Marching Along to a Revolution: How Egyptian Women Are Claiming Their Space, Online and In the Streets
What is in store for the women of Egypt? That is a question that has been asked countless times since the official beginning of the Egyptian revolution on Jan. 25, 2011. It is also a question we posed to our interviewees in I Marched Along, a project that asks if and how the upheaval in Egypt will impact women.
When we began filming I Marched Along, the revolution was as it is today: ongoing and as convoluted as ever. It was June 2011, and the Cairene sun offered no respite for protesters camped out in Tahrir Square. Still, they remained, protesting against the country’s military rulers.
Men and women walked side-by-side through Tahrir Sqaure, forming citizen security patrols, searching people for weapons and checking IDs. “It feels just like January again; the spirit of the revolution is back,” we overheard time and time again. And just like the initial days of the revolution, women were active participants, this time calling for an end to military rule.
For those first 18 days, from January 25 to February 11, 2011, the women we spoke to said Tahrir Square was a utopia. There was no sexual harassment, an epidemic that is plaguing the country, and, in the words of Lilian Wagdy, “there was no need to assert your gender.”
“Every single distinction, whether it’s gender distinction, whether it’s class distinction, they were nonexistent in Tahrir during the first sit-in,” Wagdy said during her interview with I Marched Along.