Egypt study: It’s okay to beat women
Dec 22nd, 2010 | By Manar Ammar
A recent Egyptian public opinion study revealed a majority of Egyptians believe it’s okay to beat one’s wife. A survey of Egyptian youngsters published this month found that the majority, 80.4 percent of males and 66.7 percent of females believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she speaks to another man and almost 44 percent of women surveyed reported being sexually harassed.
Almost 80 percent of men and 73 percent of women believe that women with provocative outfits deserve to be harassed.
Some of the results have been shocking for many activists and women’s rights groups.
One-third of young men and women said that when the wife refuses “to have sex with her husband” that this is a justification for violence.
42 percent of men considered “wasting money” a justification, while only 24 percent of women agreed.
Less than 10 percent of females and less than 20 percent of males considered beating justified when she argues with the husband, neglects the children, or burns the food.
The survey was conducted by the Population Council in collaboration with the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center on a sample of 15,029 young men and women ages 10–29 years found that youth in Egypt, both men and women, tend to have conservative attitudes toward gender roles.
In most cases, young men tend to be more conservative in their attitudes than women and that attitudes vary by residence and region with urban young people and those living in the Lower Egypt governorates tend to be less conservative than rural young people and those living in Upper Egypt and the Frontier Governorates explored. Moreover, education has a significant and positive effect on young people’s attitudes toward gender equality.
The majority of young men believe that females must obey the males in the family; about a quarter of them (71.1%) believe that a girl must obey her brother, and 86 percent believe that a woman must obtain permission from her husband before she does anything.
Surprisingly, even among young women, almost half of them (49.1%) think that a girl must obey her brother even if he is younger than her and three-quarters (74.7%) believe a wife must get her husband’s permission for anything she wants to do.
“Finally, the most disturbing finding is the large segment of Egypt’s youth population, including women against whom violence is directed; who believe gender based violence (harassment and battery) could be justified in a number of situations,” the report summarizes.
About 43.8 percent of women said that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment and three-quarters of young people (79.6% of males and 72.9% of females) agreed that when a woman dresses provocatively in public, she deserves it if she gets harassed.
43.4 percent of young women reported that someone had talked to them about sex in public, 1.9 percent reported that someone had touched their private parts or made them touch their private parts, 0.4 percent had had someone make inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, and 0.1 percent had been hugged or kissed in a sexual way. Of those who had been touched, more live in urban and informal urban areas and fewer live in rural areas and one case reported that she was forced to have sex with a stranger, meaning she was raped.
A 2008 report by the Center of women’s rights found that two-thirds of women are sexually harassed on daily basis, a problem that limits women’s mobility and confines them when it comes to work or education.
“I was sexually harassed on my way back from school when a motorcycle driver chased me and throw me off the curb but I could not have told my father because he would have prevented me from going to school again,” Diana Khalil, a student at Helwan University’s Art School told Bikya Masr, describing how her arm was bruised.
“This is only an extreme situation that happened that day, mostly it is just dirty talk and stalking,” she added.
Egyptian and regional newspapers only focused on other issues within this report, citing statistics that show some 19 percent of Egyptian youth want to migrate in the future while the sections about women’s status in the country was ignored.
The results of the survey were announced last week in a press conference where the migration numbers were the only issues highlighted by local Egyptian press.
Finally, the survey found that around 93 percent of young men and 81 percent of young women believe men should have priority over women for work when jobs are scarce.
source: Egypt study: It?s okay to beat women - Bikya Masr