Do men really need a national council to speak for them? Men explain



Thu, 26 Apr 2018 - 12:36 GMT


Thu, 26 Apr 2018 - 12:36 GMT

Men play backgammon at a cafe in Cairo August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Men play backgammon at a cafe in Cairo August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

CAIRO – 26 April 2018: The proposal of MP Omar Harfoush aimed at establishing a national council of men may have seemed strange, and so is the controversy surrounding it.

We asked several men from different walks of life to raise some of their concerns that need a national council to address.

“I do not think we have grave problems that need to be addressed,” Kareem Mohamed, a video editor, told Egypt Today.

However, Karim Ahmed, an IT specialist, said that he sometimes finds sex-based discrimination against men going on in the recruitment processes, adding that some employers favor women who are good looking over men who are qualified and suitable for a specific vacancy.

He also rooted for having a specific day to be called a Father’s Day, like that of Mothers’.

Amr Mohamed, who works as an assistant actor, said that he aspires to have a national council to eliminate the problem of unemployment.

Meanwhile, Hany Mohamed, a tour guide, said that he wanted the council to push for canceling the mandatory military service for young graduates and to help them get loans to give them a boost at beginning their lives.

Mostafa Morsy, a graphic designer, called for a council to help demolish the societal stereotypes imposed on men, mentioning that men are expected by society to be the sole financial provider in the household, which puts them under constant pressure.

In mid-April, MP Omar Harfoush, 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.

According to Harfoush, there are several men who suffer from harsh working 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.

Disclaimer: Quotes mentioned in this article do not represent the views of Egypt Today



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