No Women in Egyptian Soap Opera during Ramadan

Published: 26 June 2013

Country: Egypt

Egypt-coffeeThe Egyptian Soap opera called “The Coffee Shop” stands out from their peer programmes as all the members of its cast and crew are men, The Guardian reports.  Sayed Said, creator and chief scriptwriter, explained to the newspaper that he is “trying to reflect the opinions of the everyday Egyptian citizen”.

The aim of Said was “to make a good show without depicting naked women”, after he became frustrated by the sexualised content of other series, which he believes is offensive to Egypt’s conservative population.  Then, he decided to produce a male-only soap opera which will be broadcast during Ramadan on al-Hafez, an Islamist channel known for its conservative programs.Said stated that his purpose was to reflect society, however critics have raised. “An all-male show can’t be reflective of society if it doesn’t have any women,” said Yara Goubran soap opera actress to the Guardian.


These entertaining programmes are very popular in the Arab world, in particular during Ramadan when TV channels register the highest audience and the most profitable period.

The Media Diversity Institute (MDI) has identified the great impact that these kinds of programmes have in society due to its popularity, whose content is hugely influential in shaping social perceptions, attitudes and lessons that the audience carry with them into their daily lives.

Therefore, MDI provided training to 12 Soap Opera scriptwriters at the beginning of June.

MDI Workshop for Scriptwriters in EgyptShahira Salam, prominent soap opera scrptwriter who recently run MDI workshop in Sokhna, said that “the Holly Quran is a message that reflects all the creatures of Allah, and doesn’t discriminate between those creatures; even plant, animal and woman have a complete chapter with the title of “the women chapter”, in addition to the varied women roles in the Holly Quran“.

She highlighted the fact that there will be series of women stories from Quran shown on MBC Misr Channel. The programme will be broadcast during Ramadan on MBC Misr channel and it features a great Egyptian actor Yehya El-Fakhrany and a group of actresses.

Women had an effective historical and dramatic role that may be the greatest role, while all the makers of this great history of Egyptian religious drama don’t belong to that religious trend that now presents a drama without women that violates the form and conception that were mentioned in the Quran book where no one was excluded, because the shape of life that is reflected in drama shall be always deficient and false if it excludes any creature“, wrote Shahira Salam.

Related story:

MDI Training for Soap Opera Scriptwriters