The Thomson Reuters Foundation recently surveyed experts in the field of women's rights across 19 megacities in the world ... and Cairo ranked the worst for women amongst all.

The poll asked respondents a number of questions around issues such as sexual violence, harmful cultural practices, and women's access to healthcare and finance.

Cairo was ranked 'most dangerous' overall. 

The Egyptian capital was followed by Karachi in Pakistan, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and then New Delhi in India.

London ranked as the best megacity for women, followed by Tokyo and Paris.

Cairo is the worst city in terms of FGM and forced marriages ... and 3rd worst in terms of sexual harassment!

The Egyptian capital ranked worst in terms of harmful cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages. 

It was also named the third worst city in terms of sexual harassment and violence - after Delhi and Sao Paulo.

According to the international poll, the treatment of women has declined since the uprising in the country in 2011. Women's rights activists have blamed this increase in the country's shift in priorities to enhance its economy.

"The economy has become so bad in the last two, three years that we are suffering a setback in the thinking that women's issues are not a priority," said Omaima Abou-Bakr, co-founder of Women and Memory Forum, a non-government organization combating misconceptions of Arab women, in a statement

However, last week, a United Nations regional commission based in Beirut proved an existent correlation between "intimate partner violence" and a country's economy. 

So, perhaps it's time we acknowledge the harmful effects violence has had, firstly on women, and then on the entire nation.

Not everyone agrees

Naglaa el-Adly
Pictured: Naglaa el-Adly, member of Egypt's National Council for Women Source:

Naglaa el-Adly, a member of Egypt's National Council for Women, believes women's rights in the country have improved over the years.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared 2017 as the "Year of Egyptian Women", in which he stressed a women's key role in developing a better Egypt in the coming years. 

He also discussed the necessary steps that needed to be taken in order to protect their constitutional rights.

"Cairo has long been the sexual harassment capital of the world"

92% of Egyptian women - between 15 and 49 - have been circumcised

FGM, which is defined as a "partial or total removal of external genitalia, or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons" by the World Health Organization (WHO), is extremely common in Egypt. 

According to a 2014 survey, 92% of Egyptian women aged between 15 and 49 have been circumcised. 

This can lead to worrisome side effects, including severe physical pain, bleeding, and the risk of wound infections.

The practice has also been revealed to cause a delay in women's sexual response cycle.

Earlier this year, the spokesperson of Egypt's primary Forensic Medicine Department, Dr. Hesham Abdel Hamid, revealed that 70 to 80 percent of all Egyptian women cannot orgasm due to the practice.

As part of the ongoing crackdown on FGM, Egypt's government passed a law in 2016 that increases the penalty for female genital mutilation. 

Perpetrators of the crime can now face between five and seven years in prison. If the mutilation leads to permanent disability or death, the perpetrator could face up to 15 years behind bars.

Before the law came into effect, the practice was classified as a misdemeanor and carried a penalty of three months to a maximum of three years in prison. 

However, many in the country continue to practice FGM illegally whilst the government continues to campaign against it.

Sexual harassment in Egypt

In 2013, Egypt already ranked the worst amongst all Arab countries for women, according to a poll conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

More recently, in a 2017 survey, Egypt was voted as one of the two most dangerous places for solo female travelers. Morocco came in second. 

The intensity of sexual harassment in the country is one of the main factors Egypt is considered to be 'dangerous' for women. 

According to a 2013 report released by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, 99.3% of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, despite it being a crime as per Egyptian law

Articles 306 (a) and 306 (b) of the penal code stipulates that verbal, behavioral, phone, and online sexual harassment results in a prison sentence of six months to five years, and up to 50,000 Egyptian Pounds in fines.

Yet, it's the lack of enforcement of existing laws that result in such staggering statistics.

Egypt's uprisings in 2011 put gender-based violence in the spotlight, which prompted the rise of many women's NGOs and campaigns to end sexual harassment. 

Unfortunately, not much has changed since then. 

Gender-based violence is still very prevalent in Egypt's public sphere and behind closed doors.