The Permanent Conference for Working Women announces the Founding Statement of its 16 Days Campaign Egypt’s Butterflies (Farashat Masr)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 19:39



The Permanent Conference for Working Women announces the Founding Statement of its 16 Days Campaign

Egypt’s Butterflies (Farashat Masr)
Fight Violence against Women
and Call the Egyptian Government to Ratify International Convention no. 190 for 2019
on Sexual Harassment and Violence in the World of Work

Watch the film of  Egypt’s Butterflies (Farashat Masr):

Every year, events are held all around the world to mark the fight against violence against women. More and more people launch campaigns against violence against women to raise awareness everywhere. Campaigns last for 16 days starting from the 25th of November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to the 10th of December, which is the International Human Rights Day. In 1981, feminist groups in Columbia called for marking the day for the first time in Latin America. In 1999, demands of feminist and human rights groups led the UN to announce the 25th of November an international day for raising awareness of all forms of violence against women inside and outside the family. In 2014, the orange color became a unifying theme.

The 25th of November goes back to the year 1960 when the Mirabal sisters were assassinated. They were feminist and political activists in the Dominican Republic. The four sisters resisted the brutal practices of the regime of Rafael Trujillo, which led to their arrest. In 1960, American human rights organizations sent observers to the Dominican Republic. So, the authorities released the three sisters but kept their husbands in prison. However, Trujillo didn’t want the butterflies - as they were called – to live and threaten his power. So, he decided to get rid of them. On their way back from visiting their incarcerated husbands, Trujillo’s men stopped their car and killed them and their driver. They put their bodies back into the car, and pushed it down a cliff.

So, three of them lost their lives as a price for resistance. The fourth sister survived to tell their story locally and internationally. Their murder was like a spark for popular resistance against the Trujillo regime. Six months later, popular anger influenced by the murder of the Mirabal sisters escalated and Trujillo was shot dead by unknown people on the 30th of May 1961. Trujillo's obelisk was transformed into a mural in the honor of the Mirabal sisters who became icons of the political participation of women in Latin America.

Behind every acclaimed day, there is a story of women’s struggle. So, we call today and tomorrow the butterflies of Egypt to work hard to achieve the following:

  1. a society free of discrimination, violence and harassment in the world of work;
  2. ratification of International Convention no. 190 for 2019 on the Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work by the Egyptian government;
  3. personal safety in the workplace, and on the way to and from work;
  4. equal legal protection of all women workers in all sectors without exception;
  5. policies to address violence and harassment;
  6. comprehensive strategy to implement measures to prevent and combat violence and harassment;


  1. a clear and specific definition of violence and harassment at work, and sanctions thereof in Labour Law no. 12 for 2003 and the draft Labour Law being discussed now, according to provisions of International Convention no. 190 for 2019; and 
  2. means of inspection and investigation of cases of violence and harassment, including through labour inspectorates or other competent bodies.


Let the butterflies of Egypt continue their campaign until their demands are met.

Rights are not achieved merely by the annual celebration of the 16 days of activism campaign, but by persistent work every day.


The Permanent Conference for Working Women

The Center for Trade Unions and Workers Services


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