In July, Cairo, Egypt, launched a new TV channel called Maria employing only niqab-clad women. The employees use the rhetoric of empowerment, stating this is a response to discrimination in hiring women who wear the fundamentalist garments covering all but the eyes. However, the channel’s owner, Abu Islam Abdallah, stated he founded it as a correction to the “pandemonium” of the democratic government allowing women to “dress immodestly, work as dancers and even be members of Parliament.”
* * *
On Aug. 6, Philippine President Benigno Aquino addressed a multiparty group of 180 lawmakers, stating that 17 months of debates that have delayed the passage of a health bill promoting state-funded contraception must end. He linked contraception to responsible parenthood. The lawmakers agreed.
* * *
Over 6,000 Tunisians, mostly women, rallied Aug. 13 against wording in the proposed Constitution designating women as “complementary to men” They as well demanded that a ground-breaking 1956 law that granted women full equality remain in the Constitution. Refering to the president of Tunisia’s new ruling party, Ennahda, a banner read: “Ghannouch clear off! Tunisian women are strong.” Another read: “Rise up women for your rights to be enshrined in the Constitution.” One marcher spoke for many, saying: “We will not let Islamists turn our Spring into winter.”