With a high turnout of women voters in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the fact remains that the number of women candidates is relatively low in a field already stacked with political hurdles against female hopefuls. “I wish there was a woman candidate in my constituency, but all the candidates were men,” said Noha, a 35-year-old woman who cast her ballot in Giza during the first stage of the elections, which took off on 17 October and its run-offs on 27 and 28 of the same month. Wafaa Ashrey, the first female candidate yet to submit her papers in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan, was unable to secure a seat in the first stage, said that “there was a great decline in women running in my constituency due to their fear of failure and the experience as a whole.”
Ashrey asserts that if there had been a quota of independent seats for women as positive discrimination/affirmative action, more women would have been encouraged to join the electoral race.
There is no general quota for women in parliament, according to the new parliamentary election law enacted in 2015. The law stipulates a quota for the number of women on electoral lists, but not as independents who are the most challenged majority of female candidates.
Overall, there have been 282 female candidates out of 5420 independents in this election.