Egypt Signs Landmark Legislation Into Law, Criminalizing Sexual Harassment

Street harassment has become an epidemic among many countries, with an estimated 65 percent of American women being harassed in public at some point in their lives.

In Egypt, this number is believed to be even higher, with 99.3 percent of Egyptian women reporting experiencing some form of harassment, from catcalling to rape.

But now, the interim government has made efforts to further stigmatize sexual harassment, signing into law a bill that criminalizes this type of harassment with a punishment of up to five years in prison and fines ranging from $400 to $7,000.

Interim President Adly Mansour signed the decree into law, defining sexual harassment as "any sexual or pornographic suggestion or hints through words, signs or acts."

The new law also takes more stringent measures against those who are convicted of harassment on multiple occasions, and further penalizes those who use their positions of power — whether they're wearing a uniform or preying on their work subordinates — to take advantage of others.

Following the landmark legislation's signing into law, the National Council for Women, which helped draft the bill, issued the following statement applauding Mansour's actions:

[His decision] reflects the keenness of the state and the interest in the protection of women and preservation of their rights.

Hopefully this new law will help herald in a time of greater respect for women's rights and autonomy in the tumultuous Egypt.

H/T: TR Foundation, Photo Credit: Getty Images