Egypt lawmaker pushes for state-run men's rights council
An Egyptian lawmaker has pushed for parliament to vote on legislation that would set up a state-run body on men's rights, sparking anger from women's rights advocates.
Omar Hamroush began collecting signatures from lawmakers on Wednesday for his draft law, which he says will counter "discrimination" against men, local media reported.
"Men bare the brunt of all problems that families face. We must have a council to discuss men's problems in society because men do not have anyone defending their rights," Hamroush said in an interview.
"Men face many issues such as alimony set by wives in rulings against men," he added.
The lawmaker has also argued that many men suffer from harsh working conditions and has called for men to be granted paid paternity leave.
"Maintaining the silence on men's problems creates more problems in society and for the family, indirectly harming women," he said.
The move comes after parliament this month approved a law regulating the country's national council of women, which works towards achieving gender equality in the male-dominated society.
Hamroush's proposal has been dismissed by women's rights activists in Egypt as "unnecessary".
"What kind of injustices do men suffer to necessitate a national council to speak for them?" asked Rania Yehia, a member of the National Council for Women.
The head of the women's council has said that Egyptian men hold a privileged place in society and are not socially and politically marginalised.
"Men do not suffer from the violence that is being practised against women and is deeply entrenched in our culture," Maya Morsi said.
Rights groups have long complained of entrenched sexism in the Arab world's most populated country.
Egypt has one of the world's highest rates of sexual harassment and female genital mutilation.
Women are underrepresented in the workforce and are discriminated against in laws relating to marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance.