In March, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) celebrated with Egypt the ingenuity, courage, and determination of Egyptian women and the extraordinary role they play in their families and communities across Egypt.
March is an important month for women in Egypt because not only does it include International Women’s Day, but also the Day of the Egyptian Women, and the 61st global session of the commission on the status of women, which was concluded in President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s pronunciation of 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian Women.”
The UNDP also emphasised its commitment to supporting women empowerment in Egypt.
According to the UNDP, “the Egyptian government continues its commitment and actions to achieve equality between women and men and to promote women’s social, economic, cultural, and political empowerment through targeted actions, policies, programmes, and legislations.”
In his declaration of 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian Women,” Al-Sisi stressed women’s central role for the future of Egypt, the need to safeguard their constitutional rights and for them to be at the forefront, and the steps to expedite their empowerment.
The UNDP wrote in a press release that the United Nations (UN) commends the launch of Egypt’s Women’s Strategy 2030 under the leadership of the National Council for Women—a pioneer strategy for women’s empowerment—and welcomes the presidential directions to Egypt’s government to regard the Egyptian Women’s Strategy 2030 as the reference document that guides the upcoming work on the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
“In line with the 2014 constitution and the “Egypt Vision 2030: Sustainable Development Strategy”, the Egyptian Women’s Strategy 2030 is devised to enact women’s constitutional rights that foster principles of equality and non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and protection,” said the UNDP in a press release.
This confirms the government’s recognition that social justice and inclusive growth will only be realised when women are enabled to benefit and contribute as equal citizens to Egypt’s sustainable development.
In line with these positive developments, the resident coordinator of the UN in Egypt, Richard Dictus, said in a UNDP press release, “the UN in Egypt reiterates its commitment to supporting the government of Egypt and its partners in their efforts towards local development solutions to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
International organisations and local institutions have called for women empowerment of different kinds, especially economically, in most of their statements and plans.
The general manager of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Egypt, Hassan Benham, said at a speech at “The Points of Views on Francophone Women Around the World” held at Alexandria Library in March, on behalf of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) director, Christine Lagarde, that the female labour force participation rate in Egypt stands at 35%.
Benham also called for increasing the female labour rate, offering Egyptian women equal opportunities and increasing funds for women entrepreneurs and women in leadership positions.
The same objectives were stressed by Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr at the opening speech of the Business Women of Egypt 21’s third annual “Women for Success—Leveraging Women Network to Excel” conference that took place at the premises of the Arab League in February.
Nasr added that a “special office” will be launched at the Ministry of Investment to facilitate work for Egyptian and Arab businesswomen who aim to invest in projects in Egypt.
Women integration in the economy is very crucial for economic growth and development, especially in developing countries, like Egypt.
This is evident given the fact that increasing women economic integration and empowering women were set as the main goals in the millennium development goals (MDGs), which was also confirmed in the course of the sustainable development goals.
Female labour force participation (FLFP) is considered a major route for women integration in the economy.
FLFP is significant for Egypt’s economic efficiency through improving women’s relative economic roles.