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Abstract

Egyptian women were very active on the streets during the 25 January Revolution, both in the demonstrations and in the subsequent elections, showing very high rates of participation as voters, yet surprisingly, very low rates of representation in the 2012 parliament. The current study seeks to explore different views, expectations and perceptions of Egyptian women regarding women’s role in the forthcoming 2013 parliamentary elections, and to identify what alternative measures are needed to strengthen women’s representation in parliament, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The methodology utilized relied on a literature review in addition to a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the results of a on-line and an off-line survey instrument implemented on a purposive proportional sample of 244 women of different political affiliations, educational levels, economic classes, age groups, and covering those working outside the home, and those who are not. Among the main findings of the study were that women do not automatically vote for other women, that the perception of women MPs performance by other women is mostly negative, whether before or after the Revolution and that women think women MPs are better capable of representing their needs. The names of other women MPs remembered had nothing to do with their political or parliamentary performance. The main perceived barriers to winning seats in parliament were the dominant societal culture, the lack of women qualifications, and the dominance of the Islamists rule. In general, the study concluded that Egyptian women lack confidence in their own abilities as parliamentarians and do not think they stand a good chance in the next 2013 elections.

Note on the Author

Laila El Baradei, Ph.D., is a Professor of Public Administration and Associate Dean School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Research fields: Public Administration Reform, Good Governance, Elections Management, Development Cooperation Management, Public Administration Education.

Dina Wafa, Ph.D., is the Director of Executive Training at the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Research fields: Citizenship, Accountability, Elections Management, and Public Administration Education and Training.

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