The state TV broadcaster in Egypt has sparked outrage after reportedly suspending eight of its female anchors and instructing them to diet. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) has given the women a month to lose weight before they can resume their on-air roles with an “appropriate appearance,” according to the Al-Yawm al-Sabi website.
ERTU’s director, Safaa Hegazy, is a former TV anchor herself. The broadcaster is standing by the decision, but says the women’s pay and benefits will not be docked while they are suspended from appearing on the air. Opinions were divided on social media, with some calling the women “bakabouzas” (an Egyptian term for overweight females) and praising Hegazy’s strong decision. The Women’s Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness said the move “violates the constitution.”
In addition to the outcry from women’s rights groups, the presenters mounted their own defenses. Khadija Khattab told local media she wants people to watch her recent appearances and judge whether she is really “fat” and deserves the suspension. Another presenter said the situation had been distressing for the women’s families and should not have been dealt with so publicly.
Male MP and journalist Sayyid Hegazy defended the women in parliament, reasoning that a presenter “might be a little overweight, but she is eloquent.”
Read the full story at the BBC.