Target: Safaa Hegazy, Director of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union
Goal: Reverse decision to suspend eight female television broadcasters due to their weight.
Eight female news anchors on Egyptian state television have been suspended due to their weight. In their one-month suspension, they have been told to go on a diet and lose weight before they can reappear on their broadcasts. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), the organization behind the suspensions, has told the women they must attain a more “appropriate appearance.”
No males were suspended by ERTU, leaving many, including women’s groups, to claim that the suspension was not only harmful but sexist. The Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal Awareness says that the controversial action violates the constitution and is nothing less than violence against women.
The women will be compensated with their full pay and benefits during their month-long suspension. However, the decision should be reversed. In broadcasting, the appearance of the news anchor should not matter. It is the content that is important, as well the way the broadcaster sticks to ethical, objective, and fair journalistic standards. The appearance of a news anchor, whether it is her age, her race, or her weight, does not affect this.
To suspend these women is not only harmful but dangerous. It sets a precedent that good reporting and fair news takes a back seat to the physical appearance of the woman reporting it. In addition, the suspension of only women and no men insinuates a bias on the part of ERTU that women cannot do an admirable job if they do not meet society’s standards of beauty. Sign the petition to let the director of ERTU know that this decision is sexist, harmful to the women involved, and damaging to the credibility of their news channels.
Dear Ms. Hegazy,
Eight women have been suspended from Egyptian state television due to their weight. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union, your organization, has given the women only one month to achieve an “appropriate appearance,” leading many to wonder what an “appropriate” physical appearance for a woman really entails, and why it takes precedence over the work these women have achieved in the broadcasting industry.
As a woman yourself, you cannot be unaware of the inherent sexism in the decision. No men have been suspended. As a woman yourself, you also cannot be unaware of how harmful this decision is to not only the women affected but to all women. The decision of your organization insinuates that it is physical beauty, not work ethic, that deems a woman a valuable employee. The content and the reporting these women do, not their appearance, is what should be considered, and to claim otherwise very negatively impacts the credibility of your organization, in addition to damaging all of the progress women have made in the working world thus far. I urge you to reverse this decision and reinstate the female broadcasters who were so unfairly humiliated and suspended.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Umair Mohsin