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Egypt's Female Officers Reach New Ranks

In the first move of its kind in Egypt, four female members of the police force have been promoted to the title of Major General.

Four female police officers are being promoted to the rank of major general, in a move that marks one of the first of its kind, signaling possible state-sponsored moves towards establishing positive change towards gender equality in the workplace.

This appointment marks the first time for a group of women to be promoted at the same time, and only the second time a women has reached rank of major general. Previously, it had been customary that women were forced to retire at the rank of brigadier general.

The first to reach the milestone was Major General Azza el-Gamal, who was placed in command of the Police Hospital last year. As for the other four women, they will each be placed in charge of a different police sector: Specialised police, tourism police, transport and Cairo International Airport.

“Women officers’ rights were not fulfilled in the past, as many of them were highly qualified, but were assigned to simple tasks. They were excluded from hard work as a ‘man’s physical specifications’ were always a requirement, especially dealing with thugs and criminals,” retired Major General Adel Mostafa told The Cairo Post.

One of the women promoted was 31-year veteran of the tourism police Hanan Mahmoud Khalil, who was completely caught off guard by the promotion, thinking that she, like many before her, would be forced to retire. “It was such an amazing surprise for me and my colleagues and I could not describe my happiness at that moment,” she said. “We thanked the minister for honoring women, and promised to be responsible.”

Talking to Youm7, Khalil expressed hopes that her promotion is not just a change in the police force, but in society’s vision of women as well, ushering an age that “enables women to assume all leading positions that they were not appointed to before.”

According to the head of the New Woman organization, Mona Ezzat, “[The promotions] are still incomplete as long as the decision is not part of a strategy or a vision by the ministry.” Ezzat added to The Cairo Post, “Unless there is an adopted program allowing both genders equal work, reversion to the decision is negotiable.”