Women – Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 28 Feb 2020 11:59:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 It’s time for Egypt to play leadership role in shaping MENA region: WEF’s Harbin Aurora https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/21/its-time-for-egypt-to-play-leadership-role-in-shaping-mena-region-wefs-harbin-aurora/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 14:10:26 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722704 WEF to be held for first time in Egypt, Middle East

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Cairo will host the Women Economic Forum (WEF) for the first time on 4-5 March under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.

This event is expected to bring together over 1,000 women leaders from Egypt and around the world to tackle issues of employment, international trade, women in technology, finance, and much more.
Over the past 25 years, the annual event gathered 100,000 inspiring women from across 150 countries.

On this occasion, Daily News Egypt interviewed WEF President Harbin Aurora to learn more about the upcoming event and its role in tackling different women issues such as economic empowerment.

From where did the idea of the forum originate?

In general, I realised that females in India after finishing the university and getting economically engaged and employed, they didn’t have support structures, which could support them in their career. Therefore, a support system was required.

There are a lot of women entering education now, while when it comes ultimately to the career growth, you see a lot of women drop out from the workforce for various reasons. So, we needed to create a support system to provide energy, inspiration, enthusiasm, practical tips, techniques, and tools in order to know how to manage between work and home. In addition, such system will work on making the society more aware of the importance of supporting the woman in her economic journey and how this will impact positively the entire family.

This is the reason why I started the All Ladies League through networking with different women from different countries. So, we had to create an international platform, which is the Women Economic Forum where women come to exchange ideas and build their businesses.

What is new in this edition, and why did you choose Egypt?

I think what is so special this year is the fact that we are holding the forum which we normally hold in India for six days in Egypt. The event will move for the very first time outside India. During these six days, about 500 sessions and different workshops will be held, in addition to sharing stories of successful women identifying how they started, what challenges they faced, how they overcame them, etc.

The event will have some changes this year as we’re doing it in Egypt for the first time. It has been restructured and the format has changed. We will hold sessions inside hotel for two days, while the other four days will see tours in several touristic destinations in Egypt with the aim of bonding the participants.

For the second question, I think Egypt has chosen me. I had invited President Al-Sisi to be the chief guest of the WEF in India. He sent me a wonderful letter congratulating us on the event, saying he could not come but will send the National Council for Women’s President Maya Morsi. Then, Morsi invited me to the World Youth Forum in Egypt, where I met Al-Sisi and this is when we announced we will bring the next WEF to Egypt. I think it was like a cycle. I feel like Egypt chose me to bring in the forum. So even I am amazed by how I’m here, but every time I look back, I see a divine hand guiding me to Egypt.

How could this forum empower women economically?

First of all, it is creating a safe, supportive space for women to speak freely. Second, it is an endeavour to make entrepreneurship of women visible to the world, but most of all, to women themselves.

It’s also getting validation from the world that it’s making something worthy enough because we also honour women; we have a set of awards in different categories from leaders to women who have achieved a lot in business.

At every stage of a woman’s life, we give her the push of encouragement and a support system that says you’re not alone and you’re never going to be alone.

We also bring a direct financial impact. This is a place women come to for finding opportunities for growth whatever vision they have, whatever business they do.

In your opinion, what are the promising sectors for women?

I think health is considered one of the sectors that women love to enter, in addition to the sustainable energy because women feel very strongly about environment and climate.

Also, a lot of women enter the education sector, as they are very passionate about teaching and learning. Then, of course, fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and glamour. In all those areas, you see a lot of women coming into businesses. There are actually lots of examples everywhere.

Women are getting into coding. The digital ecosystem today is offering a great opportunity to people to just get out there. You need to be wherever you are, you can be on a platform and connected to the whole world, whether you’re using it for business or for education, it’s up to you. But women are missing from this ecosystem, so this is a new space.

I think just offering skills like encoding and getting women in STEM on board. That is one of the areas I think we should definitely focus on even if women are not interested right now because of traditional gender perspectives that machines are for men and dolls are for girls.

We need more awareness and campaigning in the area of technology. We do see more women in health, sustainable energy, sustainable development, education, training, coaching, but we need more leadership and will, as we said, to attract women into the science and technology fields.

How can you evaluate the women economic empowerment in Egypt?

Egypt has so much potential, but I think it needs more showcasing of its potential to the international community, which is what we are hoping we are starting with.

I think Egypt has a lot of talented, strong women that the government is recognising. Egypt has political leadership that is willing to recognise and bring it out. I think the world needs to see that. Egypt needs to get integrated with the rest of the world. That is what we are here for.

India and Egypt are old friends and we are very happy to walk this journey that will empower both Egyptian and Indian women. I think it’s a very important friendship between India and Egypt. As I get integrated into the world, I would love my sisters in Egypt to also get integrated into the economic international marketplace and we are getting as I said, women from so many countries. This is an opportunity for Egypt to show up what it does for women and the best way to show it is to have all the women of Egypt out there participating in the event.

What challenges do women face in Egypt?

The challenges women face in Egypt are not very different than other countries. On the country, I think a lot of young entrepreneurs are girls, and the marketplace is getting better chance.

It’s more or less women all over the world are singing the same song that the variances are cultural, religious, and economic barriers only. But the challenges more or less aligned certain criteria and the biggest criteria of all is again, oh, she’s a woman. This is a negative perception that is portrayed by media and sometimes by the women themselves.

I think what this event is bringing to Egypt is a bigger network, bigger exposure, and bigger opportunity to be inspired. And to feel that this is happening here too.

What are the opportunities for women empowerment in Egypt and MENA?

Egypt’s location in the MENA region is an opportunity itself. I think now is the time for Egypt and its people, including the women hand in hand shoulder to shoulder with the men, with the government and professional people together to really play a leadership role in shaping the MENA region, benefiting from strong leadership and stability that it now has.

If you go around, it’s not a homogeneous sort of an area, the MENA, there’s a lot happening politically, and culturally. So, I think Egypt has the opportunity to shape the region because it got everything falling into place now, to really take this next leap into becoming a leader in the region and being known for very positive attributes of development. For example, women empowerment, Egypt has been already doing so much on women’s health, and in the financing for rural women.

I think Egypt is doing a lot in the region frankly, for women; it has the political will, a lot of women leaders. The state can be mentors and motivators to women and young people in the whole region, bringing entrepreneurship, empowerment, economy, society, all together into one matrix of development and progress. Also, Egypt can influence positively legislation and policies in another country, by its example.

I need to congratulate your government for having the vision. Not many governments in the world, including in the developed world, are walking the talk. They are talking but they are not walking the talk. It’s very good that you’re walking the talk. So, congratulations.

Do you think that in order to fully empower women in Egypt we need to have a social desire to change the mindset of the people or we need to have political directions from the leadership?

I think we need both. It has to be a combination of both. It is a coming together of aspiration, of education and of enlightenment, and the role of a leader is as important as the role of society and the role of society, in wanting to change is absolutely critical for the vision of the leader, also the vision of a society in order to come together and do hand in hand is very crucial.

You can start wherever, but ultimately you need the other side, you can have a very strong leader but if the people are not energised, they are not enthused, they’re not awakened, the leader is stuck. The ball is not going to move. Moreover, if the people want to do a lot, but they don’t have the right leader like what is happening in a lot of countries, people will not be able to achieve a lot as the government has no vision.

Finally, what is your ambition?

My ultimate ambition is to see every woman become a connected businessperson.

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Women represent only 21% of MENA’s labour force: Al-Mashat https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/19/women-represent-only-21-of-menas-labour-force-al-mashat/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 22:29:54 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722473 CBE launches several initiatives to boost financial inclusion

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Women represent only 21% of the labour force in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said during her participation in the second edition of Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020 (GWFD), organised by Dubai Women Establishment, from 17 to 18 February.

There are huge opportunities in MENA for boosting women contribution to the region’s economies specially through entrepreneurship sector, Al-Mashat added over a plenary discussion entitled “Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the MENA Region: New Solutions to Overcoming Barriers”. She noted that women contribute to MENA’s GDP growth with 18%, which is still modest.

Some 7.6% of MENA’s women are entrepreneurs, in comparison with 11.8% from region’s men, Al-Mashat stated, adding that studies by the International Monetary Fund showed that increasing the role of women in MENA’s economies will positively impact the region.

Al-Mashat called on the MENA region to achieve financial inclusion, boost investments of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), establish strong public-private partnerships, and pave the way to providing a suitable environment for women empowerment.

Moreover, the Central Bank of Egypt launched a number of initiatives to boost financial inclusion in the country in line with the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, Al-Mashat added.

Other panellists in the event included General Manager of Bank al Etihad Nadia Al Saeed; President of Global Public Affairs at United Parcel Service Laura Lane, Vice President of Global Sustainability & Packaging Innovation at McCormick & Company Michael Okoroafor, and Managing Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Heike Harmgart.

GWFD was organised under the patronage of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It witnessed the participation of hundreds of representatives from 87 countries.

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New FGM victim sheds light on backlash, raising question on why it is still there https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/08/new-fgm-victim-sheds-light-on-backlash-raising-question-on-why-it-is-still-there/ Sat, 08 Feb 2020 13:36:35 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=721491 “The doctor tried to save her, but she passed away,” the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement issued last Thursday. The statement vowed a “firm response” against anyone carrying out the procedure. The girl’s father and doctor have since been detained.

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Days ago, news spread of a 14 years old girl who died due to complications she suffered after a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) operation in Assuit Governorate.

Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud was taken by her parents, uncle, and aunt to a private clinic in Manfalout, Assiut, for an FGM procedure which resulted in her death.

“The doctor tried to save her, but she passed away,” the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement issued last Thursday. The statement vowed a “firm response” against anyone carrying out the procedure. The girl’s father and doctor have since been detained.

In response, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) and the National Council for Women (NCW) urged authorities to prosecute those responsible for the crime.

The girl’s story sheds new light on this phenomenon, which has been around for decades, revealing the disappointing fact that despite the efforts of both international and non-governmental organisations, governments, religious institutions, and civil society groups to end up this crime, it still persists in our society. Despite all the awareness campaigns -both religious and scientific and increased penalties, FGM is still a topic for controversy.

This fact is very hard to swallow, especially as the National Council of Women (NCW) has been adapting FGM strategies since 2016. This accident proves that the strategy failed to stop this horrid and dangerous phenomenon, however it did succeeded in reducing its rates.

So, because of the continued violence, the question must be raised, why is this practice still a cultural phenomenon, and what is the government doing to stop it? However, before answering these questions, we must first know where Egypt stands when it comes to number of FGM cases, and where the idea of FGM originated. In addition, what is the legal and religious framework in countering such a crime.

FGM is considered one of the most violent practices against women`s rights that deprive them of a healthy physical and psychological wellbeing, and furthermore a social upbringing that expounds the value of freedom, integrity, and protection from all harms and violations. At the same time, this violent practice also violates the rights of men and family to a stable and satisfactory marital life.

From where the idea of FGM originated?

As a society, we have always been asking ourselves where FGM originated from.

Regarding the explanation for the roots of FGM, the most historically accepted assumption is that it is a primary practice that is culturally African, not religious. FGM was introduced to Egypt through commercial and historical relations with other regions practicing it, according to the NCW’s data.

This is evidenced by a map showing the spread of FGM world. This map shows that this practice is still highly prevalent in African countries.

“There are nearly 28 countries, mostly located in the centre of Africa, still practicing FGM today, these countries do not belong to one religion, while some others practice traditional African rituals, which indicates that the origin of such a practice is Africa,” according to the NCW.

FGM also spreads to the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, as a result of the permanent migration from African and some Arab countries to those countries. Consequently, FGM now spreads among migrants and their families.

Numbers of FGM in Egypt

More than 200 million girls and women have been affected by FGM globally, and with an FGM prevalence of 87.2% in a population of nearly 95m, Egypt has the greatest number of women and girls who have experienced FGM of any country in the world. Since 2008, there has been a significant shift in Egypt away from traditional practitioners and toward health professionals performing FGM, according to the anti-FGM organisation 28 Too Many.

“The overall rate of FGM in Egypt for ever-married women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years) is 92%, while it falls to 61% among young girls in the age group of 15-17 years, according to the findings of the 2014 Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS).

It is noted that more than 75% of FGM is performed on girls aged 9-12 years, 14% on girls younger than 7, and 3% on girls aged 13-20. This suggests that the majority of Egyptian families circumcise their daughters before the age of puberty, meaning the average age of FGM cases is 10-11 years, according to the NCW`s data.

“However, there is a significant increase in the percentage of girls being circumcised by healthcare providers, reaching 65% among girls aged 13-17 years old, compared to 31% among married women between the ages of 15-49 years-old,” according to the National Population Council in its latest report.

Legal framework

Based on the FGM Criminalisation Law, Article 242-bis of the penal code, without prejudice to any greater penalty prescribed by another law, the people involved shall be punished by imprisonment for no less than three months, and not exceeding two years, or a fine of not less than EGP1,000 and not exceeding EGP5,000.

In accordance with Egypts commitment towards international conventions on the protection of human rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW), and a convention on the rights of the child, Egypt signed on the UN resolution of intensifying global efforts for the elimination of FGM adopted by the UN general assembly in December 2012. After that, the NCW launched a strategy to confirm the national and international commitment of Egypt to end FGM.

The National strategy mainly aims to reduce the spread of FGM among the future generations through the implementation of laws and ministerial decrees for preventing FGM and punishing practitioners, supporting the government policies aimed at disseminating documented scientific, religious, and legal information, and facts helping to eliminate the violent culture of FGM. The strategy also includes developing a system for monitoring and evaluating FGM’s prevalence rates at the national level, and finally promoting a socio-cultural environment encouraging Egyptian families to denounce FGM.

Religious Framework for FGM

Some think that the reasons of FGM are related to religion. Actually, there is no origin for FGM in the holy books of all the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism).

In November 2006, Islamic scholars from across the Muslim world met at the prominent Islamic Al-Azhar University in Egypt to discuss FGM. They came up with a ban on the practice.

Moreover, the House of Fatwa said on 30 May 2018 FGM was religiously forbidden, adding that banning FGM should be a religious duty due to its harmful effects on the body.

Why people still prefer FGM?

Despite all efforts to end this backlash and all its legal and religious frameworks, people still prefer to circumcise their daughters. Maybe the numbers indicated a slight improvement in the rates of FGM, but a large population of women still must suffer through FGM.

So, Daily News Egypt dug further into the reasons why parents still prefer to conduct FGM.

Nehad Abu Al-Qomsan, head of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights (ECWR), told Daily News Egypt that there are two main reasons behind practicing FGM in Egypt.

“The first one is the presence of two parallel Islamic thinking or concepts in Egypt; the concept of the state represented in the Ministry of Endowment, Al-Azhar, and the House of Fatwa, while the other one is the concept the Salafists and Islamic groups, who are still seeing FGM as part of religion,” she explained.

In terms of the second reason for still having FGM in Egypt, she said it is the inaction of the law, explaining that many sentences are issued against doctors who practiced such crimes.

“FGM is a tradition, partly entrenched in societal concepts. Parents think that through FGM they are protecting their daughters from misbehaviour,” Director of the Population Council in Egypt Nahla Abdel Tawab, told Daily News Egypt.

She explained that some parents believe that if they do not conduct FGM for their daughter, she will indulge in inappropriate behaviour, which will negatively impact the entire family’s reputation and honour.

Abdel Tawab said that parents who conduct FGM for their daughters always believe that the girl is not enough rational and needs to be protected, so all the reasons mainly due to societal concepts.

