Brotherhood Hold Women Conf., First in 60 Yrs

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood responded positively to pressures coming from within the group and organized the first conference for the group’s female members.

The conference – held yesterday under the title “Women: from Revolt to Renaissance” – is the first in 60 years.

Ikhwan say they used to ban women from occupying high posts and voting for security reasons.

Women stepped up pressures on Ikhwan leaders in recent years to allow them to have seats in the Guidance Office and the Advisory Council – the two highest bodies in the Brotherhood.

The group responded positively, while facing internal splits since the ousting of the Mubarak regime.

The gap is believed to have widened between reformists and conservatives, according to observers.

“No one can deny women’s role in the success of the revolution as activists, mothers, wives and event makers,” Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood Supreme Guide, said in his opening speech.

He advised them to be patient toward the challenges they face, noting that they must share their proposals and visions with their husbands.

“Men and women share responsibility for Egypt’s progress,” he said.

Khairat al Shater, Deputy Supreme Guide, said: “The group had been afraid of pushing women members to political action over the last years for fear of security oppression.”

“Women will play a key role in political action in the coming period, as well as administratively, as measures are currently underway to develop the group,” he noted.