In a suggestion that would seem pretty backward a century ago, at least one member of the Egyptian Parliament has proposed that women should not be allowed to pursue higher education unless they first can pass a physical virginity test.
The thought process of course will be completely unfathomable to anyone who lives and breathes in a democratic twentieth century country however this incredible state sponsored sexual assault is the sort of treatment many women still have to suffer in countries like Egypt. Let’s just state this clearly – a women who wishes to learn, to study and to earn a degree is dependent upon their sexual history.
Here is one petition if you wish to register your protest at this barbaric suggestion, remember Egypt is often portrayed as a civilized and democratic beacon for the area and is the beneficiary of much Western aid.
The process has been described by women who have undertaken it as – ‘traumatic’, ‘horrifying’ and unsurprisingly ‘humiliating’. Imagine being interviewed in a University entrance exam and being asked whether you are a virgin or not before you are allowed to study – shocking even in a medieval setting never mind the 21st century.
Women are of course much less likely to attend university than men in most underdeveloped countries. There are a variety of reasons for this, but of course this demeaning and insulting proposal will hardly help. Perhaps this is just the suggestion of some isolated, religious nutter who some how has managed to make his way in to the Egyptian Parliamentary system. Ultimately though the decision rests with the Minister of Higher Education in Egypt and registering protests and embarrassing the country if they proceed can only help block this proposal.
Egypt is still, despite the Arab Spring, not a place for freedom and free speech. Access to the internet if not filtered is often simply shut down, under the pretext of military requirements particularly in the North Sinai region. No one is certain if this is specifically targeting Egyptian citizens but it is certainly affecting them, of course the wealthier can afford this like proxies and residential VPN services such as this – others just have to accept it.