The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU)
has given the women who work for the state
owned TV and Radio station one month to lose
weight before they can appear on air again with
an “appropriate appearance”, the Al-Yawm al-
Sabi website reports. The ERTU has a female
director, Safaa Hegazy, a former state TV anchor
This order led to an outcry among the affected
presenters and women’s rights groups in the
One of the hosts on Egypt’s Channel 2 station,
Khadija Khattab, said the audience should watch
her most recent TV appearances and judge for
themselves if she is really “fat”, and whether her
weight should prevent her from working.
Another presenter complained bitterly that the
situation had upset their families and that this
situation of their weight issue should have been
dealt with internally.
The Women’s Centre for Guidance and Legal
Awareness condemned the move, saying it
“violates the constitution” and is a form of
violence against women. It’s called on the ERTU
Journalist Fatma al-Sharawi says the policy
should apply to all local TV stations, while
academic Waheed Abdul Majid says the channel
should pay more attention to its content – not its
Reaction on social media has been mixed, with
some supporting the women and others calling
them “bakabouzas” – a term for overweight girls.
A twitter user said: Some of them might be a
little overweight, but they are eloquent”.
Despite the backlash, sources from ERTU said
they will stick by the decision. The State TV has
since pulled eight female TV presenters off air
until they lose weight, adding that the hosts will
still be paid their salaries and benefits during
their stand-down period.