Egyptian State TV Suspends 8 Female Hosts, Claiming They're Overweight

Credit: Egyptian Radio and Television Union
Khadija Khattab, one of the eight women suspended.

"It is humiliating," said one of the presenters, all of whom have been given a month to lose weight.

Egypt's state-owned broadcaster has suspended eight female TV presenters because it claims they are overweight, reportedly as part of efforts to shed its sluggish image.

The Egyptian Radio and Television Union gave the women one month to lose weight earlier this week, saying they could return to work once they had an "appropriate appearance," according to local media.

The move has — understandably — raised the ire of women's rights groups, who have slammed the move as sexist.

"It is humiliating and even scandalous," Khadija Khatab, one of the TV hosts now suspended, told the Al Watan newspaper. "It is just an attempt to get rid of the successful [presenters] and retain others who present programs that have no strong content."

"Judging anybody on the basis of his or her body weight is not the right criterion," Eman Beibers, chair of the Cairo-based Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women, told UAE newspaper Gulf News.

"Our problem is that we judge people by appearance rather than performance and content. It does not matter if the presenter is fat or thin as long as he or she does not use nasty words on the air and knows well how to deal with guests."

Added Beibers: "We have Oprah Winfrey as a successful example."

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