Women – Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Tue, 10 Dec 2019 23:45:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 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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OECD praised Egypt’s empowerment of women, however, much needs to be done https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/13/oecd-praised-egypts-empowerment-of-women-however-much-needs-to-be-done/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 11:40:09 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=707871 Furthermore, she pointed out that Egypt plays an important role in the region in terms of empowering women, noting that many African countries have taken Egypt as a leading example in the implementation of economic reforms related to the empowerment of women.

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The Chief of Staff of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Gabriela Ramos, thanked Egypt President, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi for the presence of eight female ministers in the Egyptian government, praising the country’s agenda for empowering women.

She added that the OECD seeks to support the Egyptian government’s plans to empower women. It also supports the state on its economic reform agenda, praising what Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, has accomplished regarding empowering women in the Investment Law.

Her remarks came during the National Discussion Conference for the Women’s Economic Empowerment, which was organized by the OECD, in cooperation with Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, and the Swedish embassy.

Furthermore, she pointed out that Egypt plays an important role in the region in terms of empowering women, noting that many African countries have taken Egypt as a leading example in the implementation of economic reforms related to the empowerment of women.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC), said that the ministry is working on legislative reforms and investment policies to improve the economic empowerment of women, as well as to attract investors to inject new investments in Egypt, especially businesswomen.

She explained that the ministry has cooperated with the OECD in improving the investment environment and the empowerment of women, asserting that the state looks forward for further partnerships with the organisation.

The minister pointed out that the MIIC focuses on attracting more investments to provide job opportunities for women and youth, which contributes to their empowerment.

Moreover, Nasr asserted that since the beginning of her term, the political leadership has directed all the ministers to support women’s empowerment in all fields.

Nasr referred to the New Investment Law, mentioning for the first time in Egypt’s history an article on the Investment Law is allocated with the aim of achieving women’s economic empowerment.

Women have already benefited from economic empowerment programmes, especially the initiatives of the MIIC to finance women entrepreneurs, to become businesswomen, She shared.

The minister pointed out that all projects are coordinated with the National Council for Women (NCW) and the relevant ministries to have a proportion of women in all institutions, pointing out that the state is investing in human capital, especially in health and education in order to benefit women.

For her part, President of the NCW, Maya Morsi, asserted that Egyptian women played a big role in the economic empowerment agenda. There are eight women ministers representing 25% of the cabinet.

She also highlighted that the percentage of women in the cabinet will reach 25% in the next cabinet formation.

She thanked the minister for her efforts in empowering women and businesswomen, pointing out that the NCW has a strategy for women’s empowerment, which includes four axes: economic empowerment, decision-making, leadership, social protection, legislation and social change.

Morsi also praised the Investment Law for providing equal opportunities for women with men.

Furthermore, Morsi said that the Investment Law’s provision on gender equality is important for economic empowerment, in addition to the New Inheritance Law which criminalises the infringement upon women’s inheritance rights, asserting that these are the outlets for women’s economic empowerment.

“Reforms by the MIIC in business will increase women’s participation at the economic level,” Morsi said.

Rapporteur of the National Population Council, Amr Hassan, added that one of the axes of the National Population Strategy 2015-2030, is the empowerment of women.

He explained that women`s empowerment is a solution to many social and economic problems, including FGM, early marriage, and the large increase in births, noting that these problems represent a continuous circle.

Randa Abulhassan said that the UNDP implemented a significant number of programmes to empower women, in cooperation with the Egyptian government.

“The situation would be much improved if women were made aware of their rights, since women’s empowerment would increase economic growth by 7%,” Abulhassan added.

Egyptian women aren’t engaged as equal agents of value creation in the Egyptian economy, and are by extension not involved in determining the direction of and means by which value is created for the Egyptian economy at large, according to the latest report of the World bank on Egyptian women’s economic empowerment.

The labour force in Egypt was estimated at 28.9 million in 2016, with females representing 24.2% of the total labour force. The labour force residing in rural areas is higher than that in urban areas (16.6 million and 12.3 million, respectively). The percentage of females is slightly higher in urban areas, at 24.9%, than in rural areas, at 23.7%,” Morsi declared earlier.

