This is a guest post by friend of the blog Parastou Hassouri, who has been living in Cairo since 2005, has taught international refugee law at the American University in Cairo and specializes in issues of gender and migration:
Earlier this month, what was perhaps the biggest demonstration by women in Egypt in several decades took place. Thousands marched through Cairo, protesting the abuse of women protesters by soldiers. It was followed by a mass Friday demonstration in support of women, called the “Friday to Restore Honor.”
The show of support was impressive. But the title “restoring honor” was perhaps an unfortunate one in a society like Egypt, where the concept of honor has been used to repress women and push them out of the public sphere.
As the Egyptian feminist organization, Nazra, said in their excellent statement on the issue, this is not about women’s honor. What must be protected here is not the honor of women, but rather their right to protest and be politically active alongside men as equal partners in this critical phase of Egypt’s history.