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On Her National (and International) Day .. Forgotten!

by Ekbal Baraka

I looked for them and did not find any of them: the daughters of Hibacia, Samira Moussa, Dorreya Shafiq, Hoda Shaarawy, Helena Sedaros, Moufida Abdel Rahman, Suheir El Qalmawy, Ekram Abdel Salam and the long list. In an annual ceremony called "Egyptian Women's Day" broadcasted by all local and international satellite channels, I looked and looked and listened to the President's speech wanting to hear a mention of the contemporary symbols of Egyptian women in the scientific and cultural fields.

It is nice that the president honors two artists alongside the "Ideal mothers" and "Mothers of the martyrs," but it would be better to show the world that Egypt boasts of great women's treasures in the fields of nuclear energy, chemistry, immunology, crystals, genetics, etc. This day would have been a great opportunity for the the President to honor prominent Egyptian women scientists and writers, like: Dr. Amal Sadek , professor of educational psychology at Helwan University, who holds the present title of Woman of the Year; or Dr. Nevin Helmi, researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research,who has been honored by the International Encyclopedia Who's Who?; or Dr. Samira Ahmed Salem, Professor of Marine Environment at the Faculty of Science, Cairo University , recipient of the Shield of Arab Creators in the field of Culture and Science; or Dr. Aqila Saleh Hamza, supervisor of the Regional Center for Food and Nutrition and General Coordinator of the Food Security Information Center; or Dr. Amira Jamal El-Din, Professor of Cancerology, winner of the State Award for Excellence at the National Center for Scientific Research; or Dr.Najwa Abdel Magid, Professor of Genetics and head of the Special Needs Children's Research Department at the National Research Center in Cairo, the first Arab scientist to win the Laureal UNESCO Award in 2002 for her research on the .treatment of children with genetic disabilities.

And there are others: Dr. Koraymat El Sayyed, professor of Crystallography and winner of the Laureal UNESCO Award for 2003; Dr. Rashiqa Al-Redy, Professor of Immunology, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, winner of Laureate UNESCO Prize in Science for 2010, for her contribution to the development of a vaccine to eradicate schistosomiasis; Mary Basili Asad, an anthropologist at the American University, an activist who has established in partnership with the Egyptian Environmental Protection Agency several programs to educate women about the dangers of female genital mutilation, still a widespread practice in Egypt. She has worked for many years helping garbage collectors in the village of Zabbaleen, providing health services for them and educating their children; Dr. Nawal Al Saadawi, a doctor of pulmonary diseases and psychiatrist, an international activist for human and women's rights. She has won three honorary degrees from three continents and many other international awards; and last but not least Magda, the producer and actress in national films such as Allah is with usand Jamila, about the Algerian National heroine Jamila Bouhraid, Our Green Land and Mustafa Kamel. She is also the heroine of Islamic films such as Bilal Mu'azin the Prophet and The Prophet's Migration. And so many other great Egyptian mothers and women.

I wish light had been cast, not only on Ideal mothers and Mothers of the martyrs, but also on these great role models who work unobtrusively, renouncing fame, posts or money, dedicating their talents and renowned efficiency in the love of their homeland, a crown on the head of Egypt, mother of civilization, science and the arts.