Egypt: Egypt appoints first female judges

Middle East Online
Thirty-one women chosen among members of the administrative bar and government lawyers.
The Egyptian judiciary has appointed women judges for the first time in its history, the head of Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council said Wednesday.
"Thirty-one women were chosen among the members of the administrative bar and government lawyers," said Moqbel Shaker, who is also chairman of the court of cassation.

A woman, Tahani al-Gebali, was appointed to the supreme constitutional court in 2003 but no woman had ever been named a court judge or prosecutor.

Egypt became the first Arab country to grant women their political rights in 1956 and boasts a comparatively good record in promoting the role of women since Hoda Shaarawi founded the Egyptian Feminist Union in 1923.

But the judiciary had remained a male stronghold in Egypt long after several other countries in the region - including Sudan, Tunisia and Morocco - appointed women judges.

Aspiring women judges faced no legal obstacles but mainly cultural resistance -- from both genders -- and a perception that women were too sensitive to shoulder the responsibilities of a judge.

15 March, 2007