Marked annually on March 8, International Women’s Day is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements that otherwise would go unnoticed. That is why, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience launched (Extra)Ordinary Women, a global campaign to shine light on ordinary women whose work within their communities is extraordinary, and yet, not widely visible or lauded.
Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, Sites of Conscience member in Egypt, joined the Coalition for this campaign and interviewed Amany Abdelkader, an (extra)ordinary woman from their community.
Researcher and Human Rights Activist
WCGLA: Please introduce yourself?
Amany Abdelkader: My name is Amany Abdelkader. I am a wife and a mother of two children. I graduated from the Faculty of Commerce at Mansoura University in 2002, and I am currently the director of monitoring and documentation at the Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness. I’ve been working at the Centre since 2016. I am also a researcher and official of the peace-making campaign by the UN Resolution 1325.
WCGLA: Thank you. Could you tell us more about the challenges you have faced yourself? What brought you to where you are today?
Amany Abdelkader: The challenges women face in my community are many, including sexual harassment, harassment, female genital mutilation, the marriage of minors, the disparity of opportunities in employment, the empowerment of men from decision-making positions, and the withholding of this from women. But also, there are many other aspects of discrimination even within laws and legislation, which need to be refined and modified because they stand against women and incite discrimination against them.
WCGLA: What are the needs of your community, especially those of women?
Amany Abdelkader: Our community, especially women, need awareness training courses and capacity-building workshops in combating discrimination in the public and private sphere, as well as bills to reduce violations against women.
WCGLA: What initiatives or projects are currently happening in your community that effectively support women?
Amany Abdelkader: We organize training workshops to build the capacity of young people of both sexes, especially women, and empower them with the necessary tools to advocate and gain support for their issues, as well as psychological and legal support, write studies, and research in the same regard and pass them to the participants and women interested in the pioneers of the center and others.
To some extent, there has been some awareness to demand rights and seek them, such as amending discriminatory laws and requiring transitional justice and reconciliation laws. However, it is difficult at the moment. There is an ongoing debate and permanent dialogue as a new need arose to combat the crimes of electronic extortion, privacy violations, and electronic and sexual harassment, especially after everyone resorted to using the internet during the corona pandemic.
WCGLA: What advice would you offer to other women trying to improve their communities?
Amany Abdelkader: I want to say learn, participate, train, rely on yourself, and raise your voices to demand your rights.
Thank you very much.