CAIRO: For the first time in Egypt’s history, a female judge, Radwa Helmy, sat on the podium of the State Council on Saturday, after many years of demands to enable women to work in the judiciary.
Since its establishment in 1946, the Egyptian administrative court has not seen a single female judge on its platforms, with the council rejecting the appointment of women. This continued until the issuance of the first republican decision appointing 98 female judges on Oct. 3, 2021. Judge Helmy was the first to sit on the podium.
In a press conference, Helmy expressed pride in her “great responsibility” and thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for his historic decision, which she said was “an essential part of supporting every Egyptian woman.”
In a phone call to Arab News, Helmy delivered a message to Egyptian girls: “Do not abandon your dreams. The world is changing, and it is necessary to work on self-development, which will open doors to distinguished titles and show the ingenuity and capabilities of women.”
There are 1,980 female judges in the Administrative Prosecution Authority, representing 43 percent of the members of the body, and 670 women in the State Lawsuits Authority, representing 20 percent of its members, according to a census by Egyptian media.
The late Tahani Al-Jabali was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2003, and she remained in this position for nearly 10 years before she was dismissed after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi took power in Egypt in mid-2012.
In media statements, the Egyptian Minister of Justice, Counselor Omar Marwan, conveyed his appreciation to those who contributed to the efforts to see female judges on the judiciary podium, expecting that next year would witness the presence of female members in the various court formations.
Maya Morsi, head of the National Council for Women, confirmed in a statement that March 5 “has become a new historic day in the lives of Egyptian women.”
Representative Mohammed Sultan, a member of the Human Rights Committee in the Egyptian House of Representatives, told Arab News that having female judges on the judiciary podium is a major historic event.
“Since President El-Sisi assumed power, Egyptian women have enjoyed many achievements and have had the support of decisions and laws that have empowered them in various fields,” he added.
Representative Mohamed Abdel Aziz, member of the Coordination of Egyptian Youth Parties, considered the move a victory for Egyptian women after a long struggle.
In exclusive statements to Arab News, he pointed out that this victory came at the direction of President El-Sisi and is in line with Article 11 of Egypt’s constitution, which “guarantees women the right to assume public and senior management positions in the state and to be appointed to judicial bodies and authorities without discrimination against them.”
Magda Mostafa, who occupies one of the leading positions in the Egyptian Ministry of Education, said that appointing women as judges is a victory for Egyptian women.
“Every day, the Egyptian woman proves her competence,” she told Arab News.