The Egyptian official paper published in its issue of 20 December 2020 President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to approve the Supreme Constitutional Court’s decision on 9 November, to appoint three deputies to the Head of the Supreme Constitutional Court. The deputies included a woman, Judge Fatma Muhammad Ahmad al-Razzaz, Dean of Helwan University’s Faculty of Law.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) has 15 members; more often than not all male. In 2003, Judge Tahani al-Gebali was the first woman to be appointed to the SCC; she served as deputy Head of SCC until 2012. Now is the first time since 2012 that another woman judge is appointed to membership of the SCC.
Watani talked about the recent appointment with women’s rights activist Omnia Taher Gadallah, a lawyer and founder of the “Her Honor setting the Bar” initiative. Ms Gadallah founded her initiative in 2014, as a rights awareness initiative, aiming to support female law graduates and end the discrimination that keeps Egyptian women from acting as judges outside the family courts. The Initiative believes in the importance of having women judges sitting on the bar.
Ms Gadallah applauded the decision to appoint Judge Razzaz among SCC members, remarking that this is only the second time in the history of SCC since its formation in 1969, that a woman is appointed among its members. Ms Gadallah commented that these was good first steps, but that women are not sufficiently represented among in the SCC, “this is only one woman among 14 men,” she said. She said she wished to see the day when women’s assumption of positions in the judiciary would become a natural process as they progress in their legal careers, and would not be only through appointment.
In addition to her post as Dean of Helwan University’s Faculty of Law, Dr Fatma al-Razzaz is Professor of Social Legislation there. She is an expert on social legislations, and has been the legal advisor to a number of national and privately owned companies.