Abdel Tawab stated that there is a slight improvement in the numbers of FGM in Egypt but it will take time to see an end to this phenomenon, pointing out that in 2014, all governmental efforts went back to square one as the Muslim Brotherhood promoted FGM.

She explained further that during the era of the Muslim Brotherhood, some voices were promoting FGM, calling for the abolition of FGM criminalisation law in the Egyptian parliament in 2012.

Notably, at that time, some political parties belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood encouraged people in villages to practice FGM and facilitated the means to perform it, which lead to a rise in civil, media, and institutional resistance against this backlash.

What procedures should be taken?

So, the question now is, what does the government have to do in order to end this disaster?

Answering this question, Head of the ECWR told Daily News Egypt that everyone has a role to do to end this bad practice.

“For this, the Medical Syndicate has a role in taking action against doctors who have done an FGM operation, and to convict them publicly through a press statement, to make every doctor aware about the punishment that they will face if doing this awful practice,” she said.

Besides, there must be a clear systematic policy in hospitals to raise awareness and confront this deadly crime.

She said the Ministry of Health must refer any doctor who is found to have committed this crime for investigation. Circumcision is a crime that is not subject to a statute of limitations but can be reported on the date of knowledge.

Concerning the Ministry of Higher Education, a curriculum must be generalised in medical and nursing colleges that educates and warns doctors and nurses of this crime and that earning money from mutilating a child’s body is one of the worst crimes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has to make girls and boys learn in science classes that their body is inviolable and is not permissible to harm; that any person committing violence on their body in any way must be reported, even if it is their father or mother.

Abdel Tawab stressed the need for consolidated and sustained efforts to work towards eradicating FGM.

“It is not only about awareness, but to educate girls, to have more employment for girls, we also need to use media that promote gender equality in order to end this irrational norm towards girls, as inferior to boys,” Abdel Tawab said.

Finally, DNE found that there is no origin for FGM in the holy books of all the Abrahamic religions (Islam, Christianity, and Judaism), the debate among its supporters and opponents has not ended, over time, FGM has acquired religious legitimacy deriving its real weight from the fact that its practitioners believe that it is their religious obligation, and moral imperative, to be adhered to. It is the fight of everyone in Egypt and around the world to stand against this violent practice.

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Davos 2020: economic gender gap globally to close in after 257 years: WEF https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/31/davos-2020-economic-gender-gap-globally-to-close-in-after-257-years-wef/ Fri, 31 Jan 2020 19:58:19 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720751 It pointed out that only 24.7% of women are in the labour force, and about 20% of them are on a part-time contract.

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World Economic Forum (WEF) believes In terms of economic participation, economicthe gender gap will take 257 years to close at the current slow rate of progress, according to its annual report. Last year, the WEF said it was estimated that it would be 202 years until full parity was achieved compared to 202 years in 2019, according to the annual report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The report showed out that, despite the gap has closednarrowing in recent years, progress is slowinghas slowed. Last year, it was estimated that it would take be 202 years until full parity was is achieved, and but now this year the WEF added new another 505 years were added..

The report said that globally, only 55% of women (aged 15-64) are engaged in with the labour market as opposed to 78% of men.

““There are 72 countries where women are barred from opening bank accounts or obtaining credit,” reported according to the WEF.

It came during the WEF annual meeting in Swiss Davos. The meeting is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year. The theme of the 2020 meeting was Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

It also revealed that there is no country where men spend the same amount of time on unpaid work as women. In countries where this the ratio is the lowest, it is still 2:1.

Looking to the future, the report found out that the women’s under-representation in emerging roles is the greatest challenge preventing the economic gender gap from closing, revealing that in cloud computing, just 12% of professionals are women. Similarly, in engineering and data  and AI engineering, the numbers are 15% and 26% respectively.

” Workforce strategies must ensure that women are better equipped (in terms of improved skills or reskilling) to deal with the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Diverse hiring is another area for improvement (reflecting the current situation that sees gender parity in an in-demand skillset but not equal representation), along with creating inclusive work cultures,” the report suggested.

In terms of the economic opportunities in Egypt,  the WEF stated notes that the country  Egypt has a long way to go and as it now ranks 140th globally, compared down from to 108th in 2006.

It pointed out that only 24.7% of women are in the labour force, and about 20% of them are on a part-time contract.

Furthermore, the report declared that very few women are in a managerial rolepositions, representing only 7.1%. Their presence as among firms’ owners and top managers at firms is also extremely limited, representing only 2.4% and 4.9%, respectively.

“These facts reflect the barriers that still prevent women’s access to finance and assets. By law, there are still significant limitations for women, at least for some social groups to own land, capital, and financial products,” the report explained.

As a result, differences in income, which include wage and non-wage revenues between men and women, are large.

The report uncovered that it is estimated that the average income of an Egyptian man is about 3.8 times that of the average income of an Egyptian woman.

The report put acrossstated that removing all barriers that grant equal access to women and men to internships should be a first step to leveraging the untapped human talent of women in the country.

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Women fear Coronavirus for different reasons than men https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/31/women-fear-coronavirus-for-different-reasons-than-men/ Fri, 31 Jan 2020 19:54:33 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720748 Market researchers have proven time and time again that women shop more than men, especially online shopping

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Over the past two weeks, the Coronavirus outbreak caused a state of terror in the world, especially in Europe. The China Association of Travel Services announced that all tours will be suspended starting Monday. Meanwhile, domestic groups and packaged tours were stopped last Friday. Definitely everyone would be concerned about this threat, but some people have different reasons to worry than others.

Market researchers have proven time and time again that women shop more than men, especially online shopping. After the spread of Coronavirus, some people started to fear of buying online, and others rushed to doctors and social media pages to ask about the dangers of online shopping as many products come from China. For women, their biggest concern was Chinese cosmetics being popular for their low prices.

Daily News Egypt looked into the issue and met an immunologist to know if these concerns are serious. Dr Hana Ahmed explains that since the virus is brand new, it’s been confirmed if touching an object, such as Chinese made products, after an infected person, will expose people to infection. However, as a precaution, Ahmed suggests that women should clean any product they buy online with an alcohol based cleaner.

She also advised women to stop buying makeup products online for now until there is more information about the virus, noting that if this is to become an epidemic, it would be smarter to be caution and take no risks.

She listed some prevention strategies until we know more about the virus: limit human interaction like social kissing, wash hands properly every hour, and avoid direct contact with sick people and animals.

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MCIT, CEF, Microsoft launch woman empowerment campaign https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/31/mcit-cef-microsoft-launch-woman-empowerment-campaign/ Fri, 31 Jan 2020 19:50:24 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720746 5,000 women to be trained through campaign

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Days ago, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has announced a partnership with Care Egypt Foundation (CEF) and Microsoft to launch a Women Empowerment Campaign.” The initiative will contribute to social, economic, and human capital development in Egypt by equipping the upcoming and existing female workforce with future-ready skills.

As part of the Qodwa Tech initiative of MCIT’s Central Department for Community Development to empower women in Egypt, the campaign will see collaboration between MCIT, CEF, and Microsoft with a focus on capacity building for women in tech. The initiative strives to encourage female entrepreneurship as well as enable them to work throughout the country’s public and private sectors, including heritage handicrafts. It is also aimed at raising awareness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other future technology fields among the nation’s female workforce.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Mike Yeh, Associate General Counsel, Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA), Microsoft Middle East and Africa to learn more about the campaign.

Where did the idea of the campaign originate? And can you give us on more details about the campaign?

Microsoft has recognised the importance of diversity in our workforce. Part of this is a story around the digitisation of everything. So, as everything becomes digital, I think we’re starting to recognise that we absolutely have to ensure that we’re developing services and products that are really tailored for everyone, regardless of where they are.

As technology becomes available to everyone, we want to absolutely make sure that everyone has access, that they have skills, and they can learn about it.

Digital transformation can be a great enabler of economic development, the progress called for in Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy.

Microsoft is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in workplaces around the world because we believe that such workforces are better able to innovate. Our partnership with MCIT and CEF reiterates Microsoft’s efforts to empower the women of Egypt and ensure that everyone has a seat at the table.

Microsoft’s collaboration with the MCIT and CEF on the Women Empowerment Campaign builds on its ongoing strategic partnership with the Central Department for Community Development, which began in 2014. The partnership aims to support the ministry in creating a sustainable social model that contributes to addressing unemployment and economic challenges, by empowering women to achieve more.

How will this campaign empower women?

Through this campaign, we develop broader and practical skills that people will need to land a job.

It is an initiative to encourage entrepreneurship and raise awareness of AI and other future-era skills among the nation’s female workforce

Our goal is to go from training to job creation, and to help people land jobs, ideally, tech jobs.

Why did you choose Egypt specifically for that campaign?

In terms of why Egypt, I think, as we look across the Middle East, generally, there’s a huge need to really address the gender gap, especially when it comes to access to technology, and to help prepare the next generation of leaders to really work with technology, to leverage those skills, and to ultimately be able to land the jobs that we think technology will drive in the future.

Besides, Egypt has been a place where we’ve made a number of investments already, and in many ways, Egypt was an ideal place for us to really start and pilot a programme where we could have key stakeholders including CEF, and the Ministry of Youth, as we have a strong partnership with the Ministry.

How many women does the campaign target?

Our target is to train about 5,000 women.

What governorates does the campaign focus on?

The campaign is in celebration with International Women’s Day. So, it’s cohesive to all of Egypt, we cover all Egyptian governments, but we’re focusing on Upper Egypt this year. So, we are trying to increase our investments and our efforts in Upper Egypt, but we’re going to provide all of the trainings over all the governorates.

How do you evaluate women’s economic empowerment in Egypt?

I think it’s getting better. But the statistics are not great, when we look at unemployment rates, we will find that the unemployment rate for women is significantly higher than that of men in Egypt.

I think one of our challenges and opportunities, hopefully, is just to create opportunities, ideally for youth. And for us, I think the focus is really on the pipeline. So how do we help create a pipeline of young women who are interested in technology, want to pursue those jobs, and then ultimately can leverage the fact that technology has changed, such that they can access the most advanced technology and create ideal apps that are not only relevant to Egypt but potentially global.

In your opinion, what are the challenges that still face Egyptian women in terms of economic empowerment?

At a macro level, the issues aren’t that different than in many other countries. I think they’re still legacy and perhaps history that we need to be bold about confronting.

Some of this will be driven by economics, I think, even the Egyptian government recognises that in order for it to grow its GDP at the rate that it wishes, Egypt has to see women come into the workforce. And some of that will force some of that change.

But I also think at a very individual level, we have to figure out how do we be more intentional about creating opportunities even within Microsoft, we’ve started a values conversation and ideas to create space and so we can talk about some of these issues that might be uncomfortable, but ultimately, we think that being transparent and open with each other about opportunities is a good thing. Meanwhile, I see a similar opportunity at the country level, even though that’s much easier said than done.

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Female pediatrician spread happiness through turning songs into art pieces https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/16/female-pediatrician-spread-happiness-through-turning-songs-into-art-pieces/ Thu, 16 Jan 2020 12:50:56 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=720214 This raised the question of “does social media revive the funniest lines from old comedy films? or do they only reflect how people recall these memes or lines of the movies?”

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Days ago, social media, especially Facebook, went viral with different posts shared by a page called “Songraffiti,” in which every post contains lyrics from a song and turning them into caricature pieces. The pieces have a dramatic shot, contrasting the song’s lyrics.

This raised the question of “does social media revive the funniest lines from old comedy films? or do they only reflect how people recall these memes or lines of the movies?”

Daily News Egypt interviewed the 25-year-old pediatrician, Nada Salah Amer who is the founder of “Songraffiti,” to learn more about her project.

She started telling her story to DNE, narrating her journey with Songrafitti by how she was very fond of art since she was a little girl, making drawing her hobby ever since.

“Afterwards, it became my habit to always listen to songs while drawing, by the time I started drawing illustrations inspired by the songs I listen to, I started to post them on my personal account,” she recalled.

She then continued to say that surprisingly she found that her posts went viral on Facebook and that it received very positive feedback from her friends list.

“The situation passed, and I didn’t really think too much of it or how I could find success and transform it into a project, but by the time the people in my friend list began to ask for more caricatures, I began to feel that I have the talent for translating the feelings a piece of music embodies to art and finding joy in it. I decided to share my work publicly on my Facebook page, launching Songraffiti,” she said, with a smile on her face.

Concerning the name, Amer said she invented the word, as it clearly expresses the idea of mixing art with music.

Everyone was thinking that the page was launched days ago, but she said it started it in February 2015, explaining that she thinks when she posted recently a collection inspired from sarcastic Egyptian movie lines and memes, it went trendy and that’s how everyone found it out , thinking it was new.

Amer remarked that the page’s main goal was to spread happiness among people, mentioning that it is not a commercial project, assuring that she is mainly a doctor, and that this is just a hobby.

She said that each caricature illustration post takes around an hour, adding the steps of publishing the illustration starts with finding the idea. “I keep listening to the song and feel it, then choose the most inspiring sentence in the lyrics that have a deep meaning, and most of the times I draw the songs that people ask me to draw, but through my vision and ideas.”

“The second step is the hardest, in which I start brainstorming to find the most creative idea that delivers the same message in the simplest way, then comes the last step, i.e. drawing it.”

“I illustrate it on my iPad then add the sentence I chose using a calligraphy application, adding my signature and watermark before posting it online,” she explained.

Amer said happily that what keeps her going and doing more illustrations, is the positive feedback, assuring that she feels grateful towards everyone feedbacks.

“I think currently it will be hard for me to turn my project into a commercial one, I like to keep it simple and with no pressure, but who knows what the future holds,” she said in a relaxing voice.

When asked about which caricature drawing she likes best, she said that she loved all her drawings, then she said that she loved figure one. “That caricature was done for a friend of her who was entirely depressed.

“my goal is to let him know that these tough times will pass, and I want to deliver this message to anyone who is going through hard times. These hard times will pass by in the coming days and will be better than before, if we just believe,” she said with a promising voice.

Concerning figure two, she said that she loved it because it showed the positive impact someone could have on someone else’s life.

“I think it carries a message that if one makes some effort to change the lives of the people around them, it will surely be worth it,” she said.

Regarding figure three, Amer explained that she loves this one because it expresses the artist herself passing through many situations in her life, where she found herself surrounded by people who don’t get her and cannot see her sorrow hidden by a smile, thinking that all of the people of course pass by this situation

As for the fourth figure, she said she loved this one because it gives all hard workers a promise that their hard work will pay off one day.

The last figure mixed between her job as a doctor and her hobby, which is drawing illustrations, so it somehow represents her motto or goal in life.

“Caricature is a timeless style of art it that can never end or disappear,” she summed up.

“I hope I can make the world a better place with my art and through my job as a doctor, I wish people would always love what I do and I hope I get to spread happiness always,” she concluded.

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Candle carving in Cairo- an art reborn Egyptian Woman  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/11/candle-carving-in-cairo-an-art-reborn-egyptian-woman/ Sat, 11 Jan 2020 09:56:03 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=718766 Yoby`s: every candle has a story

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No matter whether you are making a romantic dinner for your husband, or your best friend is graduating from the Faculty, or even your sister is giving birth, a candle is a perfect gift that you can personalise, embellish, or pair with other gifts to make someone feel happy and special.

Believing that candles are not only for lighting, a 31 years old Egyptian woman, Aya Maklad founded her brand “Yoby’s,” in Cairo, which is a project for handmade home accessories, organic candles (Pure Beeswax Candles), and paraffin wax Candles.

