16 Days of Activism: Sally Zohney says NO to gender-based violence

YASH - Youth against Sexual Harassment

The project Youth against Sexual Harassment (YASH) supports the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports (MoYS) and selected non-governmental civil society actors, including male and female youth in engaging themselves actively in combating sexual harassment. The project is focusing on one form of gender based violence which is sexual harassment in public places like streets, transportation or any other public space such as markets or youth centers.

Sally Zohney is the program’s Gender Advisor and contributes to the project’s goal through strategic planning of advocacy activities with MoYS, thorough research and outreach to sensitize active youth groups in Egypt on the topic. The young woman provides the project with updated national, regional and global statistics regarding sexual harassment, shares best practices and makes sure that the project is aligned with the national priorities and strategies available. Her contribution is also to design and implement campaigning initiatives and anti-sexual harassment messages which should be worked on with project partners to raise awareness among the Egyptian public. These campaigns can – for example - be done through the media, including social media, print press or physical campaigns in the streets.

Gender Advisor Sally Zohney and Communication Expert Naglaa Saad

Gender equality and women’s rights are personally important to Sally because she believes that as a woman, she has the same rights and responsibilities in the society as men. She aspires for more laws and measures that ensure equality between men and women and for a more gender-sensitive society in Egypt.

“Living in Egypt there are a lot of challenges facing women and girls in all fields, this is why I believe why we need to work on the topic of gender equality and fighting gender discrimination and make sure that it is a priority for decision-makers and for the public as well.”

As combatting all forms of sexual harassment is not yet a priority in Egypt for decision makers, it remains a challenging task to constantly push for more gender-sensitive legislations and more attention to the problem of sexual violence and to the rights of women in public space. Another challenge for Sally is to work with men and boys and to include them to actively stand against sexual harassment. Unfortunately it is culturally taken for granted that sexual harassment is solely the women’s problem and most awareness raising activities target women only. Through the project, Sally is planning activities to change social perception on sexual harassment and to strongly involve men as active change agents. She believes that this needs to be very attractive and interactive for men as the project is adopting this new approach to the topic.

 Sally Zohney and Naglaa Saad
Gender Advisor Sally Zohney and Communication Expert Naglaa Saad

The project Youth against Sexual Harassment has a very comprehensive approach of how to address the problem by working with a key government body that has access to all youth centers and youth public facilities nationwide. Sally and her team fight against gender-based violence by also working directly with Civil Society organizations and youth groups, on campaigns and media messages with the aim of transferring the project’s findings and voices from young men and women to the public in order to cover the different angles of the sensitive issue of sexual harassment.


Diversity in Equality

About two thirds of Egypt’s population is under 29 years of age. Young women are disproportionately affected by unemployment and, increasingly, informal employment.
The aim of the Mubarak Kohl Initiative for “Vocational Education, Training and Employment Promotion” was to facilitate the search for gainful and acceptable employment for Egyptian youth. The initiative Egypt at work played an important role in this process. It encompassed training in photography for employment facilitators, a website, exhibitions, and public discussions related to job profiles and perceptions of work. The idea was to use photography to inspire dialogue on what gainful and acceptable employment may mean in practice.

Woman demonstrates how to use a camera to a colleague.The photograph series women in Egypt at work was part of this project. It illustrated women in a variety of jobs, using a combination of portraits, photographs of typical tasks during their daily work, and personal statements about their life and work. The feature woman of the month provided a space for further affirmation and recognition, by making real women visible who tend to be overlooked because their occupations and attitudes are beyond the stereotyped female roles. This offered women and men an opportunity to honor the diversity of career options embraced by Egyptian women and to reflect on their own perceptions of the role women and men can play in the world of work.
This project was one of the top ten award winning teams of the 2010 GIZ Gender Competition.

For more on any of the projects described here, please contact us at gender@giz.de.