Orascom-Siemens-Arab Contractors consortium signs MoU to build high-speed rail system    Oman to close land borders again to curb coronavirus    State revenues will likely fall by EGP 150 bln in FY 2020/21 on Covid-19    Transmar succeeded in promoting trade, doubling reefer container shipping    Gut bacteria tied to Covid-19 severity    Egypt receives 19 rail carriages from Russia under mega deal    New boss Rooney backs Derby to respond after defeat by Rotherham    CBE offers EGP 16bn T-bills on Sunday    World Bank provides $200m loan to Egypt for air quality monitoring projects    Egypt detects 887 new coronavirus cases; 54 fatalities on Saturday    Live score: National Bank of Egypt v Ahly (Egyptian Premier League)    Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories, protective gear in US    Explainer: Road to Palestinian vote full of obstacles    Tennis: Australian Open arrivals hit by 4 COVID-19 positive tests    US state capitals, Washington on alert for possible pro-Trump armed protests    In Photos: Egyptian archaeological mission at Saqqara Necropolis announces new major discoveries    Armin Laschet picked as new leader of Germany's CDU party    Egypt's Sisi discusses bilateral ties, regional developments with Sudanese delegation    Bank ABC acquires Blom Bank Egypt for $480 million: Sources    Egypt's Mostaqbal Watan party dominates the leading posts of parliament's 25 committees    Egypt's budget deficit to GDP ratio receded to 3.6% in first half of FY2020/21, revenues rose by 16%    Mubarak-era politician Safwat El-Sherif dies aged 88    Handball: Egypt ease past Chile 35-29 in World Championship opener    Egypt's president, Siemens CEO discuss final deal on construction of electric train system    Hollywood actor Mena Massoud visits Giza pyramids, says is proud of Egyptian culture    Egypt reopens airspace and resumes flights with Qatar    Egypt, Tunisia to establish maritime trade route    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Obituary: Farkhonda Hassan (1930-2020)
Published in Ahram Online on 03 - 11 - 2020

The Egyptian community this week mourned the loss of Farkhonda Hassan, a scientist, academic, parliament member and women's advocate who passed away on Friday 30 October at the age of 90.
Hassan co-chaired the Gender Advisory Board of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development and was secretary-general and member of the National Council for Women in Egypt between 2000 and 2011.
“Hassan was the driving force behind many amendments to personal affairs laws concerning women's rights,” Nagwa Al-Fawal, a professor of mass communication at the National Centre for Social and Criminal Studies, said. “Under her management the council had 27 branches all over Egypt and dozens of lawsuits were filed against women's rights violations,” Al-Fawal said.
Such cases highlighted women's issues and helped in solving them later through legislation in parliament.
“Hassan was aware of women's issues and was very keen to discuss how laws would affect them,” Mohamed Abdel-Salam, media consultant at the Arab Woman Organisation, said.
Hassan will always be remembered for standing by women on many issues, including the right to access their inheritance, under age marriages and Khul (allowing women to leave a marriage if they were staying against their will) as well as the right of Egyptian women to pass on their nationality to their children from foreign fathers. Laws addressing these issues were later issued by parliament thanks to efforts of the National Council for Women under her management, Abdel-Salam added.
Her affiliations with national and international organisations, non-governmental organisations and research and knowledge institutions focused on women's empowerment. Hassan served as a short-term consultant and expert on several international and regional programmes organised by various UN organisations, including the UNDP and UNESCO.
“I was lucky to have had in my life very special people I learned a lot from and without whom life would not have been the same. Farkhonda Hassan was one of them,” Seheir Kansouh, UNDP development planning and gender adviser official, said after Hassan's death.
“Not only was she a role model of the woman scientist but her simple demeanour and her smile that always brightened her face will remain a grace that blessed my way,” Kansouh told Al-Ahram Weekly.
Hassan was a professor of geology at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and the list of her students included Queen Rania of Jordan and Egyptian former foreign minister Nabil Fahmi.
She was also chair of the Commission on Human Development and Local Administration of the Parliament and Shura Council from 1979 to 2011. This experience was translated in one of her books, Thirty Years under the Parliament Dome.
Farkhonda means happiness and joy, as she used to say to those who asked what her unusual name meant. She was the first woman to study moon rocks and the second woman to study geology in the Science Faculty at Cairo University. She was awarded the Order of Sciences and Arts, first class, in 1980. In one of Hassan's interviews, she said that Madame Curie, the scientist who received two Nobel prizes for pioneering research on radioactivity, was her idol.
Amina Shafik, a veteran leftist writer, said that while she and Hassan had different political leanings, she used to enjoy their chats. “One moment she would be talking about Egyptian deserts, the second she would give you info about the moon or tell you the story of the moon rock that Bill Gates gave her,” Shafik told the Weekly.
For Shafik, Hassan excelled in everything she did: she was a good cook and always bragged that she made her own dresses. She was a typical example of an Egyptian woman who exchanges recipes, took care of her grandchildren and had a great sense of humour.
Hassan is survived by her children Kareem, an engineer and Wegdan Lotfi, professor of chemistry. Wegdan spoke about her mom with pride. “Mommy prioritized family, above everything.” Lotfi remembers her mom's advice to her and all ladies “keep yourself busy”. According to Lotfy, Hasssan wrote more than five books about her experience as a politician and as a scientist. Her last book “Technology of Ancient Egyptians,” is now in the press. Hassan has no brothers and she insisted to make her father from Sohag Governorate, proud of her. In Upper Egyptian governorates a boy's birth makes men proud. “Hassan succeeded to change the equation. She passed away making all of us proud,” Lotfi concluded.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 5 November, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

Clic here to read the story from its source.