Maklad manages to bring together both brilliant aesthetics and personalised, sentimental value to any would-be candle enthusiast.

Yoby’s owner is a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce in 2009 before working as an accountant for a year. After toiling away behind a desk, she decided to focus on her passion and love for candles. She was soon able to start her own small business, Yoby’s Candles.

She started telling her story to DNE, narrating her journey with Yoby’s by how she’s loved candles since she was a little girl and even now still enjoys buying them. However, there was something missing from them. She’s never found a truly artistic candle or a candle that touches her.

“After my resignation from work, I searched and learned a lot about how to make designs on the candles, the challenge was that everyone in my family is an engineer or a doctor, meaning they have no information on the industry, so it was my passion and drive that pushed me to reach my goals. I took various online courses to make the best deigns. I also took a marketing course in order to know how to market my brand,” she said.

“ I started on my brand in 2012, at first I used to make Gel candles, after that I found that Gel candles contain a substance that is also used in manufacturing ceramics and is a Carcinogen, so I decided to replace it with organic candles to be safer in addition to the Paraffin wax Candles line. Then, in May 2018, I added a line also for home accessories,” she recalled.

She explained that organic wax burns with almost no smoke or scent and is cleaner for the air by releasing negative ions. Beeswax candles are often also helpful for those with asthma or allergies and are effective for removing common allergens like dust and dander from the air.

After starting the project, Maklad used to take the customer’s feedback, and ask them how the candle was after burning it. She found that their responses were the most surprising thing; customers would find the candle so beautiful that they didn’t want to light it all! They wanted to keep the original designs.

“From this feedback, I decided to go from making the actual candles into making the actual frames that can hold shape for years. I designed the frames in their preferred shape for their own personal home décor. Meanwhile, if the customer wanted to see the frame lit, all they need to do is put a tealight inside and enjoy,” she said with a glint in her eyes.

Maklad said with a romantic voice that she’d always believed that a candle is not only a lighting tool, but a home decor tool, too. She believes that every candle has its own story, and that every piece in a home speaks about the soul.

She explained that her inspiration comes from situations in her everyday life or sometimes even from the stories she listens to when doing consultations. Lately, she says, she’s been finding inspiration from the pharaonic era.

She said with a glint in her eyes with passion in her voices, she tells us that what always distinguishes her candles from any other artist is her candles’ custom uniqueness.

Maklad pointed out that the competitive advantage for Yoby`s candles is the unique design and the reasonable price.

Concerning Yoby`s marketing, she pointed out that she promotes her products through social media, as well as conducting various collaborations, and showing up in different events.

Maklad`s dream is to make Egypt a world exporter candle designs through Yoby`s products.

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Salmonella: More baseless misogyny or important social commentary? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/11/salmonella-more-baseless-misogyny-or-important-social-commentary/ Sat, 11 Jan 2020 08:17:12 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=718761 NCWR requested Google to remove the song from all online sites, believing that it is offensive towards women

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In further escalation on the “Salmonella” case, a decisive song produced by young Egyptian singer Tamim Younis, the National Council for Women Rights (NCWR) submitted complaint to Google to stop broadcasting the song, and to remove it from all sites. However, the music video has already reached thousands of viewers and shares.

The NCWR described the song as an insult towards women and highly disrespectful, stating that it promotes bullying and incites violence against women. The NCWR also stated that it violates the Media Honour Code and the Professional Conduct Code of 2017.

The video was released on 1 January and young social media users have already shared it thousands of time. The song features insecurities of some eastern man when they get rejected by a woman.

The council also said that the mere circulation of the song is considered an insult and slander. They added that hosting the video is punishable by the Criminal Code of Egypt as it is full of inappropriate expressions and words that negatively impact public morals.

It said that the publishing policies stipulate that online sites adhere to a number of rules, especially those that prohibit the publication of hateful content that support and justify violence against any member of society.

NCWR warned of the impact of some media content in Egyptian society, which has recently suffered from challenges related to confronting violence against women.

Younis, the protagonist, starts off the song telling the story of going to a café and meeting a woman there. The next day, he returns to the café to introduce himself and to ask for her phone number, which she politely rejects. It is at this point that the message of the music video comes about; after the rejection, Younis starts to threaten the young woman and attempts to damage her reputation. He wishes Salmonella on her, tells her that he hopes she gains weight, and starts advertising her flaws, all because she didn’t to give him her number.

The singer also mentioned that he would have done amazing things for her if she accepted his request like buying her a jewellery, and a nice apartment, cook for her, and get her flowers.

The song stirred controversy on social media, with those that believe that the video humiliates women and actually encourages its viewership to commit such violence, and others that believe that it supports respect towards women and makes insecure men the butt of the joke.

Responding to a huge wave of critics, the singer said, on an online video, that his song does not carry any negative message towards women, but that it actually makes fun of insecure men that get rejected.

He added that he could not mention this in the description because it would have spoiled the surprise in the music video.

Younis concluded that his song is funny and he is just joking and he will never stop.

The NCWR commented on the singer’s correction, saying that despite his explanation that song mocks violence against women, It actually justifies violence against women.

The council said that the song’s topic is a societal issue that the state has been working on for a long time now.

Rabab Abdo, a lawyer working at the Egyptian Association for the Assistance of Juveniles and Human Rights, said that the song became a trend despite it really offending women.

She said that media, art, and community should create awareness so that every girl knows what is acceptable action and what is not, and how she can use the law to guarantee her rights.

Abdo said that society needs to change its thinking and do away with the normalized violence towards women, so we may have a society that respects ethics and castigates any sort of harassment.

Moreover, Lawyer Nihad Abu Al-Qumsan, head of the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights, attacked the song, explaining that it was sexist against women and diminishes her rights.

She continued that “it is a crime that includes a message of hate against women who work in a country that does not have a media code of ethics, or a law that protects people against discrimination.”

The prominent writer Medhat Al-Adl rejected the accusation that the song incites violence against women, saying the song is funny,  and that young talented singer is only joking.

Users on social media

Most female social media users rejected the song in their comments, saying it is harassment, while many other females loved the idea and considered it an explanation of what they face when they encounter male stalkers. The majority of men in the comments supported it and said that the song is really great and funny.

Deena Mohamed said, “The song is a very good example showing how many women are pressured by men and shows how they could be harmed in case they try to escape.”

Hana Youssef said, “I can’t understand why people are upset over this song, while the singer emphasises the fact that men turn into aggressive ones when they are rejected. The signer just used humour as his way of presenting  his idea.”

Mariam Hathor said, “The song would have consequences if not taken with the supposed intention.

Mohamed Tarek said, “sarcasm is one of the ways to object things we don’t like, those who have a sense of humour and take things lightly will appreciate it. As with anything, some people will love it and others will hate it!”

Harassment accusation

Two women posted on accused Younis with sexual harassment on their Facebook accounts. They claimed that he had touched them inappropriately.

The young singer did not respond directly to these allegations. However, on Sunday, he wrote a Facebook post thanking his fans for the support and confirmed that he is open to criticism. He also said that he strongly refuse the false personal accusations without telling what type of accusations.

On his social media accounts, the artist is reposting other people’s reactions to his song, which shows fans, which majority are women, singing and dancing to it.

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What awaits Egyptian women in 2020? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/01/02/what-awaits-egyptian-women-in-2020/ Thu, 02 Jan 2020 09:30:30 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=718133 The start of a new decade carries hope for further women’s empowerment. A new year has just started, bringing women in Egypt new hopes for ending violence against them, improving their conditions. Daily News Egypt dug into the major events that scheduled to take place in Egypt in 2020.

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The start of a new decade carries hope for further women’s empowerment. A new year has just started, bringing women in Egypt new hopes for ending violence against them, improving their conditions. Daily News Egypt dug into the major events that scheduled to take place in Egypt in 2020.


New personal status law


Egypt’s government announced in October that a new personal status law is being prepared by a committee at the Ministry of Justice.
The committee is scheduled to complete the final draft of the bill by the beginning of 2020, before sending it to the cabinet for approval, before being referred to parliament.
Different suggestions are sent to Al-Azhar to decide if they are relevant to Islam, focusing on some points like the child custody age, visitation rights, and travel permission. They are also tackling polygamy to ensure that the first wife is informed of a new marriage, and that men who remarry without informing their wives are punished with six months’ imprisonment.
Among the suggestions are criminalising customary marriage and the total cancellation of the articles regulating wives’ obedience.
Al-Azhar, the National Council of Women, the Wafd Party, and others have suggested laws covering the engagement period, and regulating financial aspects in case of the engagement’s annulment, like the gifts exchanged.


Presenting results for Egypt’s National Strategy for Prevention of early Marriage 2015-2020


In 2015, Egypt endorsed the National Strategy for the Prevention of Early Marriage 2015-2020, which aims at reducing early marriage rates in 2020 by half of those in 2015. The monitoring report is planned to be presented in 2020, which will analyse successes and challenges, and suggest methods for course correction as needed.


The results of the Egypt Economic Cost of Gender Based Violence Survey 2015 revealed that 21% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18. It is worth noting that Article 80 of the Egyptian Constitution commits the State to protect a child’s best interest, defined as anyone who is under the age of 18 years, which implicitly prohibits marriage of young girls.


Reviewing the results of Egypt’s National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women 2015-2020


In 2015, the National Council for Women (NCW) launched the National Strategy for Combating Violence Against Women (NSVAW). NSVAW was developed in response to a decade-long organising and struggle of feminist groups, for the state to bear its responsibility in combating gender-based violence through “a comprehensive long-term scheme”. NSVAW addresses violence against women under four headings: prevention, protection, interventions, and prosecution. Each heading comprises a number of sub-goals pertaining to the area of work of 12 different ministries, and authorities.

NSVAW was to be implemented over five years, from 2015-2020.


It is expected that the NCW will review the results of this strategy, describing where Egypt stands currently on violence against women.


Third phase of women’s health campaign to kick off


Under the slogan “Egypt’s Women are Egypt’s health,” the first phase of a Presidential campaign to support women’s health began in nine governorates in July 2019.
The nine govenrorates include, South Sinai, Matrouh, Port Said, Alexandria, Beheira, Damietta, Qalyubiya, Fayoum, and Assiut.
The second stage of the initiative kicked off in November and included Cairo, North Sinai, Red Sea, Kafr el Sheikh, Ismailia, Suez, Menoufia, Beni Suef, Sohag, Aswan, and Luxor.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, 2.1 million women were examined in the first stage of the campaign while 315,034 women have been checked in the second stage until end of November.
The initiative targets 28 million women over the age of 18 and will be carried out in three stages. The third stage is expected to be launched in early 2020.


The duration of the checkup is 15 minutes, preceded by a 30-minute awareness lecture on methods of disease detection, home inspection, healthier lifestyles, and reproductive health.
It includes medical tests of diabetes, blood pressure, and weight checks.

First intitiative for Pregnant Women’s Health to kick off in January


Days ago, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said the government launched an initiative for early detection and treatment of diseases and preventing mother-to-child transmission of infections during pregnancy.
The president ordered that the “Health of Pregnant Women” initiative to begin in January 2020 in compliance with the best standards for early diagnosis and treatment.
The president gave his directives during a meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait, and Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed.
Notably, it is considered the first time in Egypt to have a special initiative directed for pregnant women’s health.


Further empowerment for Women in CIFF


In 2019, the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) announced signing the Gender Parity Pledge 5050×2020, becoming the first Arab festival (and second African) to join this commitment launched during Cannes Film Festival in 2018. Starting its 42nd edition in November 2020, CIFF is committed to promote gender equality and transparency. The festival will publicly announce the percentages of women participating in the film programming and selection teams, in addition to the percentage of films submitted by female directors and ones selected in the official programme, which of course supports more representation of women in cinema, either in front or behind the cameras.


According to CIFF’s President Mohamed Hefzy, Egypt is keen on female representation in all areas of life and specifically in cinema.
“By joining this pledge we are confirming a strong position that we have adopted since 2018`s edition when we celebrated 8 Arab filmmakers outstanding careers and impact on Arab cinema: Hala Khalil’s “Nawara” (Egypt), Hala Lotfi’s “Coming Forth By Day” (Egypt), Mai Masri’s “3000 Nights” (Palestine), Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib” (Palestine), Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “Wadja” (Saudi Arabia), Kaouther Ben Hania’s “Beauty and the Dogs” (Tunisia), Sofia Djama’s “The Blessed” (Algeria) and Nujoom Al-Ghanem’s “Sharp Tools” (UAE),” he said.


Of course, when increasing women’s representation in the CIFF, all the directors in dramas and cinema should follow.


Women Economic Forum comes to Egypt for first time


The Annual Women Economic Forum will be held for the first time in the Middle East in Cario on 4 to 5 March under the auspices of Egypt`s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.
This event is expected to bring together over 1,000 women leaders from Egypt and around the world to tackle issues of employment, international trade, women in technology, finance, and much more.
This annual event has brought together over 100,000 inspiring women from across 150 countries during the past 25 years.


Earlier, the President of the NCW, Maya Morsi stated that this forum is a unique opportunity to gather women leaders in various fields from all over the world in one place, to exchange experiences and discuss the challenges and difficulties currently standing in their way, how to improve the status of women, and how to empower more of them.


She said “We are looking forward to achieving the best results from this forum which will be held for the first time in Egypt.”
“We’re extremely proud to be bringing the WEF to Egypt,” said Neamat Khalil, founder of The Worx for Events– the organising company.
“It is happening in the right place, at the right time. This is an era when Egyptian women are shining in leadership roles across a broad spectrum of sectors. The WEF 2020 in Cairo will showcase Egyptian, African, and regional success stories, create new networks and business matchmaking opportunities, and will also have a very strong tourism component,” she added. Finally, these were the major events that are scheduled to take place in Egypt in 2020 concerning women issues. But no doubt that the hopes of women are larger than these things. Women still hope for a 50×50 quota in parliament and in the cabinet. A woman’s dream cannot be briefed in one article.

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Egyptian women in a decade: the turbulent path towards empowerment https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/27/egyptian-women-in-a-decade-the-turbulent-path-towards-empowerment/ Fri, 27 Dec 2019 14:17:37 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=717545 Daily News Egypt presents major stations witnessed in women’s status during the last ten years following the quote,by Karl Marks: “Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.”.

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Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.

With the New Year rapidly approaching, this decade is coming to an end. A decade marked by substantial and concrete changes aimed at women`s empowerment. No doubt the state became more aware of the role of women and their impact on economy, working to further strengthen and empower them.

Daily News Egypt presents major stations witnessed in women’s status during the last ten years following the quote,by Karl Marks: “Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.”.

First three years: disappointment

During the first three years of the decade, women faced a lot of challenges, but they fought for their freedom.

Women participated in both the 25th of January and 30th of June uprisings, but unfortunately, both the society and the authority have practiced violence against them.

“Why did she go to the tTahrir square?” A question that women used to receive listen to for almost three years, along with being subjected to different forms of physical and sexual violence. T

The most prominent accident is the accident of “Set EL Banat”, referring to the girl who was subjected to beatings, verbal harassment, and nudity.

After women’s bold participation in the 25th of January revolution, they were dreaming, expecting to become part of the decision-making positions. Yet, time has shown that it was truly just dreams, like those who followed the 1919 revolution and were broken on the ground, mobilised by its masculine atmosphere.

For instance, there were no women present in the committee formed by the military council to make amendments to the Egyptian 1971 constitution.

