How Cairo’s Girls Are Fighting Back

May 10, 2018

Ninety-nine percent of girls and women in Egypt have experienced sexual harassment, leaving many too afraid to even walk down the street in case they are abused or kidnapped. These issues affect girls’ rights, especially their right to an education, as they often encounter teasing and insults on their way to school.

Plan International is working to change this through our Safer Cities program. Plan supports girls’ groups, where girls and young women are encouraged to be confident, speak out, and express their opinions.

The program helps girls and boys receive training to better understand their rights, recognize and avoid harassment where possible, and redefine acceptable, non-violent masculine behaviors. It also provides safe spaces and establishes girls’ clubs where they can learn, play, and build social networks. Girls participate in safe walks around their city to assess their communities and pinpoint problem areas, later meeting with local officials and transportation workers to communicate concerns. Some girls help raise awareness about harassment through community meetings and media communications. Others become “Girl Ambassadors” who speak nationally and internationally to key stakeholders in support of gender equality.

Now, when the girls are harassed on the streets, they are able to defend themselves.