When women tried to join the bench on Egypt’s top administrative court, the uproar from its judges was fierce. Women are too emotional, they insisted — and who will take care of the family if the mother is busy with the arduous tasks of the courtroom?

In Internet chat rooms, the response from Egyptian men and women was even stronger. Women are too fragile, they’re not up for making life-changing rulings, and menstruation and pregnancy make them unfit to be judges.