Unfortunately, the 2012 parliament witnessed a decline in the representation of women, despite what many expected, especially since the figures showed that the 2012 parliamentary elections had the highest female nomination rates in the history of Egyptian parliaments. Despite that there were 984 women nominated, the percentage of representation decreased and recorded only 2.2%. The same happened with the Shura Council elections, in which women represented only 2.7% of the seats.

The Muslim Brotherhood era was the lowest with regards to women`s rights. During their tenure, many parliament representatives from political Islam movement proposed to amend laws that women fought a lot to acquire, claiming that the existing laws at that time were violating the principles of Islam.

Their demands included entirely abolishing the National Council for Women, and the reduction of the custody age to seven years for boys and nine for girls. Also among the proposals was an amendment to the law of criminalising female genital mutilation ( FGM ) to become only prevented outside hospitals, which technically meant supporting FGM. They also cancelled sexual harassment law believing that women are the ones responsible for the harassment because of their clothes.

This parliament was dissolved in June 2012, according to a ruling issued by the Supreme Constitutional Court, which stipulates that some articles of the parliament elections Law are unconstitutional.

2013, 2014, and 2015: stability, slow progress

After the 30th of June revolution, women were not dreaming of great achievements, but just aspired to have the basic rights they had before the Muslim Brotherhood era.

Thus, it can be said that the period from 2013 to 2015 did not bring about major changes, just regaining of their rights, as well as gradual slow progress in the women`s conditions.

In 2013, after the increase of harassment rates in Egypt, institutions concerned with women’s rights criticised what women are exposed to in the streets of Cairo and some governorates. In response, Egypt`s Ministry of Interior established for the first time in Egypt the Department of violence against womenfv.

In 2014, Egypt criminalised sexual harassment for the first time and former President Adly Mansour issued a decree that categorised sexual harassment as a crime punishable by a minimum six-month jail term and a fine worth EGP3,000 with increased penalties for repeated offences.

Among the gains also was adopting a quota system, after the Parliament’s Law Amendment and Political Rights Committee decided to increase the number of women’s seats in closed lists from three to five, which would at that time ensure higher representation than previous parliaments.

In addition, 26 women were appointed in the judiciary platform, after long struggles in this regard. Besides, woman in the police sector attained the rank of “brigadier.”

Women were also appointed as deputy governors in three main governorates, namely; Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria.

In 2015, the National Council for Women (NCW) launched the National Strategy for Combating Violence Against Women (NSVAW). NSVAW was developed in response to decade-long advocacy and struggle of feminist groups, for the state to bear its responsibility in combating gender-based violence through “a comprehensive long-term scheme”. NSVAW addresses violence against women under four headings: prevention, protection, interventions, and prosecution. Each heading comprises a number of sub-goals pertaining to the area of work of 12 different ministries and authorities. NSVAW was to be implemented over the five years 2015-2020.

2016 : violence against women 

The year 2016 was full of events that included violence against women, even the gains were a reaction to the losses in which Egypt has increased the penalty for practicing (FGM) to a sentence of between three and 15 years in jail, after the death of Mayar, the girl who died while being subjected to FGM in a hospital in Suez city.

The loses were evident in the decision of the former President of the Radio and Television Union Safa Hijazi to suspend eight Egyptian female TV broadcasters working and transferring them to another department because of their weight gain. She stopped them from broadcasting until they follow a diet for a month to appear on the screen, however the same decision was not taken towards the male presenters who gained weight.

We cannot review the year 2016 without remembering the barrage of abusive statements made by the Parliamentarian Elhamy Augowa. First of which was when he asked women in the Parliament to wear more modest clothes appropriate for the House of Representatives, then he apologised. After a while, he returned to take another abusive stance to support the FGM saying that men in Egypt suffer from sexual weakness, evidencing that Egypt is one of the largest consumers of sexual stimulants. According to him, it`s better for women to support men and resort to FGM, believing that FGM decreases women`s sexual arousal, then he apologised again. Yet, he kept gicving similar statements  and apologies.

The last thing he told the media was that virginity tests for university girls should be implemented, and then he apologised once moreagain!

2017: the start of a change 

The year 2017 was the start of a change, in which the government lead by the president began to look towards women, highlighting their role in every political occasion.

Moreover, President Abd El Fatah Al-Sisi declared 2017  Year of Egyptian women, emphasising their high value of women in the society.

The president`s announcement was the first step towards a comprehensive policy launched as the women empowerment strategy 2030.

As a result, 2017 was a year full of firsts for Egyptian women, where the country appointed its first female governor in Egypt`s history, the first advisor to the president, the first female deputy to the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), and the first female deputy to the minister of tourism. Six women were also appointed to the judiciary posts, which is more than any previous year.

The NCW signed for the first time an MoU with the CBE pretraining to financial inclusion of women, aiming to see women on the boards of banks, as well.

The parliament also approved an amendment to the inheritance law, which should guarantee inheritance rights for women.

2018: breaking political taboos and

2018 witnessed more bravery from women and girls. It is when they finally decided to talk about sexual harassment. Social media presented many stories for sexual harassment cases in the work place or outside. The most prominent ones were the accident of the journalist who got sexually harassed at work, and the girl who was harassed in the fifth settlement, publishing a video for the incident on social media.

Among the gains in 2018 as well was the appointment for the first time of six female ministers, along with other two female ministers joining them mid year in the Egyptian cabinet.

For the first time in Egypt, the parliament also approved a law regulating the NCW, bringing it in line with the 2014 constitution and international conventions signed by Egypt.

Among the most prominent provisions stipulated in the law of organising the NCW’s work is that the council is independent, follows the president and enjoys legal constitution, technical, financial and administrative independence in the exercise of its functions, activities, and competences.

Besides, in 2018, Egypt appointed a Christian womanfor the first time ever as Damietta’s female governor.

Also, the Supreme Judicial Council approved the appointment of Hassna’a Shaaban Abdullah, the former vice-president of the Court of Appeals, as the head of the economic court in Tanta, thus becoming the first female judge to preside over a court in Egypt.

As well as Member of Parliament (MP) Nadia Henry, a member of the economic committee in the parliament, announcinged the adoption of the Unified Violence against Women Bill.

Notably, it was launched by human rights and feminist organisations in November 2007 under the name of theTaskforce for a Unified Act against Violence Against women and it contains 53 articles divided into seven sections.

2019: promising year, more is yet to come

2020 is expected to be a year of change, but 2019 was the year paving the role for these changes, as Egypt’s government announced in October that a new personal status law is being prepared by a committee at the Ministry of Justice.

The committee should complete the final draft of the bill by the beginning of 2020, and then it will be sent to the cabinet for approval, before being referred to parliament.

Different suggestions are sent to Al-Azhar to decide if they are relevant to Islam, focusing on some points like the child custody age, visitation rights, and travel permission. They are also tackling polygamy to ensure that the first wife is informed with the new marriage, and that men who remarry without informing their wives are punished with six months’ imprisonment.

Among the suggestions is criminalising customary marriage, in addition to the total cancellation of the articles regulating wives’ obedience.

Al-Azhar, the NCW, the Wafd Party and others have suggested laws covering the engagement period, and regulating financial aspects in case of annulment of the engagement, like the gifts exchanged.

Among the gains in 2019 was the Ministry of Health and Population’s launch of the Women’s Health Initiative for early detection of breast cancer, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease, targeting around 30 million women above the age of 18.

In terms of the political representation, the number of the female representation in the cabinet is still the same, in addition to appointing seven women as deputy governors on Wednesday, out of the 23 new deputy governors. In addition to the appointment of a female Minister for the trade and industry portfolio for the first time ever.

Regarding gender equality, for the first time, the Manpower Ministry decided to set up a gender equality unit, aiming at spreading the culture of gender equality, empowering women, and integrating them as active participants in the economy.

For the first time in Egyptian syndicates’ history, a woman was elected chairperson of Cairo’s Doctors Syndicate.

Moreover, Egypt became the first country to implement the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Gender Equality Seal Programme in the tourism sector.

On the social side, an Egyptian lawmaker called for a full ban on the niqab, or the face veil in Egypt, reviving a longstanding debate over whether outlawing face veils would be a violation of religious freedom.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still present, even among celebrities that people take as idols. Amr Warda, Member of the National football team was initially dismissed from the national team by the Egyptian Football Association (EFA)after he was accused of cyber sexual harassment by a number of women.

Surprisingly, , there were some people who defend his acts, as the expulsion resulted in mixed reactions on social media. While many users praised the EFA for taking a stance against sexual harassment, others defended Warda and accused women of exaggerating the claims made against the footballer. Unfortunately, a lot of the other members of the football team were defending Warda and as a result the EFA later announced that it had accepted his apology and reinstated him to the national football team.

wWell-known TV host Reham Saeed tackled a blow to femininity, insulting and humiliating obese women on her Al-Hayah TV late-night show “Sabaya”.

She stated that “You lose part of your femininity if you are fat,” describing obese women as   burdens to their families and the state.

But on a positive note, Egypt’s Supreme Media Council suspended the host.

Through the decade, Egyptian women struggled for their rights, facing a lot of changes, luckily reaped some benefits, but more is yet to come.

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NCW organises a seminar to combat all forms of violence against women https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/25/ncw-organises-a-seminar-to-combat-all-forms-of-violence-against-women/ Wed, 25 Dec 2019 07:30:12 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=717409 The symposium included a theatrical to address how to deal with cases of sexual harassment and economic exploitation of women

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The National Council for Women (NCW) organised a seminar titled “Combating violence against women and educating the Egyptian family about the damages of female genital mutilation” on Monday in coordination with a number of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The seminar came as a part of the NCW’s 16-day campaign of various activities to combat violence against women.

The symposium was attended by members of the council Nabil Samuel and Nisreen Al-Baghdadi, members of NGOs, and females and young girl from Al-Asmarat neighbourhood in Cairo.

Samuel stressed that the seminar aims to raise awareness of issues of violence against women, especially the issue of female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and indicated that the forum shows great importance to issues of violence against women.

Amal Philip, the social and health counsellor of the council’s Anti-Violence Against Women Unit, presented the health damages of females who faced FGM, presented data on their numbers and places.

Sameh Yousry, a mental health consultant, addressed the psychological aspect of conducting the crime of FGM and that that trauma from FGM cannot be erased from a woman’s memory over time.

The recommendation of the seminar affirmed that FGM is a huge crime against women, and called for more media focus to combat this crime. It also stressed the need to conduct social and medical studies to explain the phenomenon and use the results to change public perception.

It also included focusing on the misconceptions of religious belief that stand in the way of changing behaviour towards fighting crime.

The symposium included a theatrical show titled “The Password” to explain how to deal with cases such as harassment and economic exploitation of women. A movie on the issue was also presented.

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She is Arab: a new voice for Arab women https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/12/07/she-is-arab-a-new-voice-for-arab-women/ Sat, 07 Dec 2019 14:06:15 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=715863 She is Arab is a passion venture co-founded by Noha Hefny and Samar Alshorafa. Daily News Egypt had interviewed borh Hefny and AlShorafa to learn more about the platform.

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A month ago, the MENA region witnessed the launch of She is Arab, the first platform dedicated to Arab women speakers in the world, becoming a new voice of Arab women. The campaign aspires to become a credible reference point for organisations on gender equality and women empowerment.

She is Arab is a passion venture co-founded by Noha Hefny and Samar Alshorafa. Daily News Egypt had interviewed borh Hefny and AlShorafa to learn more about the platform.

Can you introduce the platform to our readers?

She is Arab the first dedicated speakers’ platform for Arab women in the world with a mission to represent and develop Arab women speakers and thought leaders across every sector to highlight successful role models and success stories. It also aims to

reduce stereotypes about Arab women. We are both graduates of the American

University in Cairo class of 2001, which is how we know each other. We are

both married mothers of boys, residing in Dubai, UAE.  We are committed to

human centric development, placing people at the heart of everything that we

do while delivering impact and driving positive change.

As social entrepreneurs, we are driven by passion and have a combined experience of more than 30 years in the fields of international development, humanitarian action, public policy, public affairs, and integrated marketing communications. We have both worked in leading global organisations in both the private and public sectors including the United Nations, International Finance Corporate, the European Commission’s Industrial Modernisation Programme for Egypt, HH Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, PepsiCo, and McKinsey & Company.

How did you come up with the platform’s idea?

We both share a common passion towards gender equality and women empowerment and wanted to create a platform that would become a credible reference point for the world on all issues relating to Arab women. We aspire to minimise silos and to have one platform created by Arab women for Arab women that represents their voice.

As social entrepreneurs, we created “She is Arab” to inspire and develop women, document success stories, create role models, drive leadership and participation, empowerment through exposure, visibility, professional development, mentorship, and networking. We aim to increase Arab women’s

representation in speaking platforms on the international stage and in the region more prominently, and to truly represent Arab women of all ages,

backgrounds, and sector specialisations.  The idea has truly been in the works for several years and has matured into was

“She is Arab” is today, which presents a forward-looking online platform that leverages the power of technology to enhance

collaboration, learning, knowledge, and the exchange of experiences. She is Arab is a purpose driven, tech-business and stems from our commitment to increasing Arab women’s representation on speaking platforms around the world.

 What services does the platform provide for women?

The platform will offer four distinct services; speaker bureau services to match Arab women with speaking opportunities; professional development services to prepare women through relevant raining and coaching services to become or improve their public speaking skills, and to build their thought leadership profiles; Advisory services to organisations on social impact and gender equality; a network that connects Arab women around the globe across multiple sectors and enables collaboration to increase knowledge on a variety of topics.

We are providing the tools to support Arab women on their journey of self-discovery as leaders and speakers, empowering them through the offered

services and tech-driven tools to introduce their achievements and success stories to the world.

What is the goal of the platform?

Our vision is to be the new voice of Arab women. Our mission is to represent and develop Arab women speakers and thought leaders in different sectors while addressing sustainable development goal five (Gender Equality) by driving gender balance in speaking events and creating role models to inspire the future generation. We are leveraging the power of communication and technology to do all of that and to amplify our efforts.

how many members does the platform have currently? And how many are you hoping to reach?

We have close to 100 registered speakers under review, 60 of them published on the platform, and approximately 200 network members in total. Our target

is to reach 5000 members by 2030, out of which 1000 are qualified Arab women speakers from around the world, to document their stories and achievements,

engage them in knowledge driven events and help them with their public speaking journeys. We hope to deliver impact through echoing their voices to

thousands of people and audiences around the world.  We believe in the power of storytelling and aspire to echo and spread the stories of our network members from Egypt and from the rest of the region worldwide. We believe this will demonstrate the power of Arab women and to reduce stereotypes and misperceptions about what we are capable of achieving.

What is the five year strategy for the platform in Egypt?

Egypt is a strategic market for She is Arab. As an early stage start-up, our aspiration is to establish a physical presence in Egypt and to have a fully running operation offering all of our four services.. This is what we hope to achieve in the next five years. We are working proactively to develop local partnerships to help us achieve our goals in the shortest time possible. In the long run, we are also keen to expand our services if we can to women across various governorates in Egypt. We want to reach youth and economically unprivileged women, to offer training in communications, public speaking, leadership and other skills and to present their success stories to the world. We aspire to develop a fresh pipeline of young emerging Arab women thinkers and speakers including Egyptians across every sector who are able to represent the region internationally; while adding value and offering innovative solutions for key global and regional challenges.

How can you evaluate women’s economic empowerment in Egypt?

