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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Egypt's First Lady's speech at ICESCO celebration


Thu 11 Mar 2021 | 11:58 PM
Nawal Sayed

Egypt’s First Lady Entissar El Sisi gave a speech Thursday during the celebration of the Islamic World Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (ICESCO) highlighting the efforts to empower women in the country over the past years.

“Cairo was able to achieve an unprecedented breakthrough in empowering women, gender equality in recent years thanks to political will,” she said in her speech.

Sisi added, “Egypt has launched a national strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, in line with its Sustainable Development Goals.”

Here is the full speech:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Dr. Salim bin Mohammed Al-Malik, Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO),

Your Excellencies,

Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distinguished Guests,

May the Peace, and Blessings of Allah be Upon You,

It gives me great pleasure to share with you today this important occasion in which the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is declaring 2021 as the “Year of Women” under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Our celebration of this important occasion today marks the culmination of women’s effective and active contributions over the past decades in our countries to all fields, namely the social, political, cultural and economic ones, and their participation in building the Islamic civilization since its very first days.

Our country has already managed to make remarkable progress in recent years toward achieving gender equality and empowering women; however, we still have to face many challenges that prevent the full empowerment of women in our society in line with our real values, ideals and international obligations. Thus, this would contribute to achieving sustainable development, especially that there are many women and girls who are still suffering from exclusion, marginalization and violence in different regions around the world.

Distinguished Guests,

Egypt has managed to achieve an unprecedented breakthrough in the field of women empowerment and support and gender equality during the last years, thanks to the political will supporting women’s issues. The 2014 Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt includes more than 20 articles guaranteeing women’s rights in all areas of life.

Moreover, the President of the Republic declared 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian Women”, a historical precedent reflecting Egyptian women’s status in their societies. Egypt has also launched the “National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030” in conformity with the sustainable development goals. It is a strategy adopted by the President of the Republic in 2017, who made it serve as a road map for the Egyptian government to implement all programs and activities related to women’s empowerment at the political, economic and social levels.

On the political level, the President of the Republic provided the main support to women whose representation in the Egyptian Parliament, in its two chambers, has increased up to 27% and in the Council of Ministers increased up to 25%. Furthermore, Egyptian women have been taking leadership positions. They assumed leading positions in different state institutions: National Security Adviser, governors, deputy-governors, and judges, among others.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In terms of equitable legislation for women, Egypt has approved a package of laws and legislative amendments that guarantee Egyptian women protection, equality, and equal opportunities. In this respect, various laws have been amended, including the criminalization of depriving women of their inheritance, toughening penalties for female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual harassment, regulating the work of the National Council for Women (NCW), defining and criminalizing bullying, and amending the provisions of the Guardianship of Property Act.

To combat violence against women in all its forms, the Council of Ministers has approved “the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women” and the first National Committee for the Eradication of FGM in Egypt has been established.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the context of dealing with the repercussions of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, Egypt was the first to issue a policy paper on responding to the special needs of women in the course of dealing with the pandemic; Egypt launched a mechanism to monitor and follow up the implementation of these policies in March 2020. Moreover, Egypt was ranked first in the report of UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the measures taken by the world’s countries to support women during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have been committed to establishing a specialized organization within the OIC, which is not only concerned with strengthening and developing women’s role in the Member States of the OIC but also with building the necessary capabilities, skills, and competencies through various mechanisms including training, teaching, qualification to be in line with the Islamic principles and values. Hence, the system of specialized Islamic agencies would be completed. In 2010, the statute of the “Women’s Development Organization”, which Egypt has the honor to host its headquarters, was approved.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I can only reiterate what President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi indicated at the 14th session of the Islamic Summit Conference in June 2019 of the great importance that Egypt accords to social and cultural issues, especially empowering and strengthening women’s role. This is in addition to His Excellency’s announcement that Egypt will chair the Ministerial Conference on Women during 2021. This embodies Egypt’s commitment to work hand in hand with brotherly Islamic countries in serving women's issues, advancing their role, ensuring their empowerment and achieving gender equality in the Islamic world.

Egypt will remain fully prepared to cooperate with the ICESCO in order to make the joint Islamic action in this important field a success.

Thank you. May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you.