Monday, January 02, 2006


First woman minister named to Egyptian Cabinet

Egypt’s cabinet, newly reorganized following the December parliamentary elections, includes the first woman cabinet minister in the country’s history:

Aisha Abdul Hadi was appointed labour and immigration minister in the government of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif that was sworn in on Saturday.

The elections saw four women voted into the 454-member parliament, and President Hosni Mubarak, exercising a Constitutional provision that calls for the President to appoint ten members to Parliament, appointed five more. Egypt’s first woman cabinet minister has been a major figure in Egypt’s trade union organizations:

Abdul Hadi, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, is a veteran trade unionist who began her career in 1959 as a representative for workers in state-owned pharmaceutical company.

She rose through the ranks, becoming vice chairperson of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, a position she held until her appointment to the cabinet.

While the Agence France Presse report curiously referred to Abdul Hadi as a “veiled woman” rather than “a woman”, she in fact eschews the face veil or full body covering worn by many muslim women. Apparently, she does wear a headscarf to cover her hair, facts which for some reason seemed to be of major concern to the news agency’s writers.

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