There have been great developments taking place in Egypt in recent years. The country’s appointment of eight women ministers, which represent 25% of

the Cabinet, handling strategic portfolios, is proof of the government’s commitment to ensure women are well represented in leadership roles in the

public sector. Major strategy announcements were made as part of Vision 2030 for Egypt, as well as constitutional law amendments that empower women such as being able to give Egyptian nationality to their children, or setting a quota of local council seats for women. The National Council for

Women has also been extremely proactive as a leader in these debates under the leadership of Maya Morsy. All of these developments over the years

are promising for women.

 What are the countries that could be taken as a model in women empowerment in the MENA region?

There is great momentum across the region, with countries taking great strides towards achieving women empowerment, and likewise in Egypt. Some of the most prominent examples include, Saudi women gaining the right to drive and for those under the age of 21, the right to travel, apply for a passport, cross the Saudi border, register births, marriage, divorce or death, access basic education, healthcare, open businesses without a male guardian’s permission. Divorced women can retain custody of their children. Women could vote for the first time ever in municipal elections, enlist in the military, do physical exercise in the streets. Stadiums recently began letting women watch sports live. The number of women working in the private sector has soared 130% from 2013.

In Bahrain, Fawzia Zainal is the third Arab woman to head parliament

after the UAE and Syria. On average, women earn the same as men and that more

than 50 per cent of companies registered in Bahrain are now founded by

women.

In Kuwait, various efforts undertaken to activate UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) and to allow women to take part in the public prosecution field in order to advance and become judges in the future. Currently, 57% of civil servants in Kuwait are women.

In Egypt for the first time 25% of the cabinet is represented by women through the appointment of eight ministers in 2018, while 15% of the

parliament is now made up of women. In Tunisia, two prominent women run for presidential elections this year.

In Jordan, government approved a five-year women’s economic empowerment action plan which aims to increase women’s labour force participation rate to 24% by 2025.

In the UAE, where our head office is based, several developments have taken place including, the approval of a law that guarantees equal pay for

men and women, a decree that stipulates that Emirati women must occupy 50% of the seats of the UAE’s Federal National Council, 27% of women

representation in cabinet (nineout of 32 ministers), and 30% of the diplomatic corps are currently female. The UAE has been seen as a regional leader in this domain by the World Economic Forum since 2016, and ranks

first regionally on achieving SDG five on gender equality.  In 2012, the

government decision of mandatory presence of women on boards was the first of its kind in the region and the second globally.

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World honours activism against gender-based violence https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/11/30/world-honours-activism-against-gender-based-violence/ Sat, 30 Nov 2019 07:00:00 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=715303 For that, the annual international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” kicks off annually on 25 November in Egypt and the whole world, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, dubbed Orange Day, and runs until 10 December, the Human Rights Day.

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From female gentile mutilation (FGM), marital rape, to sexual or physical abuse and more, women all around the globe share the same struggle against violence. 

For that, the annual international campaign “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” kicks off annually on 25 November in Egypt and the whole world, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, dubbed Orange Day, and runs until 10 December, the Human Rights Day.

All this prompts one to ask how did the idea of the 16 days originate? How was the campaign first put forward? Why the colour orange specifically? Where do Egypt and the world stand with regards to the issue?  How will Egypt celebrate the 16 days of activism? And what are the governmental efforts to limit and end the violence against women in Egypt.

16 days of activism

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was made official by the United Nations through a 1999 General Assembly resolution.

The day came out on 25 November 1960 when three political sisters named Minerva, Maria, and Patria Mirabal opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. They were clubbed to death and dumped at the bottom of a cliff by Trujillo’s secret police, but now better known as the Butterflies.

The three sisters’ story began with Trujillo, when he invited Mirabel’s family to attend one of the public occasions, so they attended the party and then he asked to dance with Minerva.

Unsurprisingly, he tried to sexually harass her, but she confronted him and slapped him on the face. Shortly after, her father was imprisoned and died a few days after being released.

Since then, Minerva and her sister formed an opposition group or movement against Trujillo’s regime.

They distributed flyers about the people murdered by Trujillo’s regime in order to inform the public about his violations.

However, they were declared as terrorists and traitors by Trujillo, and were arrested several times and charged with dividing the unity of the country.

Subsequently, the women were released but not to return to life again, but to meet their final fate on the 25th of November 1960 when all three were brutally murdered.

Trujillo’s regime beat them to death with sticks, shoved them in the back of a car, and drove them off a cliff in order to make it appear as a road traffic accident. Trujillo thought that he could get away with the murder of the Mirabal sisters, but following this accident, the entire country fought him. Six months later on 30 May 1961, Trujillo was assassinated.

In February 1963, the Dominican Republic elected a democratic government for the first time in decades.

Finally, their fourth sister, who was not murdered, tried to commemorate them and turned their home into a museum full of their possessions. In addition, the three sisters’ story became a source of inspiration for novels and films.

On the other hand, the day of the sisters’ assassination has become a milestone in the history of the struggle of fighting violence against women.

Orange world

On 25 November 2008, the UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon launched a campaign to eliminate violence against women, named “Unite to end violence against women”, choosing the colour orange as a symbol for the movement.

Making it more special, the “orange” campaign, begins on 25 and continues until the 10th of December, which is the International Human Rights Day.

This means that the campaign lasts throughout the 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women (25 November-10 December).

Through orange day, people concerned with women’s rights wear the colour orange to spread awareness on the seriousness of violence against women and urge the world to stop practicing it.

In addition, women’s rights organisations and institutions use the colour orange as a key theme unifying all activities, decorating buildings and landmarks, to bring global attention to the issue.

“Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”

In 2019, the UNiTE campaign will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”

While the names, times and contexts may differ, women and girls universally experience rape, sexual violence, and abuse, in times of peace or war.

Egypt`s celebration 

Egypt and the whole world will celebrate the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, until 10 December.

Concerning the governmental celebration, the National Council of Women (NCW), launched an awareness campaign “Nile Boat” in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at an official ceremony hosted by the Embassy of Sweden on the occasion of the “16 Days Against Violence Against Women” campaign.

It includes the sailing of 16 different boats in the Nile during the 16 days to combat violence against women. The boats carry 16 key messages aimed at raising awareness on various issues related to women’s empowerment and gender-based violence, such as female genital mutilation, sexual harassment, and early marriage, advocating to promote female education and gender equality.

Moreover, the NCW will organise several cultural activities and awareness-raising campaigns in different governorates aimed at combating various forms of violence against women, including female genital mutilation.

Despite the state’s effort to empower women and combat violence, the issue still persists.

Global crisis

There are many efforts to prevent and end violence against women at the global, regional, and national levels, that assure widespread penalisation of sexual violence and rape, but unfortunately the numbers are still surprising.

Worldwide, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner, according to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global and regional estimates of violence against women in 2018.

Unfortunately, globally, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday; while 200 million women and girls have undergone FGM, according to UNICEF, 2017.

One in two women worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2012; while only one out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances, according to the global study on homicide by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2013.

71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and three out of four of these women and girls are sexually exploited, according to UNODC, 2016.

Violence statistics in Egypt

The number in Egypt is not different from the world, 34.1% of married women have experienced physical or sexual violence by their husbands, according to the results of economic cost survey of the existing gender violence against women in the age group (18-64 years).

Also, the results showed that 9.8% of married women have been subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological violence by their husbands.

“89.5% of women were circumcised, and more than a quarter of Egyptian women (27.4%) were married before they were 18 years old,” the economic cost survey also revealed.

The results also revealed that 1.5% of women have experienced physical and sexual violence by family members and the surrounding environment since they were 18 years old.

“6.6% of women have been subjected to any form of harassment in public transport, 9.6% of women have been subjected to any form of harassment in the street twelve months prior to the survey,” the results declared.

Constitutional Articles on Violence against Women (Egypt Constitution 2014)

Egypt’s Constitution of 2014 provides for the issue of discrimination against women through Articles (11, 53 , 214). Article 11 states that “The State shall ensure equality of women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with Constitution provisions”. Also, Article 53 stipulates that “Citizens are equal in law and are equal in public rights, freedoms, and duties, without distinction as to religion, creed, sex, origin, race, color, language, disability, social level, political affiliation, geography, or any other reason.”

Article 214 also states that “The law shall specify the independent national councils, including National Council for Human Rights, National Council for Women, National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, and National Council for Persons with Disabilities to inform public authorities of any violation relating to their field of work.”

Egypt`s efforts to eliminate violence against women

NCW`s president Maya Morsy stated that Egypt puts fighting against violence at the top of its priorities, pointing to the legislative amendments issued in this file, including the amendment of inheritance law, and increasing the severity of punishment for FGM, as well as the punishment of harassment, kidnapping crimes, and considering any bullying or harassing through electronic message as a means of a crime punishable by law.

She explained that work is currently underway to prevent child marriage, expressing her wishes to come up with a code or a law to combat violence against women.

Morsy pointed out that the national strategy for empowering Egyptian women 2030 includes a special focus on protection.

She also referred to the existence of the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women of 2015, that is to combat FGM, early Marriage, hoping that women’s complaints rates will decrease while their awareness increases.

In the coming points Daily News Egypt dug further into the initiatives of the NCW to combat violence.

Women’s Complaints Office:

Women’s Complaints Office was established in collaboration with the European Union in 2001 and the NCW to identify and study problems involving any discrimination against women or non-compliance with constitutional equality and to take appropriate action to address them and resolve them in an objective logical manner. The number of complaints submitted to women reached 6,889, including 296 for violence against women and 1,900 for personal status between years 2016-2018.

Campaign against underage marriage:

NCW’s campaign launched to discuss the underage marriage issue and how to combat it.  The proposed laws have been linked to a campaign of 16 days to address violence against women, in addition to the participation of all media and educational elements to face child marriage to be used in the campaign that has benefited 20,000 women.

Campaign to end FGM / C by 2030:

The National Committee launched this campaign under the chairmanship of both national councils of women, childhood, and motherhood, in cooperation with many agencies, institutions, official bodies, and civil society organisations, to work on the issue of circumcision through legislation. FGM has been criminalised, and its punishment under Law No. 78 increased to become a term of imprisonment of no less than five years and not exceeding seven years. The punishment is applied to “anyone who circumcises a female or removed any of the external genitalia partially or fully or inflicted injuries to those members without justification. The belief is that the penalty shall be rigorous imprisonment if causing permanent disability or leading to death in 2016.

Matkhalish Mehata Twa2afak (Don’t Let a Station Stop You)

The campaign was launched in four major subway stations in Cairo to raise awareness about combating sexual harassment, family planning, promoting girls’ education, and eliminating early marriage.

Ministry of Solidarity’s Initiative:

The Ministry of Social Solidarity has allocated safe houses for women to shelter victims of violence through centres to host and guide women or girls who are exposed to violence and have no shelter for advice or to stay for a certain period. The houses also help them overcome difficulties, solve problems, and provide social, health, psychological, and legal care through nine centres across Egypt.

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Women of Upper Egypt showcase their capabilities through San3ety Ganoub El Wadi Programme https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/11/08/women-of-upper-egypt-showcase-their-capabilities-through-san3ety-ganoub-el-wadi-programme/ Fri, 08 Nov 2019 18:26:59 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=713418 It also sheds light on the importance of collaboration between the private sector and non-governmentalorganisations, aiming to create opportunities for young Egyptians, while providing them with the right tools and skillset to become future leaders. 

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Aswan –Despite the fact that females in Upper Egypt still have limited access to education, job opportunities, and many are often forced out of school, there is an increasing number of success stories that fight gender stereotypes, break the traditions, and succeed in various fields. 

In this feature Daily News Egypt presents some of the success stories from those participating in the San3ety Ganoub El Wadi Programme.

What is San3ety Ganoub El Wadi programme?

On Sunday, Injaz Misr, in partnership with Philip Morris (PMI) Misr, launched the third phase of “San3ety Ganoub El Wadi”. The programme aims to empower young Egyptians in Upper Egypt with the skills and on-the-job trainings to become successful entrepreneurs, creating more opportunities in their own communities. 

Managing Director of PMI Egypt and Levant Vassilis Gkatzelis said, “Collaborating with Injaz to carry out “San3ety Ganoub El Wadi” stems from PMI’s strategy to contribute to the sustainable development of the society in which we operate.” 

It also sheds light on the importance of collaboration between the private sector and non-governmentalorganisations, aiming to create opportunities for young Egyptians, while providing them with the right tools and skillset to become future leaders. 

Gkatzelis further added that entrepreneurship has become one of the key pillars of the Egyptian economy. It also immensely contributes to developing governorates that have promising human capital which, when equipped with the right skills and resources, can immensely benefit their community and the economy as a whole.

Deputy CEO and Founder of Injaz Egypt Dina El Mofty expressed her pleasure in the success of the first two phases of “San3ety Ganoub El Wadi”, which was first launched in January 2019. She further detailed that these phases included showcasing the participants’ ideas and projects in addition to their visions in management, marketing, human, and financial resources. 

She clarified that the third phase will witness showcasing the projects to an independent jury, which will carefully select qualifying teams to join the incubation phase. The latter will offer participants tailored technical trainings, relevant to their business cases, as well as financial support to launch their projects. 

El Mofty stressed that 229 young men and women have received different trainings on project management, problem solving, utilisation of resources and leadership. Moreover, 49 teams with a total of 250 aspiring young Egyptians enrolled in “San3ety Ganoub El Wadi”, and were trained over five weeks on ideation, problem solving, and business case creation. 

Women represented 60% of the programme where some teams out of the 18 that were present were made entirely of women. Accordingly, Daily News Egypt interviewed the most creative groups. 

Leiurus: providing scorpion venom for pharmaceutical companies 

Among the most creative teams was team Leirus. The team members are; Renad Mostafa, a graduate of the Faculty of Commerce, English Section in Aswan University; Asmaa Badwy, a student at the Faculty of Commerce, English Section in Aswan University; and Hany Gamal, a graduate of the Faculty of Engineering in Helwan University. 

They provide pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies with extracted scorpion venom turned into powder for products. 

The idea of their project came as Aswan is full of scorpions. They noticed that a lot of people hunt huge numbers of scorpions, but they never really knew the reason why they hunt them. 

After searching, they found that scorpion venom contains a substance called Chlorotoxin, which is used to deliver the drug to the brain, helping drugs to penetrate brain. 

They explained that the blood brain barrier serves to protect the brain from toxic substances, but it also prevents many potential drugs for the treatment of neurological diseases and tumours from entering the brain.

“About 98% of drugs that have therapeutic applications cannot be used because they cannot cross this barrier. Without this substance, the active ingrediant in 98% of drugs could not reach the brain, so they become useless,” the team members explained. 

The substance is used in the manufacturing of brain cancer drugs and neuroprotection drugs.

“We found two farms in Cairo for scorpions. There is no one covering the Upper Egypt line although it hosts the largest quantity of scorpions,” they said. 

Accordingly, they manufactured an electronic trap that will be patented soon with an operating frequency of 17 to 20 hertz, which is the same number of oscillations characteristic for the insects that the scorpion feed on. 

“So these oscillations attract the scorpion, when it comes close to the trap, the trap opens and closes. Then, we extract the venom to sell it to pharmaceutical companies or sell the scorpion itself to existing farms or to jewellery companies which create accessories from the scorpion’s shape,” they stated. 

They revealed that they learned about Ingaz Misr from social media, explaining that they benefited a lot from turning their idea to a project, teaching them how to market their product, and even how to manage their time. 

At first, the girls faced some challenges to convince their families to go to the workshops and to enroll in the programme, however Ingaz Misr’s name gave them some trust to agree. 

Taxi Max: revamping safety and convenience of transportation in Upper Egypt 

Three creative women decided to create a project that revamps safety and convenience of transportation in Upper Egypt through a subscription based application. 

