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Radio divorcée tackling stigma in Egypt


Facing social and legal hardships to end her marriage, an Egyptian woman decided to give a helping hand to others going through the same tough experience.

Mahasen Saber launched the online “Radio Divorcees” in 2010 to challenge the social stigma associated with divorce.

The divorced mother’s main aim is to offer advice on legal divorce procedures and spread awareness about rights of divorced women and potential state services offered to them.

“I have a strong background from my experience and readings that a woman have the legitimate religious right to get a divorce. It is normal. The problem is not about divorce itself, it is about what happens after divorce,” she said.

Her programmes also provide psychological assistance to women who face difficulties adjusting to their new social status.

Despite limited resources and outreach, 35 volunteers come on board to provide technical assistance to the non-profit platform. She hosts her shows from a local internet cafe in the northern governorate of Sharqiya.

Her co-host, Mai Ali, says the radio offers diverse services, and caters to the needs of other people, including married and single women.

The online radio attracts contributions from different parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and even Italy and Spain.

Shaimaa, a divorced woman, said the radio is necessary to help divorced women.

“Of course we need (this radio). Instead of wasting our time discussing irrelevant matters, no, we have to highlight the important things. Women are not half of society, women are the entire society. She (the woman) raises the minister, police officer, engineer and the president. If she is psychologically stable and lives well, she will raise better generations,” she said.

A United Nations study in 2013 showed that 47 percent of divorced or separated women reported domestic abuse in Egypt.

Divorce rates are reportedly on the rise in the Arab world’s most populous nation, with nearly 200,000 registered divorce cases making up to 10 percent increase in 2015, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).


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