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Egypt Strengthens Laws to Mitigate Sexual Harassment

On August 19, 2021 President Abdel Fattah al Sisi of Egypt ratified law no. 141/2021 amending some articles of the 58/1937 Penal Law to confront sexual harassment.

The amendments increase the penalty for sexual harassment, including sexploitation—using a position of power to require a sexual benefit from a victim.

If the perpetrator has occupational, family, or educational authority over the victim of sexual harassment, or exercised any pressure on the victim, the penalty is imprisonment for a period of no less than seven years and a fine.

Sexploitation of women is common in many countries and is a barrier to women’s employment, use and rights to resources, including land, and agency.

Classifying this, and other actions of sexual harassment as a felony crime may reduce the practice—if the law is enforced.

Women who are poor and vulnerable are at particular risk, but women at all economic levels experience sexual harassment and violation.

When women exercise or stand up for their rights to land and other resources, they can be met with pushback in the form of physical or sexual violence. Women who lease housing or land are vulnerable as are widows, who often have to fight their husbands’ families to stay in their house or on their land.

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