In Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and beyond, women were more visible than ever at political protests. But where the unrest has settled, women have been shut out of the political process, as in Egypt, where the panel to rewrite the constitution is made up entirely of men. “Daily Show” commentator Kristen Schaal offered two solutions for women wanting to play a larger role in their country’s government: become a member of Moammar Gaddafi’s virgin bodyguard squad or create a separate state. A tame name example? Shegypt.
Although Schaal’s solutions are hilarious, the situation for women in the Middle East and North Africa trying to take part in the political process is pretty grim. In March, women in Egypt who participated in International Women’s Day had anti-feminist statements shouted at them. CNN quoted some of these demonstrators as saying, “Men are men and women are women and that will never change and go home, that’s where you belong.” In Ivory Coast, six women were killed in March when security forces opened fire during a protest to oust President Laurent Gbagbo. Seventeen female U.S. senators, led by Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), have introduced a resolution that aims to honor and support “women in North Africa and the Middle East whose bravery, compassion, and commitment to putting the well being of others before their own have proven that courage can be contagious.”
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Watch videos of women protesting around the world. Please be advised that some of the footage contains graphic violence.