Creating Safe Spaces and Supporting the Feminist Movement

Despite Egypt’s repeated promises to do more for women’s rights, these promises have not resulted in concrete action. In 2017, Cairo was named the world’s most dangerous city for women due to increased rates of sexual harassment and violence. Moreover, Egypt has one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the world, with 87% of women and girls having undergone FGM. Egyptian women are also oppressed daily by the country’s discriminatory laws and lack of legal protections.

Working with our partners in Egypt, WILPF seeks to create and sustain a feminist movement by advocating for equitable, just, and fair family laws for all Egyptian women and girls; building the capacity of grassroots women, activists, and community leaders; empowering women and marginalised groups in poor and remote areas; and elevating the voices of feminists in Egypt in international fora.

“People should not have to choose to be, or not, with their own military, because at the end of the day, these are our family members, we did not hire them from another country and their main job is to defend the country at the borders.” 

Feminist activist, Egypt

WILPF Stands Firm Beside Egyptian Feminist Activists

Joint submission Egypt UPR 19

In a joint submission for the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt in 2019, WILPF exposed the Egyptian government’s failure to uphold women’s rights in the country.

The submission also addressed specific violations pertaining to women’s rights in law and practice.

Read the submission, including recommendations regarding discriminatory laws against women, GBV, and women human rights defenders.

COVID-19 Intensifies Disproportionate Challenges against Egyptian Women

Illustration of four women wearing medical masks, and text that reads "Covid-19 and Gender Justice: Feminists in MENA Defying Global Structural Failure"

In an attempt to gain a contextualised understanding of the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and feminist movements in the MENA region, WILPF conducted a series of consultations with partner organisations in seven MENA countries, including Egypt.

WILPF’s partners in Egypt pointed to a significant increase in physical and psychological violence, as well as marital rape and incest. They further indicated that the government has used the virus as a way to normalise the spread and intervention of the military in their COVID-19 responses. Read the report and watch WILPF webinar launch of the analysis on our Youtube channel.

Advocacy Documents

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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