CAIRO: Amany Abdel Qader, a young woman from Mansoura, Dakahlia, is protesting being denied army enlistment by arguing that mandatory enlistment for males in Egypt should apply also to women, said her lawyer, Reda Maarouf, on the 90 Minutes program on the El Mehwar Channel on Saturday.
Maarouf said army officials refused the young woman’s request based on Egyptian Military Service Law No. 127, enacted in 1980, which states that army recruitment is mandatory for males 18 and older. Qader is arguing that the army law contradicts Article 11 of the constitution, which states that Egyptian men and women are to receive equal rights and opportunities without discrimination.
Qader presented her argument to the Sandoub army recruiting office in an official warning, Maarouf said, adding that she is planning to legally appeal the validity of Articles 1, 14 and 15 of the military recruiting law, and demand army recruiting be mandatory for all women above 18.
The former military attorney general, Said Hashim, told the 90 Minutes program that there is no constitutional context for demanding mandatory recruitment for women. He said males are required to complete military service and women are required to complete national service according to the law, which guarantees equality between both genders.
Hashim also said Article 11 addresses equality regarding rights, not equality in duties. Amending the army law would only occur in a situation where the Armed Forces needed more recruits, but the Armed Forces have enough manpower and sometimes even exempt males from entering the military, Hashim continued.
“Serving in the military is an honor and is not a right,” he said.
But Nehad Abol Komsan, head of National Council for Women’s Rights, told The Cairo Post there is no reason for the state to refuse Qader’s demand.
“Armies these days do not depend mainly on muscles, they depend on strategies and technology,” she said.
The next parliament should consider discussing the army recruiting matter and the state should hold a poll to find out what people think about it, Komsan said.