Saturday, March 7, 2020
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Forum of Development and Human Rights Dialogue (FDHRD) issued today, Sunday, a report on Egyptian women on the way to political and economic empowerment. FDHRD sends the report as gift to the president of the National Council for Women, Dr. Maya Morsi, in appreciation of her important role and her continuous effort to improve the conditions of Egyptian women over the past years.
The report confirmed that Egypt has witnessed remarkable positive progress in the field of supporting and empowering women, thanks to the presence of a supportive political will to support women’s issues and the translation of those rights into laws, strategies and executive programs that appeared in the Women’s Empowerment Strategy 2030, which was prepared by the National Council for Women, and implemented by entities governmental and non-governmental
The strategy aims to increase the percentage of females in public positions to 17% in 2030, prevent discrimination against women in assuming leadership positions in executive and judicial institutions, and prepare women to succeed in these positions.
It also aims to empower women economically and develop women’s capabilities to expand their work options, in addition to empowering them socially, preventing practices that perpetuate discrimination against women or that harm them, whether in the public sphere or within the family, and eliminating negative phenomena that threaten women’s lives, safety and dignity like sexual violence.
The report monitored a number of challenges facing Egyptian women, such as the stereotyping of their role in society, the control of customs and traditions over the perception of women, the participation of the media and dramas in consolidating the image of weak women, and deprivation of education is still one of the most serious challenges facing women with deprivation of inheritance. In addition, Underage marriage, which affects the health of girls, psychologically and socially, pointing to the seriousness of the statistics of the civil status sector, which indicate the seizure of the issue of underage marriage with fake contracts every two and a quarter days, i.e. an average of 12 cases per month, bringing the annual rate between “144- 200” annual cases, and the percentage of cases proving marriage in the courts for underage mothers in 2017-2018 reached about 16 thousand cases, and the presence of 14 thousand cases to prove the lineage of children whose fate is unknown.
The report pointed out the continuing danger of female circumcision, and the warnings of the UNICEF, which announced in a report last year that Egypt occupies the fourth place in the world and third in the Arab countries with a rate of 91%, where Somalia occupies the forefront of the world and countries. Arab countries in the prevalence of female circumcision, with an indicator returning to 91% in 2017, despite the Egyptian government’s adoption of punitive legislation since 2008 for those who perform female circumcision.
Egyptian women also suffer from the phenomenon of sexual harassment. According to a study prepared by the United Nations Women in 2013, about 99% of women in Egypt have experienced some form of harassment.
The report monitored the economic challenges facing women, as figures from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics reveal that the unemployment rate for women has reached more than four times the rate among men, and as a result of the lack of most economic sectors in the private sector to employ women under the pretext of high absenteeism rates Working women as a result of their social duties, and the inevitable result of this was that the percentage of women working in the informal sector reached 46.7%, meaning that a very large percentage of women work without any legal protection.
The report referred to a number of achievements that women have achieved in recent years:
- Appointment of Ambassador Fayza Abul-Naga, as the first woman in the position of advisor to the president for national security affairs.
- The appointment of the engineer, Nadia Abdo, the governor of Behera governate, who is considered the first female governor throughout history.
- Women obtained 6 important ministerial portfolios, representing 20% of the total number of ministers, including (Ghada Wali, Minister of Social Solidarity/ Nabila Makram, Minister of Immigration/ Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation/ Hala Al-Saeed, Minister of Planning/ Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of Tourism/ Enas Abdel Dayem, Minister of Culture.)
- Lubna Hilal assumed the position of the first deputy governor of the Central Bank.
- Appointment of 4 female deputies to the governors.
- The number of female judges increased to one, and 6 women were appointed as vice-chairpersons of the State Cases Authority for the first time in Egypt, in addition to the appointment of 6 female Sharia officials in the governorates of Aswan, Sharkia, Ismailia, Minya, and Port Said. Women succeeded in reaching 90 seats in Parliament In 2016, the proportion of women increased to 15%.
- President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was keen to pay attention to women breadwinners, by financing micro-projects for women, and the number of beneficiaries of the financing reached 1,680,000 so far.
- Building social housing units for divorced women and widows.
- With regard to laws, laws have been passed to protect women, such as increasing the penalty for female genital mutilation, sexual harassment and rape, and criminalizing deprivation of inheritance, in addition to the amendments currently under way regarding a draft personal status law, a draft law to protect women from violence, and a draft law Combating child marriage.
- The proportion of university students represents 57% of females, and faculty members in universities represent 50% of women, and the unemployment rate among females reached 23% in the past years and for the first time reached 19.6% during 2019, and also reached the percentage of female employment in the administrative body is 44%.
- In some governorates, the percentage of employees in the governorate apparatus exceeds 50%.
- The percentage of women benefiting from banking and financial services reached 15%, compared to 9% in 2015, and the percentage of small projects directed at women reached 64%, while the rate of women’s failure to pay does not exceed 1%.
- 2 million women benefited from the “Takaful and Karama Program”
- The percentage of women in the House of Representatives increased to 15% after it was 2% in previous periods, while women’s holding of ministerial portfolios reached 25% instead of 6%.
The report concluded with a number of recommendations to address the challenges facing women’s empowerment in Egypt:
- The necessity of educating heads of families and girls about the dangers of being deprived of education.
- Conducting periodic field follow-ups through social affairs offices and directorates in the poorest and least aware villages and communities, following up on the health and educational status of girls in all their families, identifying their problems, identifying their causes and helping them solve them.
- Establishing schools in their different stages in each village.
- Legislation of laws to criminalize depriving girls of education.
- The necessity of organizing religious seminars for both men and women to educate them, raise awareness and introduce them to the law of God Almighty, especially with regard to the provisions of inheritance distribution.
- Increasing campaigns and seminars to educate girls about the dangers of early marriage and Arab tourist marriage.
- Tightening and facilitating criminal penalties for everything related to the marriage of minors.
- Conducting periodic studies by the Ministry of Social Affairs and its directorates to identify hotbeds and places where there are frequent violations of women’s rights and violence against them.
- Launching extensive campaigns on social media and websites to confront the phenomena of violence in society in all its forms.
- Shouldering of Institutions, departments, ministries and organizations to play an integrated awareness role that warns of the harms and dangers of these phenomena, limits them and confronts the reasons for their existence.
Enact tougher penalties to deter sexual harassers.