CAIRO: Egyptian writer Fatma Kheir discusses women’s freedoms and sacrifices during the Arab Spring in her most recent book, one of the key ideas of which proposes that marriage contracts could better secure housing rights for women.
Kheir told The Cairo Post Tuesday that she describes the book – entitled “Onsa maa Sabq El-Esrar” or “Premeditated Female” –as an “invitation for women to be proud of themselves.”
Her book opens with a discussion of the “marital apartment,” an idea of hers that she said was the main reason she released the book.
She explained that the marriage contract should specify the apartment where the couple will live in order to protect their rights in the event they separate or one of them passes away.
The suggestion of the “marital apartment,” Kheir said, aims to “avoid injustice” by having “the couple agree on who will benefit from the apartment” in these cases.
Divorce cases have been on the rise recently, from 151,900 in 2011 to 155,300 the following year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics in 2012.
The current ownership law states that the apartment would be part of the inheritance, so it could be sold by the deceased spouse’s family, leaving the wife or husband without a place to stay.
Additionally, the law of new rent, which has shorter rent periods of 3-7 years, gives the spouse no rights in the apartment after the end of the contract period.
Kheir told The Cairo Post that although the book’s audience is all women and decision makes, primarily, the book is meant to inspire young women between 18 and 22 to have a vision for their future and “avoid the mistakes of older generations” but also to know that society must participate in facing their problems.
Kheir explained the difficulties that face working mothers that could lead to losing their jobs when their husbands do not share responsibility with them.
Regarding sexual harassment in public transportation, the author stated that the problem is so persistent and widespread that some women “had to buy cars to avoid being harassed.” She also talked about the difficulties that face unveiled women in public transportation, in addition to mockery that target pregnant women.
HarassMap’s Facebook page stated in April 2013 that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women have been harassed, 59 percent by touching and 48 percent by obscene language or looks.
She added that it is shocking that the most favorable topic of many discussions after the revolution is women and their bodies.
Kheir said in the book that women pay the price for revolutions, including Syrian women who left their countries and faced difficult situations.
Kheir called women to be proud country where women “walk tall and feel safe.”