On Wednesday, Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat revealed that the Egyptian government has taken a leap forward by adopting policies and reforms concerning gender equality and promoting equal opportunities.
This remark came during the Minister of International Cooperation’s speech at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which was held at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization that lit up in orange, which is the color that symbolizes “a world free of violence against women and girls.”
The event was attended by Dr. Sima Bahous, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Christine Arab, County Representative of UN Women in Egypt, Dr. Magued Osman, CEO and Director of the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research “Baseera”, Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union delegation to Egypt, Ambassador of Netherlands to Egypt, Han-Maurits Schaapveld, and Ms. Elena Panova, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations.
In her speech, the minister said that Egypt has devised a strategy to empower women politically, economically, and socially, recognizing that comprehensive development cannot be achieved without the participation of women.
Celebrating the launch of the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030 in 2017, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared 2017 as “the Year of Women,” which is implemented by the National Council for Women. The strategy focuses on 4 pillars: political, economic and social empowerment and protection from all forms of violence.
In this regard, Al-Mashat noted that around 24% of government workers are women, and last year, constitutional amendments were made that stipulated that a quarter of the seats in the House of Representatives be allocated to women. There are currently 89 female deputies, representing 15% of the seats in the Parliament, which is the highest percentage of women ever in the Egyptian parliament.
During the awful pandemic, Egypt becomes the first country to issue a policy paper titled “Egypt’s rapid response to women’s situation during the outbreak” and a Women Policy Tracker on responsive policies and programs developed to monitor all issued policies and measures, document them and support complementing those policies with solid programs and initiatives.
Al-Mashat added, “it is of paramount importance that women’s contribution to adaptation to climate change is acknowledged and enhanced.”
In the same connection, the minister noted that increasing women’s participation in the labor market in Egypt on an equal footing with men raises Egypt’s GDP by 34%.
Egypt is the first country in Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa to launch the ‘Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator’ in partnership with the National Council for Women and the World Economic Forum, which is a public-private collaboration model that aims to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future, and highlights the need for collaborative action across different scales – not just institutional structures and policies but also norms, attitudes and through individual business commitments.
The minister of International Cooperation reviewed the strategic framework of the partnership between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United Nations for the period from 2018-2022, and the roadmap for the next phase of cooperation for the period from 2023-2027.
In her recorded speech, Dr. Maya Morsi, President of the National Council for Women, said that the 16-day campaign is a global campaign aimed at spreading awareness of the issue to prevent and combat all forms of violence against women everywhere.
She added that it is one of the priorities of the National Council for Women, and called on all Egyptian girls and women to take advantage of “the golden age” that Egyptian women are experiencing now to demand their rights, referring to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s support for women and their rights.
Christine Arab, Country Representative of UN Women in Egypt, said that the color orange is the color of hope for a future free of gender-based violence, adding, “I am very proud of the Egyptian government’s commitment to end violence against women.”
Dr. Magued Osman, CEO and Director of the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research “Baseera”, said commended all relevant development partners who contribute to the government’s national efforts to end violence against women.
Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt, said that the European Union is working closely with the United Nations to plan large-scale initiatives to end gender-based violence through the ‘Spotlight’ initiative.
On her part, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Elena Panova said that we need long-term, evidence-based, and social behavior change initiatives, noting that the Spotlight Initiative between the European Union and the United Nations aims to reverse the course of gender-based violence through serious solutions.
It’s noteworthy to mention that the Ministry of International Cooperation’s portfolio includes 34 projects aimed at promoting equal opportunities for women worth $3.3 billion across several sectors, including 20% in the health sector, 15% in education, 9% in the agriculture sector, 6% in irrigation and governance sector, and 3% in each of the sectors of trade, investment, social protection, transportation, and water and sanitation.