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Egypt: Women Should Cover Up

A startling new study released by Michigan University shows that over 90% of Egyptians surveyed believe that women should be veiled in one way or another, while only 14% believe women should chose how to dress.

One of the biggest issues facing women across Egypt is the issue of women covering up in public. The thorny subject has divided both Egypt and the Arab world along gender, geographical and even generational lines. But what do Egyptians really think?

A Michigan University study found that 52% of Egyptians believe that the correct way for woman to dress is wearing a white hijab. Meanwhile another 43% of respondents in felt that Egyptian women should cover up using either a fully-hooded black hijab that fully covers the neck and ears, a more laid back hijab, showing a slither of hair, a traditional niqab, with slits for the eyes, or complete niqab, covering the eyes too. And only 4% found believed that a women should display her hair in public.

The survey  along gave respondents six unlabeled options and Egypt’s results revealed a startling contrast with nearby nations including Lebanon, Turkey and neighbouring Tunisia. Nearly half of Lebanese respondents felt that it was ok for a woman to bare her hair in public, compared to a third of Turks and 15 % of Tunisians.

The most conservative result came from Saudi Arabia where almost three in four felt a woman should cover up completely and Pakistan, where 35% shared the same view.

In a result set to worry many equality activists, just over one in 10 of Egyptians believe that women shouldn't be given a choice about how to dress in public. However, the reasons for the country's need to keep women under wraps remain unknown. The study represents a supposedly broad view of a country containing 80 million people - which in our view is a tall order at best.

The survey certainly reflects a broad conservatism embedded in Egyptian society compared to our near neighbours, but seriously?! Do you honestly expect us to believe that 95% of Egyptians want to cover up?

Hell, have they even seen Cairo Zoom?