Daily News Egypt interviewed two of them, Jelan Gamal and Iman Gamal. They said the idea originated from the challenges they face with transportation in Upper Egypt. Due to cultural norms, they cannot ride alone with drivers, leaving them with expensive transportation means as their only option. 

Hence, their idea is to create an application for transportation called taxi max. 

The women explained that they checked the driver’ IDs, and conduct drug tests before they are hired.

The idea at first was to operate only taxis. Then the clients demanded them to operate cars and mini buses for schools. They now operate three taxis, three cars, and four mini buses, conducting 16,000 trips in four months.  

“People thought that as a divorced woman, I could not reach anything that I want. By that time, they realised that I developed myself and my project. I proved to them that even if the idea is difficult to achieve with some cultural constraints, I succeeded somehow, so they began to change their views,” said Gamal. 

“Taxi Max is now available in Sohag, but we hope to expand in all the governorates of Upper Egypt, providing cheaper transportation, and safer ones to all the citizens,” they added.

H.P.:  introducing organic preservatives to market

The H.P. team is made up of three girls, Fatma Mahmoud, a faculty of Agriculture graduate, Amira Magdy, and Abeer Khalid, both Faculty of Commerce graduates, Helwan University.

They worked on introducing to the market organic preservatives derived from bees. This organic substance could preserve any food for a range of period from six to eight months. 

 Mahmoud told Daily News Egypt that the idea came as she is currently pursuing her masters. She tried to conduct a lot of research to replace the chemical preservatives by organic ones, so she used a substance that is extracted from the bees’ legs. 

“This organic substance is present in the form of pollens in the bees` legs, the bees bring this substance and carry it in its leg. I then create a cell with a small door using a small net that will catch the bees while entering the door, so the bees will be forced to deflate these grains form their legs. During the last phase, I take these grains and grind them, adding them to food,” she explained.

She stated that as part of her masters, she conducted much research in the faculty of Agriculture in Minia University, Food Industries Department that revealed that seven grams of this substance could preserve biscuits well. 

They explained that this organic substance strengthens the immunity, enhances liver health, increases body activity, and can be used as a dietary supplement.

Talking about Ingaz, they stated that the organisation helped them a lot in turning their idea from only an idea to a project in the ground. 

“Even if we win or not, we are happy that we are currently able to plan our project,” they stated proudly. 

“My husband was my biggest supporter, however when it comes to travelling for a workshop, he began to have some concerns, but I was able to convince him,” Mahmoud said. 

With regards to their future plans, Mahmoud revealed that she is currently working in revealing an organic preservative for drinks, with aims to export both materials abroad. 

“We need to succeed in proving to our families that females are able to succeed and work well,” the girls added. 

Gozlan: designs, manufactures natural leather based products 

Gozlan team works on designing and manufacturing natural leather based products with the specialty of designing and manufacturing fashionable and medical oversized shoes for women from size 41 to 45. 

The team includes three sisters named Yousra Ezzat, Reham Ezzat, Mai Ezzat who cooperated with other two sisters named Rehab Ahmed and Awatef Ahmed to conduct workshops for women in Nagaa Hamady in Upper Egypt to produce natural based products, having 15 girls in the workshop in addition to themselves. 

“We used to lose a lot of money as we were not well aware of the steps for creating a project, then when we heard about Ingaz Misr’s programme and decided to apply, ” said Yousra Ezzat to Daily News Egypt.

“Joining this programme was the turning point for our project really, Ingaz Misr’s team gave us a lot of courses in the sales, marketing, and all the areas that we need to create a project,” they said proudly. 

As they manufacture natural leather products, they used to travel to Cairo at least once per month, which was not accepted to their families, convincing them was the biggest challenge. 

“At first they used to say no, then by time they found that we are really growing our business and getting clients and money, and started to accept the idea. We had the same problem when we wanted to travel for Ingaz’s camps, but they witnessed how it benefitted us,” she added. 

“We hope to expand our workshop more and introduce machines for manufacturing natural based products to increase our productivity,” they said. 

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Egyptian women festival “Haya Masrya” to be held in November https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/11/02/egyptian-women-festival-haya-masrya-to-be-held-in-november/ Sat, 02 Nov 2019 11:13:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712786 The festival is a one of the initiatives from the group of Egyptian Single Mothers, that was founded by Nermin Abou Salem, with a membership reaching 65,000 females.

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The Egyptian women festival entitled “Haya Masrya”, Arabic for she is an Egyptian, will be held under the auspices of Facebook for the first time and the National Council for Women (NCW) on 29 November at Sky Resort located in Fifth Settlement.

The festival is a one of the initiatives from the group of Egyptian Single Mothers, that was founded by Nermin Abou Salem, with a membership reaching 65,000 females.

Notably, Abou Salem was selected as a community work pioneer and a community ambassador for Facebook among 115 winners across the world as a culmination of her efforts in supporting female breadwinners across Egypt.

Abou Salem stated that the Haya Masrya festival is an Egyptian cultural, entertainment, and marketing festival for Egyptian women. Its goal is to send a message of love, appreciation, respect, and support to Egyptian women and to provide advice and gifts, all of which will be free of charge.

The festival also aims at supporting the idea of women`s ​​economic empowerment, social cohesion, as well as spreading awareness and promoting the idea of ​​social integration among all women. It also targets providing psychological and moral support for Egyptian women and honouring single mothers.

She explained that the festival includes a bazaar featuring products produced by single mothers, free recreational activities for women and children, and short awareness lectures in a number of areas of interest to women such as health, healthy food, fitness, beauty, skin care, mental health, modern educational methods, family relations, and business management skills.

Also, during the festival, Fostan Melwan film (colorful dress) will be screened, which is a short feature film that explains the concept of female independence, aiming to abolish its misconceptions in society..

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Ministry of Social Solidarity, PepsiCo Egypt and CARE Egypt to launch SFtW for women in agriculture https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/11/02/ministry-of-social-solidarity-pepsico-egypt-and-care-egypt-to-launch-sftw-for-women-in-agriculture/ Sat, 02 Nov 2019 11:06:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712779 The programme is with investments of $3.7m, and is expected to benefit 390,000 female small-scale producers and their families in Egypt

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The Ministry of Social Solidarity, PepsiCo Egypt, and CARE Egypt signed a partnership protocol to launch the three-year programme, She Feeds the World (SFtW).

The program aims to provide resources and good practices training to female farmers and their families to help increase crop yields and income in Beheira, Giza, Minya, and Beni Suef governorates. The programme is expected to benefit 390,000 female small-scale producers and their families, with investments of $3.7m.

SFtW will apply an integrated approach to address the primary barriers that female farmers face such as access to tools, inputs, financial services, agricultural training, and markets to sell their products.

It seeks to improve the nutritional wellbeing of 10,000 small-scale producer households with women of reproductive age and children under the age of two in the above governorates through promoting improved nutritional behaviour, water replenishment, private and public sector engagement, and improving access to reproductive resources. The programme also places emphasis on sustainable practices related to water use in agriculture.

CARE aims to integrate women’s empowerment activities to engage both women and men in addressing barriers of women’s entry to agricultural supply chains.

“This protocol is a true example of a partnership between the Ministry of Social Solidarity representing the public sector, CARE Egypt that represents civil society organisations, and the private sector represented by PepsiCo Egypt. We firmly believe that cooperation and integration is the best formula to achieving this programme’s great success,” said Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly.

“The Minister of Social Solidarity will also be supporting with a database that includes 30 million citizens, and SFtW will support with the “2 Kefaya” programmes launched by the ministry,” added Waly.

“This important programme is in line with our support for Egypt’s 2030 vision and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to achieve gender equality, especially in the agriculture sector – one of Egypt’s key national GDP contributors,” said CEO of PepsiCo Egypt  Mohamed Shelbaya.

“Women represent half of society, and it is our role to join hands with the public sector and NGOs to be able to make a positive impact on their lives and transform their biggest challenges into opportunities. SFtW will enable higher crop yields and grower incomes, improved community and household nutrition, reduced environmental impacts, and enhanced gender equity across four governorates,” Shelbaya added.

“When female farmers boost their production and generate more income, they send their children to school, feed their families nutritious meals, keep their kids healthy over the course of their lives, expand their businesses, employ others, and build savings to help them weather tough times. This is why CARE has launched SFtW, an initiative to empower women farmers in developing countries to better support themselves, their families and their communities,” said Hazem Fahmy, CARE Egypt’s country director and acting CEO of CARE Egypt Foundation.

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Age is just a number: 70-year-old Egyptian swimmer wins silver in South Korea’s World Masters https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/11/02/age-is-just-a-number-70-year-old-egyptian-swimmer-wins-silver-in-south-koreas-world-masters/ Sat, 02 Nov 2019 11:00:45 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712727 Al-Attar is considered an inspirational role model for all women, proving that age does not stop one from reaching their dream.

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“Age is just a number”, a phrase that’s often more preached than practised. While some may oppose it, others live by it every single day.

Days ago, a video of the 70-year-old Egyptian swimmer Sohair Al-Attar went viral, after winning the silver Medal at the 18th annual World Masters Championship in South Korea’s Gwangju that kicked off in August.

Al-Attar won the silver medal in the women’s 200m backstroke and was fourth in the 400m freestyle in addition to the 50m and 100m backstroke.

Not only is she a world-class swimmer associated with El-Gezira Sporting Club, but she is also a microbology and immunology professor at Cairo University, and is a practicing doctor at her own private hospital.

She is also a mother- of -two and is considered a source of pride for her family.

Al-Attar is considered an inspirational role model for all women, proving that age does not stop one from reaching their dream. She proves that age is not a barrier, it’s a limitation that people put on themselves.    

In an interview with Al-Attar, she stated that her journey with swimming started when she was a only seven years old. By the age of 11, she started competing in national competitions, and was a member of the national team. Then, she became one of the top swimmers in Egypt at that time, participating in a number of international competitions.

When she married, she put swimming on hold when she married to focus on being a mother, but she was able to continue her passion recreationally. She still swam on her free time and even found the time to participate in a few national competitions.

In 2004, things afterwards started to take a competitive turn for Al-Attar. She figured that with her swimming track record, she could beat some of the records at the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA).

Al-Attar had successfully made a strong comeback, participating in the 2015 FINA World Masters Championship in Russia and the 2017 championship in Budapest.

Al-Attar stated that her husband was the biggest supporter for her decision for returning to swimming.

She has successfully participated in 11 international competitions, but her path to success did not come easily.

“It’s a bit tough. Sometimes I say no, I’m just getting old. Why should I go for this? But I always throw all these thoughts out of my mind quickly, paying no attention to them,” she proudly continued. 

Al-Attar is able to find balance between her and her swimming career, as well as her home duties. She detailed how her day goes, saying she wakes up early every morning to train so by eight o’clock she’s at the hospital. Then after practicing swimming and medicine, she heads to the university, then returns back to the hospital before going home. If she has social obligations, she’ll attend that and then return home in order to get an early night’s sleep.

She asserted that her swimming career doesn’t negatively impact her social life, but helps her manages her time.

Al-Attar has always been independent, and due to her constant trainings, she has a strong faith in her capabilities to handle herself. “Thank God I do not need support or help,” she added.

After her husband passed away, she had to live by herself. When her children try to help out, she feels capable of handling herself mainly because of sports.

Al-Attar does not allow herself to get bogged down by the negative comments she gets. One time, a colleague asked her, “Do you think that with all your medals, you will get into heaven?”

“I used to answer that with a definite no, that my behaviour, thoughts, attitude and everything else, would take me to heaven, not my medals,” she affirmed.

She explained further that a few of her colleagues were wondering how a Muslim woman would put on a swimsuit, but Al-Attar never cared about what they said, believing that the person`s attitude, beliefs, and way of life is what takes them to heaven and not what they wore in their lifetime.

As a source of pride and inspiration for all women across the world, Al-Attar sends a message for all women, especially who are over 50, stressing that age is just a number.

Urging that trainings do not have to be hard, she elaborated that they can start off small, by taking walks maybe for five minutes, and then slowly increase the time duration as they go along. It will get into the women’s brain and soon enough get addicted to the routine.

“Exercising is not only for fitness; exercising is also for your morale. Your morale will do a complete 180,  if you exercise and go back home you will feel so great and you will be able to do everything,” she asserted.

Al-Attar revealed that she is preparing to participate in another swimming championship in Alexandria today and on Friday.

“As long as I’m living, I hope I can participate, and I always say participation is considered an achievement, the goal is not to win, it`s to participate which is quite good,” she revealed her future plans. Daily News Egypt wishes for her more medals and competitions to come.

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Halaet Wasl honours 100 Egyptian women in different fields https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/26/halaet-wasl-honours-100-egyptian-women-in-different-fields/ Sat, 26 Oct 2019 08:00:54 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712037 Fathi Al-Muzayen, chairperson of Halaet Wasl’s board of trustees said the conference comes out of the foundation’s strong belief in the pivotal role played by Egyptian women in public life, and their great gains after the 30 June Revolution.

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Halaet Wasl Foundation for promoting cultural awareness held the conference “I am an Egyptian woman,” last Friday, to support successful examples of Egyptian women, honouring 100 women in various fields including health, science, media, society, culture, charity, sports, and others.

Fathi Al-Muzayen, chairperson of Halaet Wasl’s board of trustees said the conference comes out of the foundation’s strong belief in the pivotal role played by Egyptian women in public life, and their great gains after the 30 June Revolution.

He added that it is necessary to shed light on the various successful stories of Egyptian women.

Al-Muzayen added that women now have the highest presence ever in the history of the Egyptian parliament and cabinet.

He assured that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is always keen to resolve all the problems faced by Egyptian women in various sectors.

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Egypt’s parliament approves new amendments to Alimony Law https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/26/egypts-parliament-approves-new-amendments-to-alimony-law/ Sat, 26 Oct 2019 07:30:43 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712045 New Beginning initiative believes toughening penalties was not enough

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The Parliament approved in a plenary session, held on Sunday evening, a draft law presented by the cabinet to amend some provisions of the Penal Code promulgated by Law No. 58 of 1937, known as the “Alimony Law”.

The draft law includes toughening the penalty on people who do not pay the alimony to their spouses after divorce, raising the delay fine from EGP 500 to EGP 5,000, and imprisonment for a year maximum.

In addition, the convicted shall be forbidden from using some public services until they pay the alimony.

President of the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsi, stated that the aim of the amendment is to confront those who evade payment of alimony.

She assured that this draft law also aims to protect the rights of women, and to secure a decent life for families in general, as well as to facilitate the job of the Nasser Social Bank which pays monthly financial aid for divorced women and their children.

Commenting on the parliament’s approval of the amendments, Morsi described it as a new gain to Egyptian women that will also benefit children, as reported by the state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).

Disagreeing with Morsi, Naglaa Ayyad, founder of the New Beginning initiative, which aims to help divorced women overcome society’s stereotypical perspective concerning divorce, told Daily News Egypt that hardening penalties is not enough.

She asserted that the more the penalty is harsh, the more people will abide by the law.

Ayyad called on the parliament to increase the punishment in the law to three years in prison and EGP 50,000 fine.

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Between Two Seas unravels women’s struggles against cultural misconceptions https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/26/between-two-seas-in-bahrain-unravels-womens-struggle-against-cultural-misconceptions/ Sat, 26 Oct 2019 07:00:54 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=712033 This is what exactly the Bein Bahrain film (Between two seas) tackles. When you hear the film’s name for the very first time, people might think it’s about a geographical place or an issue related to nature. But through this one, the scriptwriter targeted a much deeper issue.

