This paper presents a comparative “gender audit” of Egypt’s two constitutions (2012, 2014) developed after a people’s uprising in 2011 and 2013 led to the ousting of two presidents (Mubarak and Morsi respectively).
Egypt’s two constitutions are particularly compelling for the study of gender politics in transitional constitutionalism because while the number of women participating in the constitution writing process was very similar, the gendered outcomes were starkly different. While the political opportunity for mobilizing around women’s rights was enhanced in the aftermath of Mubarak’s demise, the capitalization of these opportunities by organized political forces with an anti-feminist agenda undermined the prospects of en-gendering the first post-Mubarak constitution. In contrast, the constitution of 2014, developed under severely circumscribed political space inhibiting women’s mobilization, witnessed the exercise of women’s constitutional agency to redress the containment of women’s rights under the previous constitution and en-gender many elements of it, though the extent of its enforceability remains obscure. This paper draws on primary and secondary data to analyse, through a gender lens, the processes and outcomes involved in constitution drafting along three axes:context and political opportunity structures; coalitional politics, and political and ideological struggles.