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Egypt: Anti-sexual harassment campaign tells women to wear dresses

Dress were commonly worn by Egyptian women in the 1960s [Facebook]

Date of publication: 9 October, 2015

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"Wear your dress and reclaim your femininity" is a new anti-sexual harassment campaign, which been raising eyebrows in Egypt since it was launched.
A pharmacist has launched an unusual online campaign to combat rampant sexual harassment in Egypt, where 99 percent of women have been subjected to one form or another of sexual harassment.

Dina Anwar has called for women to go back to wearing dresses and showing off their femininity as she claims women once did in Egypt, prompting conservatives to slam her direct approach to fighting the epidemic.

"Of course you're going to be harassed when you wear a mini-skirt and your whole back is exposed," said one of Anwar's critics on a local late night talk show.

    

I want Egypt to go back to the good old days when women wore what they wanted and walked in the streets 

- Dina Anwar

A sheikh then phoned in to say: "Instead of telling women to put on dresses you should tell them to wear Islamic clothing that only exposes the face and hands."

Anwar responded to her critics saying that women were not "commodities or pieces of meat" - and that chauvinistic Egyptian society always puts the blame on women.

"When women are harassed they are accused of wearing revealing clothing even when they are covered from head to toe," she said.

"I want Egypt to go back to the good old days when women wore what they wanted and walked in the streets with men protecting them."

Many social media users criticised Anwar for thinking that women in past were better off because they wore more revealing clothing and stressed that women should be allowed to wear what they want, including veils and niqabs.

Dresses were commonly worn by Egyptian women in the 1960s, before the radical Islamic expansion of the 1970s and mass migration of Egyptians to the Gulf states.

Recently other unusual anti-sexual harassment campaigns have gathered media attention such as the "man-up and don't allow your daughters to wear tight clothes" and "don't pay attention to her" street poster campaigns.

Even Egypt's newly appointed Immigration Minister Nabila Makram recently fought back at abuse she faced over a short-sleeved shirt she wore as Egypt's new Cabinet was sworn in. 

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