Monday, 18 January 2021

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Celebrate your mother – give her back her name

my mums name is un

01 April 2015 - For men in Egypt and in many other countries in the Middle East, there is a peculiar taboo of not disclosing one's mother’s name in public. Having your mother's name widely known is considered shameful, particularly for men, because the name can become a subject of ridicule. Mothers become known in public as “mother of X”, where X is the name of their eldest son. UN Women’s 'Give Mom Back Her Name’ initiative aims to eradicate this taboo and give mothers in Egypt and the Middle East their names back in public fora.

More than 99 percent of women and girls in Egypt interviewed for a UN survey in 2013 reported that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment. Egyptian legislation criminalizing rape and other sexual assault continues to fall short of international human rights standards according to Amnesty International.

While men may unilaterally divorce their wives without providing any justification, women must either forfeit their financial rights by accepting a “no-fault” khol’ divorce, or be prepared to fight a long and costly court battle to prove that their husband “harmed” them. The United Nations in Egypt has been following the recent reports and statistics indicating the high prevalence of sexual harassment in Egypt with deep concern. 

Dialogue of pride

There was some good news at the end of 2014 in the form of an encouraging new amendment in Egyptian law defining “sexual harassment” for the first time in Egypt’s history. This law represents a major step towards achieving safety of Egyptian women and girls in public spaces. This law is a concrete result of combined efforts by the Egyptian Government together with civil society and UN agencies. 

Launched on Egyptian Mother’s Day, 21 March, UN Women’s 'Give Mom Back Her Name’ initiative aims to eradicate this taboo by encouraging people to proudly announce their mothers names on social media. The campaign urges you to show your appreciation for a lifetime of love by changing your Twitter profile picture to a picture of your mother’s name, using the hashtag #MyMothersNameIs.

Mohammed Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States and North Africa, says: “A woman's name should never be associated with shame or embarrassment – this mother's day, we are reclaiming that space and recognizing women for the incredible individuals they are, not only as the mother of her eldest son.”

The initiative aims to open a larger conversation on women's rights and gender equality in the Middle East and the world.

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