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In Egypt, especially in rural areas, women are still struggling for their empowerment, either through fighting against cultural misconceptions, or to even realise that some of the values they were raised to believe in are problematic.

This is what exactly the Bein Bahrain film (Between two seas) tackles. When you hear the film’s name for the very first time, people might think it’s about a geographical place or an issue related to nature. But through this one, the scriptwriter targeted a much deeper issue.

Last Thursday, the film was officially screened in cinema theatres across Egypt, and its premiere was last Wednesday.

When asked about the film’s name, co-scriptwriter Amani El Tunsi told Daily News Egypt that they chose this name to represent the difference between the sea of ignorance and knowledge, also describing the  location of the film’s events, which is Geziret El-Dahab in Maadi district, Cairo.

Maya Morsi (R) with the Japanese Ambassador to Egypt

Film review

The film was directed by Anas Tolba, written by Mariam Naoum, and the script was written by Amani El Tunsi, starring Fatma Adel, Yara Gubran, Tharaa Jubail, Mahmoud Fares, Arfa Abdel Rassoul, and Lobna Wanas.

The film was produced by Axeer media production company, and the executive producer Abdelrahman Al-Garawany, while the marketing and distribution was managed by MAD Solutions.

The film is the outcome of a joint collaboration between the National Council for Women, the United Nations Women, Axeer, and some development partners, out of their belief in the role of cinema in changing cultural misconceptions towards women in different societies.

“This film is one of the projects supported by Japan through the UN Women to improve the status of women,” the Japanese ambassador to Egypt, Masaki Noke, told Daily News Egypt.

The film sheds light on different societal issues, especially in rural areas, through three different story lines.

The three main characters of the film may seem alike, but they deliver different messages to the audience concerning different issues.

Throughout the film, the role of education in impacting one’s perceptions and problem-solving skills is evident. Despite the fact that all three characters live within the same culture, their reactions to situations differed.

The film might seem exclusively focusing on female genital mutilation (FGM), however, it displays various issues as well.

The film takes the audience through a journey of females’ sufferings in rural areas ever since their birth. They first struggle against the patriarchal society that prefers males over females. Moving on to their struggles with cultural misconceptions, such as FGM, early marriage, and subsequently deprivation from education and work. They were raised on the dependency on men, feeling less confident to achieve anything on their own.

One of the three characters of the film was trying to fight against the problematic cultural norms, raised on different values, however, she still suffers from being surrounded by a community that is against women’s basic rights.

Amani El Tunsi

Meanwhile, the other two characters themselves faced severe problems from the very beginning, including deprivation from education and domestic violence, before a plot twist that changed their mindsets. Accordingly, they started trying to work on themselves to achieve what they once thought was impossible.

The three protagonists are portrayed fighting for different forms of empowerment until they reach it at the end.

The film really succeeded in presenting its messages in a very clear and simple way, touching the audience, making them relate to the characters.

Although it might be seen as rough, leaving views with heavy-hearts, it reflected the truth.

Daily News Egypt attended the premiere screening of the film, meeting the people behind it to learn more about the idea.

How did they come up with the film’s idea?

According to the NCW’s President Maya Morsi, Bein Bahrain is considered the first feature film to discuss societal problems of women especially in rural areas. Hence, it was crucial to ask how they came up with its idea.

Maha Rateb, communication and advocacy analyst at UN Women, told DNE that in 2016, together with its main partner the NCW, it produced the song titled “Nour,” which aimed to raise awareness among the people on fighting violence against women.

“Since then, we realised the impact of cinema and arts in changing the negative cultures and perceptions, so we decided to produce a movie that touches the societal problems that women face,” she added.

“As we are leaving now the technology age, so we have to reach the people through creative ways not traditional ones,” she asserted

The film was written in a year

Rateb told DNE that as soon as they decided to produce a film dedicated to women’s societal issues, they had to choose a suitable writer for the film.

“We chose Mariam Naoum as she knows how to reach out to the people, in addition to her clear history of the feminism writing which portrayed women’s problems,” she said.

Rateb explained that the UN Women and the NCW’s representatives met many times to discuss with Naoum the problems that they believe women face on the ground based on their researches.

“Naoum listened carefully and turned them into amazing writing,” Rateb continued.

Naoum, then, decided to hold a workshop for writing the film, choosing Amani El Tunsi as the scriptwriter, who also added her insights for every character.

El Tunsi stated that the film took a whole year of writing, asserting that behind every character, there is a specific message that the writer aims to deliver to the audience.

Meanwhile, Morsi told Daily News Egypt that unfortunately the arts still do not reflect the real role of women in society, thus through this film the NCW and its partners are trying to change both people’s mindsets and stereotypes.

Morsi stated that this film is not commercial as it is not the type that audiences prefer to buy tickets for, however, she is calling on all the citizens to go and watch it.

Japan works with UN Women to empower Egyptian woman

The Japanese ambassador to Egypt told Daily News Egypt that the embassy has been working with the UN Women for three years.

“Our funds to UN Women’s activities and work are still ongoing, and this film is considered one of the products of this cooperation to change the inappropriate mindsets that hinder women’s role in society,” he added.

The ambassador also referred to FGM as a sensitive topic, that is very dangerous and affects both the females and the society.

“I would very much hope that this film helps people better understand the repercussions of this practice,” he asserted.

How can the film have a real impact on society?

All the filmmakers assured that the film’s aim is not commercial, but to have a real impact on the society. The question that should be raised is how the film could impact society, especially as the category that the film targets may not afford the tickets.

In response, Morsi and Rateb said that they are working on a plan to make public screenings across Egypt, free of charge, so that the film can reach all people.

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Egyptian woman wins TIAW World of Difference award for women economic empowerment https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/18/egyptian-woman-wins-tiaw-world-of-difference-award-for-women-economic-empowerment/ Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:00:51 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=711266 The World of Difference award is a recognition and appreciation to the world’s outstanding corporative initiatives for women’s economic empowerment.

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Owing to her initiative to establish female economic empowerment, the founder of Businessita, Soha El Baklawy, has won the World of Difference award from the International Alliance for Women (TIAW) and Wound Care Education Institute, supported by the United Nations Women, to be the first Egyptian to win the award.

The World of Difference award is a recognition and appreciation to the world’s outstanding corporative initiatives for women’s economic empowerment.

El Baklawy expressed her delight for placing Egypt on the world’s map for woman entrepreneurship. She also showed her gratefulness for getting the opportunity to join TIAW as a vice president and social entrepreneurship board member.

She pointed out that such an opportunity has escalated her accountability with regard to further research and development to enhance woman entrepreneurship in Egypt, creating fellowship programmes with the support of national and international associations.

Businessita targets women from the ages of 18 to 65, with professional and nonprofessional backgrounds, who want to start or to develop their businesses and careers. Through mentorship, trainings, and business consultations, the initiative provides women with “a stop shop” for their business inquiries supporting their business models. The initiative helps women achieve their business goals and excel as they develop professionally.

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Customary marriage: the only alternative for divorced women in Egypt? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/18/customary-marriage-the-only-alternative-for-divorced-women-in-egypt/ Fri, 18 Oct 2019 07:00:42 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=711265 With these conversations, a divorced woman who prefers to remain anonymous asked her lawyer friend, “if a divorced woman wants to remarry, but is afraid of losing her children’s custody, what should she do?”

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In front of the family courts across the streets of Egypt, women gather, waiting for the next hearing of their children’s alimony case, sharing their experiences with one another.

With these conversations, a divorced woman who prefers to remain anonymous asked her lawyer friend, “if a divorced woman wants to remarry, but is afraid of losing her children’s custody, what should she do?”

“If a divorced woman remarried, her custody will fall, but there is another alternative solution, marrying through the customary marriage,” her friend answered.

Why resort to customary marriage?

Customary marriage (urfi) is a type of marriage where people marry according to their customs, and not the country’s laws.

“Many divorced women resort to the trick of customary marriage after their divorce, because they fear dropping the custody of their children,” says Naglaa Ayad, founder of the New Beginning initiative, which aims at helping divorced women overcome society’s stereotypes against divorcees.

Another reason for using customary marriage is to keep their fathers’ pensions since most divorcees depend on it, based on the law value of the alimony, Ayad added.

She asserted that divorcees face a lot of humiliation when they are trying to get their children’s alimony, as it takes two to three years to receive it. Accordingly, most women depend on the pensions.

“Imagine if a woman does not work, how can she fulfil the financial demands of her children and her house? Meanwhile, the alimony’s value is decided by the judge according to the financial conditions of the husband,” she further explained.

This gives room for the husband to fabricate the documents that prove his financial conditions, and hence construes the judge’s decision on a fair alimony value.

In that context, another 36-year-old divorced woman who works as a teacher and prefers to remain anonymous told Daily News Egypt (DNE) that she divorced her ex-husband 10 years ago and suffered a lot to take her alimony. Responsible for a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, she pointed out that her husband gives her only EGP 120 alimony every month, which is a very low income to support two children.

She said that her total income is EGP 1,120, of which she receives just EGP 120 alimony, EGP 400 from her father’s pension, and EGP 600 from her salary.

The divorced woman stressed that despite of all these economic challenges, she has never asked anyone for money and never told anyone that she is suffering.

“But now it is my right to get married, but I don`t want to loss both the custody of my children and the pension of my father that represents a great solution for the economic crisis that every divorced woman faces,” she added.

“To be honest, I am not happy with being married through customary marriage like a teenager, but the law forced us to use it so we don’t lose everything,” she said.

Both divorcees asserted that they have never imagined that they would marry through customary marriage before, but the law and their situation forced them.

Legal point of view

With regards to the legal perspective, DNE asked Ahmed Abedein, a lawyer specialised in personal status issues about, the reasons why a judge decides to drop the mother’s custody over her children.

He stated that the mother’s custody can be dropped if she got married, died, or has a severe disease or any psychological problems.

Abedein explained that a lot of women now resort to customary marriage, through which women lose all her rights.

Agreeing with Abedein, chairperson of the marriage officials syndicate, Selim Ibrahim Montaser stated that a lot of women resort to customary marriage in order to maintain children’s custody or the pension,  which is a great mistake.

He explained that through this marriage, a woman loses her legitimate rights and does not guarantee them.

Is it religiously acceptable (halal)?

Montaser stated that from a religious point of view, the customary marriage in general is halal if it meets the required conditions of getting married in Islam which are making the marriage known to the public, having witnesses over the marriage contract, and the woman’s acceptance of the marriage.

He continued that the pension money that women receive after marriage becomes religiously inacceptable as she does not deserve it in that case.

“I personally do not prefer the customary marriage. We witnessed some cases where the ex-husband accuses his divorcee of establishing an illegal relationship with a man which will damage her reputation and force her to show the customary marriage contract,” he said.

Call for action

Ayad concluded that women are oppressed in all aspects of life, especially as they alone bear the responsibility of children after divorce.

She stated that at first she is oppressed when she waits for the alimony, then with an unfair alimony, and finally through the law that prohibits her from her father’s pension if she wants to remarry.

For her part, Azza Soliman, the President of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, stated that taking custody from the mother when she remarries is a clear injustice to her.

“Women who are subjected to injustice, discrimination, and violence in the private sphere cannot participate in the public sphere effectively and freely as long as they are legally and socially punished by the assignment of rights to obtain another,” she said.

She assured that dropping custody from the mother in the event of her second marriage can have psychological and social consequences that will negatively affect the child.

Finally, Ayad and Soliman both asserted the need to reconsider the personal status law in Egypt especially in terms of the custody of children.

Meanwhile, both divorced women that were aforementioned assured that they resorted to the customary marriage as it was the only solution, demanding from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi to reconsider the personal status law, and to intervene quickly to solve this problem.

They described the child custody issues as a crisis that impacts both women and their children.

“Women are suffering at all spheres of live, we try to facilitate for them their only hope and their basic right,” one of them asserted.

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Women generate 30,000 financial transactions worth EGP1m through “Heya Fawry,” initiative https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/10/16/women-generate-30000-financial-transactions-worth-egp1m-through-heya-fawry-initiative/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 18:52:12 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=711165 We are targeting 600 additional women to benefit from the initiative in the next six months: AWEF`s Egypt country Director says 

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Women generate 30,000 financial transactions worth EGP1m through the Heya Fawry initiative reaching 150 Egyptian women across Egypt, according to the Arab Women`s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) Egypt Country Director, Yomna Mustafa.

The Heya Fawry initiative is the very first female e-payment agent network in Egypt that aims to empower low income women who either own retail shop, are home workers, or unemployed to become its agents, and encourage other female consumers in their local communities to access e-payments services and consumer goods.

The initiative is a joint effort between the private sector in which Fawry partners with Unliver, transnational consumer goods company, and insurance firm AXA, and several Egyptian NGOS including Baheya, Mersal, Resala, Plan International, and the AWEF programme.

On Tuesday, the initiative announced the official launching of the second phase of the e-payment network at a press conference at the Brutish Embassy.

As part of the six-month pilot phase, Mustafa explained during the conference that 150 women were successfully trained and received point of sales machines to act as Haya Fawry agents.

She declared that in the next few months, Heya Fawry partners will jointly scale up the initiative to attract more and more agents, targeting to 600 additional women during the next few months.

Mustafa asserted that the initiative is considered a great opportunity to increase women’s employment opportunities in Egypt, which will positively impact financial inclusion.

She revealed that the success of the initiative is due to the partnership with the private sector and a number of charities and associations.

The British ambassador to Egypt, Geoffrey Adams stated the embassy praised the

Egyptian government’s efforts in providing and supporting women in financial inclusion.

The ambassador added that the percentage of female employment is increasing annually, helping women become more independent.

He pointed out that there are great attempts by the Egyptian government to encourage women to be independent, adding that the initiative is an immediate and good example that proves Egyptian women can work well.

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NCW issues e-catalogue to empower women economically https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/29/ncw-issues-e-catalogue-to-empower-women-economically/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 20:01:50 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=709457 catalogue includes 23 women entrepreneurs, and contains more than 60 products.

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The National Council for women (NCW) issued the electronic catalogue Masria 3 (Egyptian female) on Tuesday, which is part of the Creativity from Egypt initiative.

The catalogue includes 23 women entrepreneurs, and contains more than 60 products. It also showcases the success stories of female entrepreneurs, as well as obstacles they faced during their work.

Through this catalog, the NCW aims to help women open new marketing channels for small and medium enterprises.

The NCW said that issuing this catalogue is part of the council’s efforts to empower women economically.

The former two editions of the catalogue included more than 55 women entrepreneurs.

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L’Oréal Egypt launches 4th Skin and Hair Summit https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/29/loreal-egypt-launches-4th-skin-and-hair-summit/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 19:59:09 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=709463 L’Oréal launches SkinAlliance platform to exchange research studies of dermatology

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L’Oréal Egypt has launched the fourth edition of its annual skin and hair care event, titled Skin and Hair Summit, in the presence of more than 400 leading dermatologists in Egypt. The conference discussed the latest studies and researches on the latest international developments in the skin and hair health.

Mohamed El Araby, General Manager of Active Cosmetics Divion in L’Oréal Egypt, said the summit confirms L’Oréal’s interest and commitment towards the development of skin and hair health sector in Egypt through providing the latest studies in this field under one umbrella, which is this summit.

He announced that L’Oréal has launched a new electronic platform, SkinAlliance, in the Egyptian market to enable dermatologists in Egypt to access the latest research and laboratory studies, and exchange experience among physicians around the world.

