What does a female reporter's weight have to do with her ability to do her job? Nothing. But apparently, a state-run Egyptian TV station seems to think otherwise. The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) suspended eight female hosts, and asked them all to go on diets. According to the BBC, the women were told they had one month to lose enough weight and reach an "appropriate appearance" before they could appear on air again.
But this was not the work of a man at the top of the power chain. The ERTU's director is a woman —in fact, Safaa Hegazy, is a former state TV anchor. The Women's Center for Guidance and Legal Awareness, a local women's rights group, condemned the decision after it was announced, according to the BBC. The group said that the move "violates the constitution" and called it a form of violence against women. They asked the TV station to reverse the decision, but local news outlets reported that the women will remain suspended, according to the BBC. However, the hosts won't see their pay and benefits docked for the period of time they'll be off the air. Khadija Khattab, a host on Egypt's Channel 2 and one of the women suspended, told a local newspaper that the audience itself should judge if she is really "fat" based on her recent TV appearances, and if she "deserves to be prevented from working," the BBC reported.