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Egypt’s female journalists tackle workplace harassment

Dozens of female journalists in Egypt have issued a statement denouncing sexual harassment in the workplace and demanding action to change the situation.

According to London-based newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the group accused the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate of ignoring an official memorandum on the subject, signed by more than 150 journalists and submitted by them on 27 August.

They reiterated the memorandum’s call for the formation of a “permanent committee for women” within the syndicate, designed to combat harassment and sexual violence against female journalists.

They also demanded an investigation into sexual harassment and assault incidents in the media industry, including recent claims of sexual misconduct by Egyptian investigative journalist Hisham Allam, and asked for “clear mechanisms” to be put in place to protect the identities of those who bring forth such complaints.

The group called on their female colleagues, who represent nearly 40 percent of all journalists in Egypt, to sign the memorandum and adopt their demands.

Research by the UN in 2013 estimated that 99 percent of women in Egypt had been subjected to some form of sexual harassment at some point in their lifetime.

Despite legislation and civil society efforts to address the problem, surveys have shown that nearly 60 percent of women have been the target of this form of violence in public spaces, and an equal proportion of men have admitted to harassing women in public.

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