Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has launched an awareness campaign, jointly with the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA, under the title of “Stations in your life… Don’t let any stop you”. The campaign runs for three months in the main Cairo underground-metro stations of Attaba, Ramses, Abbassiya and Cairo University.
According to Maya Mursi, President of the NCW, the campaign targets both women and men of all ages. Seeking to encourage women to pursue their dreams, the campaign asks men to support women and encourage them to realise their dreams. “This would help empower women economically, socially, and on the health front, within the framework of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030.
Dr Mursi explains that the campaign depicts life as a journey along several stations—one may place a person in the position to move on to the next station, whereas another may act as a stop or halt the journey—hence the choice of the metro to bring the idea into focus. The underground metro is moreover the most used transport means in Cairo; it carries some two million passengers a day.
The campaign focuses on four main messages: the first is “harassment” and urges women to positively stand up to harassers and report them; second is “early marriage” and urges parents and the community at large to protect girls from under-age marriages and allow them to freely choose their life partners. Third is “Be productive” which promoted women’s participation in the workforce, and the fourth centres on ‘reproductive health’, stressing that women’s health is a precondition for power.
The campaign is interactive in that it includes posters that cite women’s dreams vis-a-vis work, marriage, children, study, travel, and others. The posters relate to each of the four messages propagated. Passengers are required to choose the posters they like and mark them. In case of harassment, the posters run: “Be brave; your silence encourages him [the harasser]”, and “Take heart; the penalty for harassment is 1095 days in prison and a fine of EGP20,000”. On early marriage, the posters scream: “A child carrying a child!…No way”, “Let her choose …it is yet early”. On family planning: “Planning your family is the secret of your strength”, and “Your health is the secret of family’s strength”.
Posters prompting women to enter the workforce urge: “Choose to take part”, “Choose to have a dream”, and “No country can progress through only 50 per cent of its people”.
11 November 2018