Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has put forward a new bill against sexual harassment to the cabinet, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The bill proposes a minimum sentence of one year to five years in prison for harassers, along with fines of up to EGP 10,000.
Sexual harassment in the workplace would result in a minimum three-year prison sentence and a minimum fine of EGP 10,000.
NCW media officer Abeer Abou Al-Ela said the bill was developed after a request from Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
“The recent incidents against women to alienate them from the political scene pushed us to propose the bill,” Abou Al-Ela explained.
The proposed law includes a broad-ranging definition of sexual harassment, including stalking, obscene gestures, and public or private comments of a sexual or pornographic nature.
Director of the Egyptian Centre for Women (ECW) Nehad Abul Qomsan criticised the NCW for not coordinating with women rights’ NGOs and anti-harassment movements.
“There are 33 NGOs that have been working on bills against sexual violence in Egypt since 2008. The NCW hasn’t taken these efforts into account,” Abul Qomsan said.
She added that the ECW put forward a similar bill to President Mohamed Morsi last August, but they have not received a response.
The NCW submitted the bill to the cabinet last week but only published its details on Friday, according to Al-Ahram.