discrimination exercised against men, which is being demonstrated in the newly-approved law that regulates the National Council for Women (NCW).
“The new law tips the scale against men and grants great prerogatives to women at the expense of men, which violates the principle of equality enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution,” Harfoush added in press remarks on Wednesday.
The law proposal consists of a number of articles calling for the establishment of the National Council for Men, whose purpose would be to prevent all sorts of discrimination against men and to deal with the “social damage” inflicted on men recently. The draft law also stipulates that the headquarters of the prospective men’s council shall be situated in Cairo, and its board will consist of a number of experts appointed by the president, while a specific portion of the general budget will accordingly be allocated for the council.
FILE-Egypt's House of Representatives
According to Harfoush, there are several men who suffer from bad work conditions, such as seasonal and migrant workers or fishermen, and they need a national council to take up the fight and to push for the establishment of a trade union to help them preserve their rights.
In response, Dalia Zyada, president of the Liberal Democracy Institute, condemned the draft law, depicting the whole idea as “flawed.” National councils are primarily established to campaign for and defend socially and politically marginalized sectors.
Zyada added that national councils such as the National Council for Women and the National Council for Human Rights stand up for particular groups of people that suffer from a kind of injustice.
Commenting on Harfoush’s law proposal, NCW President Maya Morsi said that men do not need to go on the defense, as they have already secured their place at the top of society, with several privileges that they do not need to fight for.
“They do not suffer the violence that is being practiced against women and deeply entrenched in our cultural heritage,” Morsi added.
“What kind of injustice does a man suffer from to need a national council to speak for him?” Rania Yehia, member of the NCW, asked, adding that women have taken the “back seat” in the social structure and therefore need to be supported with all kinds of empowerment.