In a letter to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt, the interim governing body of Egypt in the wake of President Mubarak's resignation, U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) were joined by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Scott P. Brown (R-Mass.), Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA), Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klochubar (D-Minn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in urging the transitional government to encourage women to participate as equals for Egypt's future.
The full text of the Senators' letter:
To the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces of Egypt:
January of 2011 will long be remembered for the tens of thousands of Egyptians that took to the streets to demand that their voices be heard. Their calls for a new government committed to helping all Egyptians achieve their aspirations of freedom, economic opportunity and an end to oppression were heard around the world. They worked across economic, gender, ethnic, religious, and generational lines to achieve a historic victory and to begin building a democratic government accountable to its people.
History is still being made in Egypt. The strength of the Egypt of the future will depend on the soundness of the foundation now being laid under your leadership. No nation can compete on the world stage without harnessing the energy, intelligence, and drive of all of its citizens. Egypt's role as a leader in Africa and the Middle East will be increased if the women of Egypt are encouraged to contribute to Egypt's future with the same strength and determination they contributed to the Egyptian Arab Spring. Equality in education and opportunity will enhance the economic vitality and growth of the new democratic Egypt.
In the coming months, we know that you will guide Egypt's electoral and constitutional process, the emergence of a broader civil society, and the resurgence of the Egyptian economy. We urge you to take steps now to ensure that Egyptian women are afforded meaningful opportunities to participate as equals in these areas at all levels of Egyptian society.
We, the undersigned members of the United States Senate, firmly believe that for Egypt to remain a great nation, a leader in the Middle East, and a strong partner of the United States, the rights and contributions of all members of Egyptian society must be honored by the new Egyptian government and the new constitution that will take shape in the coming months. We hope that the U.S. and Egypt can work together in this important area as Egypt moves forward with this transition.
An electronic copy of the letter was also sent to Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women, before an International Women's Roundtable convenes in Egypt to discuss pathways for women in transitional democracies.