INTERVIEW: Radwa El-Sherbiny on marriage, women's empowerment



Thu, 31 Jan 2019 - 10:41 GMT


Thu, 31 Jan 2019 - 10:41 GMT

Radwa El-Sherbiny - Egypt Today

Radwa El-Sherbiny - Egypt Today

CAIRO – 31 January 2019: According to Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the divorce rate have significantly increased recording an all-time high of 60.7% in urban cities and 39.3% in villages, averaging out to about 40%. The high percentage of divorce comes as a result to a few key reasons: Gender-based violence, where one-third of Egyptian women have been physically abused by their husbands, according to Egypt Demographic and Health Survey; cheating; and, women heading the households with no help of their partner—according to CAPMAS, “Women are breadwinners for over 3.3 million families in Egypt, representing 14% of the total number of families.”

In addition to launching more than 12 initiatives defending women's rights aims at empowering women, gender equality, curbing harassment, occupying leading roles, gender justice and gender pay gap, 2017 was dubbed the Year of the Women to encourage patronized or ostracized women to speak up, as a result women have become more aware of the fact that keeping silent will lean nowhere. Such overwhelming awareness and perception are traced by public effective figures who try to spread this trend such as Mohamed Salah, Liverpool forward, who supports the "Because I am a Man" campaign, calling for equality between man and women. The UN-sponsored campaign also aims at ending violence and sexual harassment against women.

In this regard, President of the National Council for Women (NCW), Maya Morsi unveiled to Egypt Today, "Egypt can rank 88 among the best countries in the world for women's rights through eliminating gender-based violence, increasing women's participation in workplace and having more women occupying leading positions."

It is so called that the famed controversial TV anchor Radwa El-Sherbiny has influenced a spike in divorce rated and family separation. Sherbiny is distinguished as a social media influencer; she has 4.5 million followers on Facebook and 1 million on Instagram. She widely affects women and young ladies in specific, leading some people to argue that Sherbiny's contentious comments and advices might push young girls to divorce. These positions go back to when the anchor told a girl who was in an abusive relationship to ignore and block her then-finacé. “Block, block, block and that is it,” she had advised the girl at the time. Such a comment were perceived by many viewers, as a call for hostility against men.

To know how Sherbiny's views are perceived to the public, Egypt Today sat down with the controversial TV presenter to put an end to the rumours, and talk about her personal experience, marriage, women’s status and more.

Your personal experience is so impressive and inspiring to a degree that young ladies might imitate you being a public successful figure that got divorced yet achieved fame?

First, personal life has nothing to do with professional life. Women usually give priority to love and family. Large category of women works and enjoys stable life with their husbands. I usually support stability, repeating that falling apart is not an easy decision; it has a lot of repercussions. It means that, you will be totally independent socially and economically.

I scarified comfort and relaxation; I sleep only 2 hours a day to meet all my duties. No one can oblige me to do anything I do not like.

Do you agree that your comments push women towards divorce?

First of all, all widely spread videos on Facebook are taken out of context. Second, women are intelligent creature; they are able enough to distinguish between destructive, negative opinions and positive, constructive ones. Third, I call on women not to be betrayed, not to be cursed or beaten, never to accept to be belittled or marginalized because they are not a second sex. Fourth, I always repeat in all my episodes that women should obey their husbands to carry a bucket full of water and salt for him to soak his feet in.

If you receive a proposal, might you accept it?

If I fall in love, I will definitely accept. Yet, it seems to be hard because I have my own checklist that it is full of conditions and provisions; prominently to be a person who has is a real man, not just masculine and blinded by his manhood.

The man of her dreams

• I have to fall in love with him.
• I do not care for outer appearance.
• He needs to be a man, and handle responsibility.
• He should be a second father for my two daughters.
• Scrupulous hygiene is a must.
• A clear discipline in life.
• Be decorous, straightforward and systematic.

Tell us more about your program context.

“Heya w Bs” (Only She) is mainly about women affairs; it introduces a set of services to women. For instance, we offered 400 job opportunities for women last year, we offer workshops to learn embroidery, our trainees established low-budget projects to earn their living independently. We also introduced a 40-Day Competition where overweight women lose from 10 to 15 kilograms, make new haircut, learn etiquette, and have sets of sessions with a life coach, psychiatrist and couple therapy to give them a hand to have a better life.

Besides, we have the Golden Competition for Losing Weight in which the woman, who loses the largest amount of kilograms, is rewarded with one gold pound for each kilogram she lost. Additionally, we set up whole episodes for essential topics such as how to raise children, or how to quit drugs.

It is not only an entertainment program that focus on fashion and cosmetics only, but also it is an educational one.

The title of your program “Heya w Bs” (Only She) seems to be a little bit biased towards women, wouldn’t you agree?

No, it is concerned with women affairs so it is logically to be entitled (Only she). I am not against man, because I cannot be against God’s creatures.

Can you display your personal experience on air as your followers do?

No, I will never take such a step, I have two daughters; I will never do an act that might hurt their emotions. Instead, I ask my close friends and trustee consultants for advice; I also need people who can guide me.

What do you think of Tunisia adopting a system for equal inheritance between men and women?

No, it is illegitimate; my reference is Holy Quran. I am against equal inheritance. Religion is convenient to all eras and generations; there is nothing called ‘developing religion’; instead, religion keeps up with all ongoing changes since Adam tills Doomsday.

Do you believe in Veil (Hijab)?

It is not a belief yet a necessity; I had an intention to wear veil at 35. Now, I am 37 but I am still hesitant and need time to take such a decision.

If your daughter falls in love with unsuitable man do you will agree on?

Yes, it is not my decision, it is her decision but she has to shoulder responsibility of her decision.

Correcting the rumors

It has been spread that the famed singer Sherine Abdel-Wahab’s song “El Meraya” Tthe Mirror) comes behind Sherbiny’s divorce. When she listened to the song, it was rumored, she took the decision to separate from her husband.
Truth: “Abdel-Wahab’s song has nothing to do with my divorce. I had already taken the decision to get a divorce prior to listening to the song.”



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