Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cairo Karate Kids!

As a former karate student, I realize that learning self defense is important, especially for young girls and women. Sexual harassment is a universal dilemma, women leave their houses with a different awareness than men. It's unfortunate but true.

In Egypt, Eighty-three percent of Egyptians and 98% of foreigners in a survey of 1,010 women last year said they were insulted or groped on Cairo streets.

The women in Egypt have decided to take their protection into their own hands by fighting back against the cat calling, grabbing, and unwanted attention. A few Egyptian girls in the working-class district of Embaba practice karate at the youth center, even though it cannot afford mats. Karate student Nada Gamal Saad says, "No one is going to touch me when I can hit them real hard."

Getting these young girls in a predominantly male sport like karate is a huge leap in the right direction. Even in the U.S. there is a divide between "feminine" and "masculine" sports. When I was taking karate in elementary and middle school, my sister and I were two of just a few girls in the class. Encouraging karate only helps to illustrate that girls can be aggressive, rough, tough, and physical just like the boys.

Even our commander in chief has taken initiative to help Egypt become more progressive and safer for women. On June 4th during his speech in Cairo, President Obama said, “I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons,” he said. “I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles, but it should be their choice."

1 comment:

Laur said...

Sarah I can't even tell you how excited I am to see that you posted about Women in Egypt! It's such a fascinating place, and thanks for keeping us informed on the leaps/bounds Egyptian women are making toward independence. :)