Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes, Egyptians are racist against Black people and Asian people. Gender equality isn't a thing. - Mar 2023

Egyptian Muslims will tell you there are no issues with the Christian Coptic communities. Copts will tell you they're treated like 2nd-class citizens in Egypt. For foreigners, you'll always be treated as foreign, regardless of ability to speak Arabic, etc. Many Egyptian women work, but 'traditional' (misogynistic) views still dominate. - Aug 2022

Gender prejudice is real for women, I've experienced it. But frankly not much more than I've experienced in other developing countries. - Aug 2022

Upper class Egyptian women are incredibly strong and fight hard for their rights. They hold high-power professional jobs. However, you will see and interact with many more men than women in the middle and lower classes. Waiters and store clerks will always address other men first and when I'm with my male partner, will solely talk to him. Black people are often presumed to be African migrants and refugees who are discriminated against. The Coptic Christians officially make up 10% of the population, but they are a large presence and seem to be respected. Egyptians preach religious tolerance, however the ever-shrinking Jewish population indicates otherwise. - Mar 2022

There is some sexism but being an expat, I was treated differently by Egyptian men then an Egyptian woman would be. I've heard that some Jewish people are treated differently but never heard details. And I mentioned above, some people of Asian or African descent might face some prejudices. - Dec 2021

Yes, lots of gender inequality. Men will talk to me, but if my husband shows up I become invisible. - Feb 2021

Guys don't seem to have many problems, ladies, on the other hand, seem to be prone to harassment, especially if not dressed conservatively. - Nov 2020

Sexual harassment for women is a daily occurrence, especially for women of color and blond women (i.e. women who stand out from the generally dark-haired, dark-eyed crowd). - Jun 2018

Yes, Yes, Yes. Locally there is no gender equality, though you don't feel it as much as an expat. Expect regular catcalls. Some women get groped or harassed more. - Jan 2018

There are tensions between Coptic Christians and Muslims in Egypt. Men are treated as first class citizens and women are second class citizens. - Sep 2017

There are definite issues with gender equality, and there is a religious divide between Muslims and Christians. In general, my impression was that the people I interacted with dealt well with religious differences but that gender issues were a bit more challenging. - May 2017

Egypt is an 85% Muslim country and whilst there are prejudices, it is considerably more liberal than some of its neighbours. So yes, compared to the west there is gender inequality but nothing like the western media would have you believe. - May 2017

Western female friends I had who had darker skin tended to be harrassed more than those with lighter skin. As a lighter skinned, clearly Western-appearing woman, I encountered essentially no harrassment the whole time I was there, except a couple of trivial incidents with preteen boys. There are different standards for Egyptians and Westerners, so dress that would not be considered ok for an Egyptian can still be ok for a Westerner, as long as you use moderation. Short sleeves and capri pants or skirts that are mid-calf are fine. People tend to be more on the dressy side there, so you will feel better if you are as well. - Jan 2016

Women must dress very modestly, to prevent unwanted attention and this gets real old, especially in the hot summer months. Egyptians seem tolerant of Christianity, I do not know about Judiasm, just never say you are an atheist - Jan 2016

We are Christians and have not felt prejudices but I wouldn't say that I feel a lot of "religious freedom." Many Egyptian Christians here feel the prejudices. For example, you will find more Egyptian Christian workers at USAID because of the anti-discrimination laws that we have in the U.S. Not so in Egypt. There are sectors of work where Christians are not promoted or not even allowed in the workplace to begin with. - Oct 2014

Most people are Muslims and some extreme groups do not like Christians. Many Christian churches were burned in the past couple of years and even some have gone so far as to say that a specific car logo looks like a cross so they should be burned. That said, there are many Christian churches available. If you look "Western," it is possible that you will be discriminated against. Supposedly Egypt is the #4 country in the world right now that likes Americans the least. Personally, my limited interaction with the locals has been mostly positive. I find Egyptians to be kind and welcoming - the ones I meet, anyway. Right now Egypt is notorious for the severe sexual harassment problems afflicting women. - Aug 2014

Yes, yes and yes...discrimination is pervasive. - Aug 2014

Many women hate the harassment here - I have a good street face and really it washes over me like water off a duck's back. But it's kind of pervasive and really bad, relatively speaking. It wasn't this bad in Indonesia, Morocco...maybe India... - May 2014

Women are treated poorly and harassed in the streets, especially Western women. - Apr 2014

