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Egypt’s Revolution, One Year Later
One year after the historic revolution in Tahrir Square, Egypt is realizing its dreams of democracy with the convening of their new Parliament. For the first time in six decades, democratically elected Parliamentarians met to establish Egypt’s new future. Reports of elated citizens hoisting these newly elected officials on their shoulders to deliver them to Parliament are examples of the optimism and great expectations Egyptians feel about their new democracy. The world stands with Egypt in hope that the country will flourish. But, there have been troubling signs over the last year. The attacks on women, including brutal beatings and “virginity tests”, the recent raids of civil society organizations, and the intimidation of Egypt’s citizens by the military call into question the progress that Egypt has made. Democracy must include the respect and protection of innocent citizens, and must protect the rights of all its citizens, Christians and Muslims, men and women. Perhaps most importantly, women must play a significant role in the development of this new democracy; otherwise, as history shows, the country cannot succeed. Women currently represent only one percent of the Parliament, and many from the extremist Salafist party have vowed to restrict women’s inclusion in society. Egypt stands in peril of losing all it has fought for this year if women are cut out of the process. Women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in the revolution and garnered the respect of men that they deserve. The men of Egypt must support their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters - a democratic Egypt depends on it. This post written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute.