The cabinet of Egypt recently approved a new draft law called the ‘personal status bill’ that would stop Egyptian women from signing their own marriage certificates, registering their children’s birth, traveling abroad without a man’s consent, and also giving fathers priority in child custody – reversing the current law which favors mothers – and allow fathers to prevent mothers from traveling with their children.
The Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR), which signed the statement, said in a press release last month it rejected the articles of the draft law because they were unjust and regressive in their approach to personal status issues. In a Facebook video statement, Nehad Abu El Komsan, head of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights described the bill as “repressive” and “patriarchal”. “We completely reject this shocking draft law. It takes us back 200 years,” she said. Dozens of Egyptian women’s rights groups and public figures signed a statement last week condemning the bill and calling for “real reforms” that meet women’s demands, respect their constitutional rights, and guarantee gender equality.
However, the cabinet said in a statement earlier this year that the new personal status bill was “in line with the great social development in Egyptian society and the need to compile the dispersed laws into one.”
The bill is currently being reviewed by a committee for constitutional and legislative affairs, before it is taken to parliament.