Yes. Non-Muslims are not respected and women are treated very poorly. - Mar 2014

Yes, yes and yes. General thinking is becoming more and more anti anything non-Muslim. As a woman you WILL experience sexual harassment as a minimum; no matter what you wear, men will leer at you, make disgusting comments to you, try to kiss you, and make disgustin han motions in your direction. If you are lucky, this is all you will get. Covering yourself up won't help much. Egyptian men believe it is normal for western women to jump into bed with everyone. - Jul 2013

Women have a real problem with harassment by Egyptian men (and not just foriegn women - some Egyptian women have even posted a map of the areas with the most harassment). - Jul 2013

There is severe persecution of Copts, and basically anyone who is not a Muslim will find this a very uncomfortable place to live. That aspect is getting worse by the hour. - Jun 2013

Women are definitely "protected" by family, while at the same time often objectified by outside men. Christians, especially since the revolution, feel nervous about the future; some feel victimized. - Jun 2013

Absolutely. Harassment of women is an issue. My wife curtails her travel due to the hassle she receives. - May 2013

Racial - yes. The Egyptians don't particularly like westerners, who (at best) are seen as cash cows to milk and not as people. Religious - yes. Christians are looked down on, as are Jews. Nevertheless, these "people of the book" get much more respect than other religions. Coptic Egyptians are leaving Egypt in droves. - May 2013

Gender is most definitely an issue here. It is very hard for women, all women, with harassment. It existed before the revolution and is much worse now. It doesn't stop me from going out biking around with my group, BUT it can happen at any time. - May 2013

There is prejudice against the Sudanese population here (and other African immigrants), and there can be tension between the Coptic and Muslim communities. Gender issues also crop up, and since the revolution, there has been an increase in sexual harassment. That said, I have experienced worse (and more) harassment in other countries, including in the US. At least once here, I have told someone "hissing" at me that it was "haram" and he backed off - I don't think he had ever been called on it before. Thanks to the wonderful American TV shows / movies we export, there is a definite perception that American (and other western women) are "easy" and comments will come along with that perception. - Feb 2013

Absolutely. Coptic Christians, as can be read in the press, are heading for the exits. There is a great deal of anxiety about the emergence of a country governed by Sharia law that even moderate Muslims share. Women are treated barbarically, sexual assault---of the most gruesome variety--- is skyrocketing. Domestic abuse is common. - Feb 2013

Yes. If you are not a male Egytian muslim, you will face some sort of prejudice. - Mar 2013

Egypt has spent more than 30 years starving its people of education and rights. All forms of ignorance are on display here. - Mar 2013

Yes, all of the above. The country is quickly becoming anti-Christian, and the new constitution enshrines Sharia law in a special place above all law. Persecution of Christians is getting serious, especially in the south, and now it is reaching even into the cities. Women are treated like property. - Feb 2013

Egyptian men are notorious for being very aggressive toward women. There have been several incidents when women from the US Embassy have been assaulted by Egyptian men. Women with blond hair seem to be at greater risk. - Jan 2013

Women certainly don't have to worry about being offended by chivalry here - it doesn't exist. But if you have a child, they LOVE them! There is a separate train car on the metro for women. That being said, I haven't had too big of an issue living everyday life here as a woman. - Nov 2012

As in all Middle Eastern countries, women are often not well-respected, and are harassed on the street. Black people (African-American, British African, etc) were often assumed to be Sudanese, and faced prejudice due to that. - Sep 2011

Yes - Aug 2011

Yes - Aug 2011

There is a lot of harrassment of women in the streets no matter what you look like or what you wear. Some cafes will be completely uncomfortable for women. In terms of race, there are some nationalities that face some discrimination and dark-skinned people will have a harder time than light-skinned people, but in general, if you are nice people will respond accordingly. Most people are pretty accepting, but you might find people who say negative things about Israel/Jews. - Jul 2011

I don't think there are many racial issues. You will get looks, being a Westerner, (all the time). Religious issues are relevant. There are constant disputes and clashes between Muslims and Coptic Christians. Being Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian is not much of an issue. Their are lots of churches. Women have to be careful. Their are reports of sexual harassment and such. Men will stare at women, and cat-calling isn't unheard of. - Jun 2011

Although Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel, the Israelis are the people that the Egyptians love to hate. So if you are Jewish, it would not be a good idea to publicize it. - Sep 2010

Lower class Egyptians have no respect for women. And I have found they do not care for Africans. American or otherwise. - Jun 2010

Women here, including Egyptian women who wear headscarves, are harassed regularly, though most of the harassment does not escalate to physical harassment. There are a lot of Sudanese refugees in Egypt who face discrimination, though I'm not sure if this discrimination extends to all people of African descent. Unless you are Muslim or Christian, religious discussions are best avoided unless you know people very well. - Dec 2009

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