“Do you really think that a poster of Nefertiti wearing a gas mask and surrounded by splatters of blood is a signal of women’s empowerment?” “Can graffiti presenting women as the face of the revolution be an engine of women’s empowerment?” And “Do you think that all the graffiti paying tribute to the brave women fighting for equality in post- revolutionary Egypt can really affect their everyday life?” These are the questions collected at the end of a half an hour presentation focused on the importance of women’s images on Cairo’s walls. It’s June 4, just a couple of hours after the approval of a law criminalizing sexual harassment, the first one of this kind in modern Egyptian history. Taharrush – a relatively new term that has replaced asmu’aksa (flirtation) to describe sexual harassment - is finally considered a crime and perpetrators might now face penalties, such as long jail terms and high fines. Even if I am aware that Egyptian feminists accuse legislators of failing to take account of all their advice, I have the answer in my pocket for my public: Egyptian women have won an important battle of their struggle for equality.
In Egypt, violence against women across historical, cultural and national divides continues to be a socially accepted practiceAzzurra Meringolo