People of Cairo, look around you. How many foreign women do you see these days compared to two or four years ago? Do you ever stop to wonder just why those numbers are decreasing and what you can do about it?
Here are a few examples of what you should not do when meeting an expat woman in the streets, regardless of what she looks like, where she comes from, or how old she is.
1. Do not pull out your phone to snap her picture.
2. Don’t walk as close as you can to her or follow her, just to see exactly what she looks like.
3. Never assume that a foreign woman is single just because she is walking alone. So stop asking.
4. Do not think it’s okay to reach and touch any article of clothing she is wearing, no matter how enticing or different it may look.
5. Try not to stare or hang out of your car window, she won’t appreciate those gestures whatsoever.
6. Don’t surround her with your posse of friends shouting, “Where are you from? You live here?”
7. Restrain yourself from befriending a foreign woman, earning her trust, then trying to sleep with her. She’s not stupid and chances are you’ll lose her friendship faster than you can eat a bowl of mahshi.
Entire novels could be written about the daily issues that foreign women face while living, working and studying in Egypt. However, expat women in Cairo are not caged animals in a zoo, and must not be treated as such, no matter how entertaining it may seem for some.
Expat women come from all around the globe to teach English in Cairo, to take Arabic courses, to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, to start impressive new businesses and help boost the Egyptian economy. Take pride in the fact that we, the expat women of Cairo, stay here for a reason.
Protect us, help us and support us so we’ll continue to come to Cairo and invest our knowledge, love and energy. Give us some time to adjust to cultural differences and room to grow in a new environment.
Most of all, give us the respect we deserve.
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