The New Egypt: Women in Positions of Power
Randa Fahmy Hudome
An internationally recognized expert in global markets and the energy sector, Randa Fahmy Hudome has more than twenty-five years of legal and public policy experience, including service in the executive branch of the United States Government as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Energy. Presently, Randa is President of Fahmy Hudome International (FHI), a strategic consulting firm, which provides critical advice and counsel to Fortune 500 companies, foreign governments, media organizations, and private sector entities with an interest in energy policy and international business transactions.
Randa serves on the Advisory Council of Connection Point.
The dramatic unraveling of the political and governmental fabric of Egypt is proof that Egyptian people have power now. They created change without violence; it wasn’t about using military force, it was the power of the people, pure and simple. This is incredible.
As an American of Egyptian descent—my father is Egyptian and my mom is Iranian—I have many relatives living in Egypt who have been experiencing the daily changes. I worry about them, hope for them, pray for them—but most of all I am excited for their bright future.
The next step is for Egyptians to develop a healthy political environment where parties can thrive and differences of opinions are welcomed. Also, one of the first big issues facing the new Egyptian government will be job creation. There is a growing problem of the very few who are wealthy and the very many who are poor. The question needs to be: What type of economic policy will encourage the development of a middle class in Egypt? There are a lot of resources in Egypt, including gas and tourism. These need to be put to use to create jobs. The government also needs to develop a regulatory environment that will attract international corporations.
There is also the issue of developing a new constitution. As a lawyer, I would like to see a new constitution that protects the rights of the people and develops a government that is accountable to the people.
As the politicians talk about the future constitutional changes, one factor I have not heard discussed yet is that of the role of the Egyptian women. With a population of 80 million, Egypt is teeming with a tremendous amount of bright, educated, sophisticated and savvy women. In fact, half the population of Egypt is female, thus why should they not participate in the future direction of their country?
When the populist uprising began in Egypt, many of the participants in the major cities were grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters. Their yearning and cries for freedom are no less valuable than those of their fellow men.
In order for Egyptian women to remain involved in the future political changes, I think they should continue to express their desires in public, especially their desire to be involved in the transitional government. It would be wise for the women to form a political party, or to be part of a political party whose agenda includes the promotion of women in the political system in Egypt.
As someone who has had a great deal of experience in the American political system, I want the women of Egypt to know that I will continue to dialogue with the US government to make sure their voices are heard. I hope to see more women in Egyptian parliament and the cabinet. On behalf of 25 prominent Egyptian Americans, I have requested a meeting with President Obama and Secretary Clinton to offer our assistance and advice on the overall situation in Egypt. If a meeting is granted, I intend to raise this very important issue of the role of the Egyptian women with them – in hopes that they will hear the cries for freedom from 40 million of the 80 million Egyptian freedom seekers.
I want the Egyptian people, particularly the Egyptian women, to know that the American people are very supportive of them. We are offering our help if it is needed.