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The recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development: the possibility of the empowerment of women in Egypt.
CORNELL INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL. 1996; 29(1):191-223.This paper opens by pointing out that Muslim support of the recommendations contained in the Program of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was gained only because ICPD participants agreed that individual country compliance would be limited by national constitutional statutes and religious doctrine. If Egypt interprets the ICPD's "full respect for ... religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds" to mean "limited by" these factors, Egyptian women will remain unable to control their fertility. After this introduction, the first section of the paper summarizes the ICPD recommendations. Part 2 describes Islamic notions of women's role in society, and the third part shows how these ideas are mirrored in Egyptian society through an analysis of the importance of family and motherhood, Egyptian sexual standards, the veiling of women, and female genital mutilation. Part 4 considers the Islamic influence on Egyptian law, and the fifth part outlines past Egyptian efforts to achieve equality between the sexes. The paper ends by presenting the reforms that Egypt will have to institute to implement the ICPD recommendations. These include eliminating laws that perpetuate traditional gender roles and sexual standards. Egypt will also have to promote education as a key to empowering women and implementing the ICPD recommendations. It is also noted that women's organizations must play a key role in the reform process and that the process must take Islamic law into account.