Women's equality absent from Egyptian constitution

(CBS News) CAIRO -- The fledgling Egyptian democracy just got its first draft constitution, but a lot of Egyptians aren't happy about it. It is the work of religiously conservative supporters of President Mohammed Morsi. Protesters had already filled the streets of Cairo, angry because Morsi had granted himself near absolute powers last week. They fear that the new constitution will take away many of their rights.

The assembly that wrote the draft constitution is dominated by President Mubarak's Islamist allies. So on the one hand, it gives Islamic law a bigger role in government. But on the other hand, a clause that specifically guaranteed equality for women was removed.

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On Friday, CBS News spoke with an Egyptian blogger who said she's worried that this draft constitution could be used to violate her rights.

"You take your salary from my taxes," said the blogger. "You have no right to tell me to live my life, how to dress, how to talk. You have no right to put me in jail because I'm expressing my opinion on the Internet or in the streets. And this is what they did in the constitution."

Morsi is making a political gamble. He is betting that a majority of Egyptians will vote for this draft constitution. If he is right, then Morsi will tighten his grip on power. But If he's wrong -- if Egyptians reject this proposed constitution -- then they're also rejecting Morsi's Islamist vision for Egypt.

  • Holly Williams

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