El Araby told Daily News Egypt that L’Oréal aims to attract 600 Egyptian doctors to join the platform by the end of year.

Rehab Hegazy, a dermatologist and cosmetics consultant, said the SkinAlliance is one of the largest platforms that provide the opportunity for experience exchange among dermatologists in 120 countries.

To access the platform, dermatologists are required to submit their curriculum vitarum.

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Women have the required qualifications to work in any sector: AIWF founder https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/29/women-have-the-required-qualifications-to-work-in-any-sector-aiwf-founder/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 18:57:08 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=709454 “If we make the economy less bureaucratic, it will become easier to do business,” says Al-Kaylani

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The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) has joined forces with the American University in Cairo (AUC), to hold this year’s AIWF conference, under the theme “Women as Engines of Economic Growth”, last week.

The conference focused on empowering women innovators, entrepreneurs, executives, and educators to fulfil the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Daily News Egypt interviewed AIWF Founder and Chairperson, Haifa Al-Kaylani, to discuss the status of women economic empowerment in Egypt, what is new in this edition of the AIWF conference, and its impact on women empowerment.

Al-Kaylani was appointed as a commissioner in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work in August 2017.

How did the idea of the forum originate? And what are its main targets?

The AIWF has been established 18 years ago in London. I was an economist who wanted to advocate for the need of developing women to achieve development in the Arab world, working together as women and men. When we started the AIWF, there were a lot of stereotypes about women, but the international community wanted to break them. Hence, this forum showcases women’s success stories. Our motto is “Building Bridges, Building Business” to establish knowledge and understanding that affect change. Accordingly, we hold conferences in Arab and foreign capitals.

Economy is at the heart of what the AIWF believes in. We believe the prosperity and stability of the Arab region occurs if we activate our economies, and the only way we see for activating our economies is employing a half of the society (women).

What was new in this edition?

This edition was extremely important because it focused not only on women in business or on director boards, but it also focused on women in small and medium sized enterprises, and the agricultural sector. We also tackled the role of policy makers, and the future of women and youth employment in light of the high technological development.

How would this forum empower women or impact the society?

Every conference of the AIWF produces recommendations based on the outcomes of its sessions. Afterwards, we send the reports to Arab and foreign governments, policymakers in the World Bank, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the United Nations. We also work closely with the media to get reports published about the conference’s recommendations.

How can you evaluate the status of women’s economic empowerment in Egypt?

We truly believe that women in Egypt and in the wider Arab region, have been empowered by the excellent education, and by the government’s investments in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Women are truly entering the economy, and setting up small businesses. Women’s role in Egypt is extremely important, they are already playing a huge role as engines of economic growth, yet we still face challenges in the Arab region.

What are these challenges?

Women usually face different challenges than those faced by men when they start a business, including access to legal advice, technical knowledge, and financial resources. Acquiring these elements would help women who have good ideas, to create jobs and become financially independent.

In order to fully empower women in Egypt, do you think we need to change the people’s mindsets, change related laws, or have clear directions from the political leadership?

We need all of them. We need first of all to ensure women’s rights to set up a business. We need the law to support women’s financial rights, not only human rights. By financial rights I mean she should have the right to spend her salary in whatever she wishes. We need a good ecosystem and financial inclusion for women.

In your opinion, what are the reasons behind the great participation of women in the informal sector?

I think it is easier to enter the informal sector, as it’s less complicated. This is why we are saying if we make the rest of the economy less bureaucratic, it will become easier to do business, and accordingly have more female participation.

In your opinion, what are the promising sectors for women in Egypt?

I think every sector is promising for women. I am not going to specify certain sectors. I want to stress that Egyptian women have the required qualifications and skills to work in any sector.

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Women as Engines of Economic Growth https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/20/women-as-engines-of-economic-growth/ Fri, 20 Sep 2019 20:59:04 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=708542 The conference brought into focus the vital contributions of women leaders in economic growth across the MENA states, and the importance of supporting their development in key positions in public institutions and companies, which is a key national priority in Egypt.

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The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) and the American University in Cairo (AUC), jointly held a major conference on Tuesday as part of the AUC’s centennial celebration dubbed ‘Women as Engines of Economic Growth.’

The conference focused on empowering women innovators, entrepreneurs, executives, and educators toward the fulfilment of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region.

The conference brought into focus the vital contributions of women leaders in economic growth across the MENA states, and the importance of supporting their development in key positions in public institutions and companies, which is a key national priority in Egypt.

It concluded with key reflections on the future of work challenges and opportunities in the MENA region and globally.

The AIWF is a non-profit development organisation focused on women’s development and youth empowerment headquartered in London and founded in 2001 by Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani.

Gender equality= sustainable economic growth

The Founder and Chairperson of the AIWF, Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, began her speech by asserting that sustainable and inclusive economic growth is a clear priority for the MENA states, noting that it will only be achieved with the full engagement of young people and the rightful participation and valuable contributions of women who make up half of the Arab population.

Agreeing with Al Kaylani, the Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform, Hala Al-Saeed, asserted that gender equality is at the heart of sustainable development in any country, noting that it is an issue at the core of the UN’s SDGs.

Leveraging Women’s Successes in MENA region

Al Kaylani stated that it is always important to acknowledge what has been achieved in order to build on it for the future, noting that throughout the MENA region, women are increasingly taking on high-level leadership positions in business, public service, the judiciary, and legislature. She noted that women are rapidly advancing in professions previously dominated by men, including finance, aviation, business, technology, academia, research, and STEM careers, challenging gender bias in nearly every sector and sphere.

She added that Arab women are commanding a greater presence in corporate boards, in senior executive leadership positions, and in top jobs at multinational and family-owned businesses.

Al Kaylani pointed out that in most Arab countries, women are also successfully assuming positions of leadership in public service and international relations, and are increasingly being elected and appointed to political, diplomatic, and development roles, giving women a greater voice in legislative reform throughout the region.

“The overall rate of parliamentary participation of women in Arab States is, as of April 2019, 18.1% (up from 13% in 2012 and 9% in 2010, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union),” she revealed.

Al Kaylani showed that in Tunisia and Algeria, Electoral Law in both countries now includes a quota that women should comprise half of the candidates on political party lists.

“Last year, Jordanian women also celebrated a record number of female ministers, with seven women appointed to cabinet seats out of 29 cabinet seats in the new government,” according to Al Kaylani.

“Morocco also has some of the most gender progressive laws in the region and one of the largest percentages of women in parliament – around 20.5% in 2018, surpassing the quota that mandates 15% of parliamentary seats for women,” she added.

She mentioned that this is in addition to senior cabinet positions, noting that more Arab women than ever before are serving as governors, ambassadors, and leading diplomatic figures, and are also levelling the playing field in law and politics, breaking new ground at the highest levels of the judiciary.

Adding to what Al Kaylani said, Al-Saeed mentioned that over the past decade, the MENA region has taken great steps in health, education, and in all issues related to gender equality.

She asserted that these are just a few cases of the strong actions taken by governments in the MENA region on the political front, which are significantly reflected in the rising percentage of women’s participation in all fields.

Leveraging women’s success in Egypt

Talking about women`s achievements in Egypt, President of the National Council for Women(NCW), Maya Morsi, stated that the NCW prepared in 2017 the national strategy for Egyptian women’s empowerment 2030, which emanates from the vision of Egypt 2030, in cooperation with a large number of bodies, ministries, national councils, and civil society organisations.

Morsi pointed out that for the first time, women represent 25% of Egypt’s Cabinet.

In June 2018, for the first time in Egyptian history and under the inspired leadership of the President of the republic, the Egyptian Cabinet announced the appointments of eight female ministers.

She stated that the presence of women in various decision-making positions contributes to changing the mindset of people, changing the negative social perception of the limited roles that women can play in society and their contribution in all fields.

In that context, Al-Saeed said that the representation of women in Egypt’s Cabinet is higher than America and Portugal.

“It’s not a matter of increasing the numbers of female ministries in the cabinet, but what really matters is that these female ministries are running one of the key ministries in the country,” Morsi said proudly.

For her part, Al Kaylani described this achievement as a landmark for Egyptian women leaders in political and public life.

Al-Saeed also mentioned the increase in the number of female representatives in Egypt’s Parliament, which currently sits at 15%, up from only 2% in 2012.

“Women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of Egypt’s vision, which aims to provide equal participation with men in all fields,” she asserted.

Al-Saeed declared that Egypt aims to increase women’s engagement in the workforce from below 25% to 35%, while dropping the unemployment rate among females.

In that context, she mentioned that the female unemployment rate has dropped from 24% between 2011-2017, to 19% in 2018.

“To date, significant progress has been made in the implementation of Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy, which has set gender targets to reduce female unemployment and increase female formal labour participation, ” Al Kaylani asserted.

Notably, the President of Egypt and the President of the NCW had declared 2017 the Year of Egyptian Women.

Al Kaylani also stated that Egypt is further making excellent progress on financial inclusion, having adopted the Maya Declaration which champions financial inclusion and contributes to SDG 1 on the elimination of poverty.

Regarding financial inclusion, Al-Saeed revealed that the percentage of women that experience financial inclusion in Egypt has increased to 27% in 2018, up from only 9% in 2012.

Addressing challenges to women’s economic empowerment in the MENA region

Arab and international business communities are taking note of women’s remarkable progress, their energy, and their aptitude for meaningfully contributing to the economic prosperity of the region. Leveraging these valuable achievements is key to addressing the empowerment challenges that remain for many women throughout the region.

For her part, Al-Saeed stated that despite of all the progress witnessed in the Arab world, women still face barriers keeping them from achieving their potential.

“The region faces considerable and highly unique demographic, economic, and resource-driven challenges,” Al Kaylani explained.

She mentioned that as a result of these challenges, many Arab governments have prioritised their national economic development agenda parameters, including sustainable economic diversification and development in order to meet core SDGs on poverty, water and food security, and humanitarian obligations toward refugees and the internally displaced, in addition to addressing youth unemployment in the region, all while improving the low rates of women’s participation in the economy and in parliament.

Al Kaylani mentioned that the conference sessions addressed key development challenges in the region.

“We need to bring to light challenges and opportunities for women’s leadership and gender diversity on corporate boards and in family businesses. We also need to address women’s inclusion and participation in the MENA economy, with emphasis on women’s entrepreneurship and SMEs development, as well as women in the rural or agricultural sectors and women in the informal economy,” she said.

“There is great importance to assert women’s critical role in public service and policymaking to advance legislative reform and societal progress, in order to effectively address the issue of women’s under-participation in this sphere,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Al-Saeed stated that there is an urgent need in the Arab world in general, and in Egypt specifically, to focus on improving the quality of education, which has proven to impact women’s self- esteem and desire to achieve decision-making positions.

She explained that there is a positive correlation between the mothers who received a higher-level education and the daughter’s chances to access education. In addition, women are found to have benefited more than men from higher education to apply in the labour market.

According to Al-Saeed, “Supporting women’s organisations is a necessity that can transform women’s access to paid work and, in turn, empower women and allow them to be more active citizens. This includes entrepreneurship policies that bring better access to finance, and a variety of other non-financial services.”

She also mentioned the necessity of encouraging more women to use information and communication technology, describing it as a promising field for improving women’s engagement in the labour market and as a tool to empower agency in the fourth industry revolution.

Meanwhile, Morsi referred to the importance of legislative reform to ensure the rights of women and girls in various fields, and to provide equal opportunities for them.

She asserted that many laws have been issued for preserving women’s rights and participation in the economic, social, and political life, such as Investment Laws and laws against sexual harassment, in addition to the Inheritance Law.

Morsi also pointed out that Labour Laws that give women in the government sector more rights, in addition to adopting the policies by the ministry of social solidarity, may increase the participation of women in the labour market.

She also suggested cooperation between the NCW and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to raise awareness among women on financial inclusion.

Morsi also confirmed that the NCW seeks to increase women’s participation in the field of entrepreneurship and to eliminate economic illiteracy among women.

Finally, the president called on the private sector to adopt more policies that would grant increased rights to women in order to strenthen their participation in the sector, noting that strong women are determined to play a role in society and bring about change.

She called on women and girls to believe in their power, and to create the engine of their future that will break glass barriers and obstacles standing in their way.

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Women’s cinema in Egypt is characterised by diversity, abundance of production https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/13/womens-cinema-in-egypt-is-characterised-by-diversity-abundance-of-production/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 12:20:15 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=707879 Notably, the next edition of the Valencia film Festival will be held from 24 October to 3 November in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

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The Artistic Director of the Valencia film Festival, Eduardo Guillot, said that women’s cinema in Egypt is characterised by diversity and an abundance of production.

He added during the seminar, which was organised by the ambassador of Spain to Egypt, Ramón Gil–Casares at the Institute of Cervantes, about the cinematic works presented by Egyptian female directors.

Notably, the next edition of the Valencia film Festival will be held from 24 October to 3 November in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia.

The festival is considered a meeting point between different cultures in the Mediterranean countries. Among its selections, it will screen films directed by the most important contemporary Egyptian female directors including, Kamela Abu Zekri; Sandra Nashaat; Ayten Amin; Maryam Abu Ouf; Hala Khalil; Hala Lotfy, and Amal Ramsis.

“This year, Egypt was chosen because it offers a cinema that is famous in all Arab countries, and it also features abundant production,” he stated.

“After research, we found that the recent years witnessed the presence of female directors who offer a variety and distinctive perspectives in their films,” he concluded.

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NCCM stopped child marriage case in Gharbeya https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/13/nccm-stopped-child-marriage-case-in-gharbeya/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 12:00:05 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=707873 Subsequently, Secretary General of the NCCM, Azza El Ashmawy, notified the child hotline to take legal action.

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Egypt’s National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) announced that it realised on social media platforms photos and posts about an engagement ceremony for two children aged 15 and 12-years-old in an apartment in Kafr Hassan village located in Samannoud City in Gharbeya. Therefore, they decided to intervene to stop this marriage.

Subsequently, Secretary General of the NCCM, Azza El Ashmawy, notified the child hotline to take legal action.

El- Ashmawy stated that the NCCM informed the public prosecution about the incident in order to take legal action, with the aim of preventing the completion of this marriage until children reach the legal age of 18, as the Egyptian Marriage Laws set the legal age of marriage at 18.

Furthermore, El Ashmawy said that the general committee for the protection of childhood in the governorate of Gharbeya met with the families of the two children and offered counselling services and advice of the dangers and harms of early marriage, and took the necessary steps for the families not to marry the children off before they reach the legal age.

For her part, Sakina Fouad, adviser to former interim president Adly Mansour for women’s affairs, expressed her happiness with the NCCM’s intervention, asserting that child marriage is considered a violation of childhood, and should be considered as child trafficking.

“Economic conditions and the lack of girls’ awareness about their rights as well as the parents’ exploitation of some girls’ weaknesses, and their lack of awareness of their rights, are all reasons behind the hike in the number of child marriages in Egypt,” she explained.

She elaborated further that this negative practice already existed, but what helped it return at such high rates in 2013 was when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in the country. At the time, the Brotherhood predominant parliament proposed a law to drop the minimum age for female marriage to 16-years-old, but happily, Fouad said, parliament was dissolved before the law was approved.

“Unfortunately, the crime still exists. Yet trafficking in the name of religion and using it as a cover for backwardness and extremism is the base of the matter, which is a violation of the wellbeing of the girl and the rights of women,” Fouad asserted.

She concluded that there is a need to increase religious awareness of the true religion, noting that religious awareness is what will prevent this negative practice.

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