History was made in Egypt over the weekend when Hala Shukrallah beacame the first woman and the first Coptic Christian to be elected the head of a political party in Egypt.
According to Egyptian daily Al Ahram, Shukrallah was elected Friday to head the Constitution Party, founded by opposition figure and former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei in 2012. It was founded as a non-ideological party for all Egyptians.
Al Ahram described Shukrallah as "a leftist sociologist, political activist and mother who runs a development consultancy and is largely unknown to the media."
ElBaradei left the Constitution Party in July 2013 to become vice president following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. He resigned from the vice-presidency just two months later amid the military government's bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters. However, he did not return to the Constitution Party and many of its prominent members left as well.
Shukrallah told Al Ahram
that she herself considered leaving the party, but was convinced to run for its leadership by young people in the faction.
“All throughout the campaign, the issue of my being a woman or a Copt was never brought up inside the party,” Shukrallah, whose campaign promise was "an idea to unite us."
Shukrallah stated that she wanted her ideas and not her gender or religion to be the focus going forward. "I think it sometimes blinds people to dealing with the content of what you’re saying. They’re looking outwards and blinded by that statement over and over again.”