Hijab-wearing women 'face discrimination' in Egypt, investigation reveals

Hijab-wearing women 'face discrimination' in Egypt, investigation reveals
2 min read
29 August, 2022
The investigation found that women who wore hijabs were refused from high-end establishments in Cairo, and in some cases were prevented from purchasing luxury or holiday homes.
Egyptian women are discriminated against for wearing the hijab, according to an investigation [Getty]

A BBC Arabic investigation revealed that women wearing the hijab are being discriminated against in Egypt. 

Several high-end establishments across Cairo, Egypt’s capital, refuse entry to women wearing headscarves, the investigation revealed. The hijab even prevented some women and families from purchasing property in luxury townships.

This practice appears to violate Egypt’s constitution, which bars discrimination on the basis of social class, sex, race, or religion. 

"In most cases the main cause [for the discrimination] is classism," said Nada Nashat, a lawyer and women's rights activist quoted by the BBC. "So we find discrimination against hijabi women in venues that like to present themselves as upper-middle or upper class. But we also find discrimination against non-hijabi women in lower and middle classes," she said, referring to women who wear the headscarf. 

Out of fifteen high-end venues in Cairo, the BBC revealed that eleven said headscarves were not permitted on the premises.

The investigation also revealed that hijab-wearing women were restricted from buying apartments by La Vista, a major developer in the country. Multiple property brokers told the undercover reporters they could not sell an apartment or a holiday home to women wearing a hijab. 

One broker stated: “To be frank with you, regarding the North Coast and Sokhna projects, they are discriminatory,” referencing popular holiday destinations for wealthy Egyptians. 

Egyptian lawmaker Amira Saber said the country’s constitution was clear that this kind of discrimination was illegal in the country, according to the BBC. She  promised to use her position as an MP to “ensure that this does not happen again, and if it does happen, the perpetrator must be punished.”