In a first, female judge presides over hearing at top court in Egypt

Cairo: For the first time in Egypt’s history, Radwa Helmi on Saturday sat as the female judge on the bench of Egypt’s state council—a top court in the Arab country. So far, the position was only limited to male judges.

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The appointment of the first female judge on the bench of the Egyptian state council comes in the implementation of a decision issued by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in October to appoint 98 female judges in the state council.

Egypt has hundreds of female lawyers, but it took decades for one to climb the judicial ladder and become a judge.

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The only Egyptian female judge, Tahani Al-Gabali, was appointed in 2003 to the Constitutional Court and remained in this position for nearly ten years before she was dismissed after the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi took power in mid-2012.

The law does not prevent Egyptian women from assuming judicial platforms, but the custom has been that they are the preserve of men.

Women have been deprived of working in the judiciary since the establishment of the modern Egyptian judicial system at the end of the nineteenth century.

Egyptian women obtained all their political rights in 1956.

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