«Attention»: Supporting Efforts to Combat Sexual Harassment
The Embassy participated in the opening of an anti-harassment unit at Assiut University in Upper Egypt together with the National Council for Women (NCW) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on October 12. The pioneering anti-harrassment unit is one of several UNFPA projects in Egypt dedicated to gender equality, and issues particularly relating to women and children. Norway is a key partner in the project.
Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women (NCW), opened the ceremony expressing her appreciation of the example Assiut University is setting by establishing an anti-harassment unit on campus. Assiut University is one of two universities with such a unit. She praised the role of the “Egyptian Center for the Rights of the Woman” and its president, Dr. Nehad Aboul Komsan. Dr. Maya Morsy requested the pioneer unit to be generalized to all universities in Egypt so that an anti-harassment unit is opened every month on a university campus.
Dr. Morsy pointed out that the NCW has lately spent a great deal of efforts in order to provide a positive platform and to raise the societal awareness on the phenomenon that is also criminalized by law. She announced the launch of the NCW campaign against harassment in Assiut governorate aiming at raising awareness among young women and instructing them on how to react to harassment. She confirmed that Egypt is not the only country suffering from harassment but that each country must develop legislation and take all possible measures to combat it. The campaign goes by the name ة “Taa Marbouta”, the letter in Arabic used to denote the female gender, and aims to empower women in all fields.
Dr. Morsy thanked the Embassy of Norway and UNFPA for supporting Egypt’s efforts. Tor Haug, counsellor from the Norwegian Embassy, gave a keynote speech praising NCW and Dr Maya Morsi for her efforts in promoting women’s issues and equality, adding that Norway works in close partnership with UNFPA and the Egyptian government. Haug said that no woman or girl should have to face any harassment or violence because of gender, and that the opening of the sexual harassment center in Assuit University is an important and instrumental step to eradicate the moral epidemic of sexual harassment.
A large number of students at Assiut University attended, showing engagement and commitment to combating sexual harassment. In collaboration with their professors, the students performed a theatre play called “Attention” simulating a sexual harassment litigation process.