The number of employed females increased from nearly 23.8 million to 25.4 million between 2010 and 2016, corresponding to an average annual growth rate of 1%. The growth was three times higher among females than among males (2.26% and 0.73%, respectively). This increase improved the distorted male/female balance, as the percentage of female employees increased from 19.6% in 2010 to 21.1% in 2016, according to the report.

In 2016, the number of women in management positions as an employment percentage in Egypt was only 7.1%, according to Morsi.

Meanwhile, the Project Officer in Women’s Economic Empowerment at UN Women, Engy Amin, told Daily News Egypt that women’s representation in the labour force stands at only 22%, compared with 87% for men.

“Unfortunately, most women in Egypt work in the informal sector, and over 45% of women working in the agriculture sector are women,” she said.

Additionally, she explained that working in the informal sector has a lot of disadvantages including that women would lack any health insurance, pensions, in addition to adding no value to the country’s GDP.

“Egypt’s GDP will increase by 34% if females receive equal opportunities with men in the workplace,” she concluded.

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Egg freezing holds promise, but causes social blizzard in Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/09/05/egg-freezing-holds-promise-but-causes-social-blizzard-in-egypt/ Thu, 05 Sep 2019 14:15:17 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=707175 In brief, egg freezing is a solution to preserve a woman’s fertility, so she can get pregnant in the future. It involves extracting a woman's eggs (oocytes), freezing them, and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential for women.

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In a scene in the famous series, Sabea’ Gar (The Seventh Neighbour) a young single woman called Hala, 35, went to a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, asking about the possibility of freezing her ovarian eggs in a procedure called mature oocyte cryopreservation. Hala was driven to this operation because she’s afraid that she may be unable to reproduce after a certain age, so she needs to keep her reproduction chances alive until she gets married or until she wants to use them even if she did not marry. The doctor explained to Hala that she needs to learn more about the process, and explained to her that she should marry first as these eggs would need sperm for the in vitro fertilisation (IVF), but Hala was stubborn.

Hala in Sabea` Gar series

Actually, it was the first time for the Egyptian drama to shed the light on this issue causing a wide social debate about it. Many discussions were generated on social media, in which some females were against the idea, while others were for it, but almost all of them were wondering about the process, which showed that many women have never heard about it.

In brief, egg freezing is a solution to preserve a woman’s fertility, so she can get pregnant in the future. It involves extracting a woman’s eggs (oocytes), freezing them, and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential for women.

A woman’s chances of conceiving naturally decrease as she gets older because the quality and number of her eggs diminish. Egg freezing can be an attempt to preserve fertility by freezing the eggs when the woman is young and the eggs are of the highest quality.

The aforementioned debate reappeared again on social media days ago, when a single woman, called Reem Mahana, announced in a video on her Facebook account that she had frozen her eggs two years ago.

“I decided to announce publicly that I had frozen my eggs. Yes, I had frozen my eggs when I asked the doctor to make this surgery, he was shocked, telling me I have never been asked by any Egyptian woman to do this,” she said.

She conducted an abdominal ovum freezing surgery where her doctor conducted a laparoscopy to extract her eggs and freeze them. She noted that her frozen eggs would last for 20 or 30 years.

Mehanna said she froze her eggs because she wants to get married after 30 in order to build her career. She found that the best way to preserve her chance of becoming a mother was to have this operation. In addition, she is totally against the idea of getting married only to have a child.

Reem Mehana

Controversy

As the debates returned again on social media, Daily News Egypt dug further into that matter, taking the opinion of several females with different backgrounds on the topic.

Daliaa Ahmed, 25, said she is with the operation as it will save for any female her chance to become a mother, noting that it’s the right of any girl to decide when to have a baby.

Alaa Ali, 40, agreed with Ahmed unless this operation is Haram (religiously forbidden), as a lot of females get married only to have a child, and this desire blind them from choosing the right partners.

Disagreeing with both, Hanaa Ahmed, 50, said she is against this operation as she prefers women to have children normally because she fears mixing of lineages.

Hind Awad, 25, opposed the operation as females who did this operation would lose their virginity, so it is Haram.

Mechanism, virginity concern

DNE explored the discussions that appeared on social media in addition to interviewing different females from different categories, discovering that there are a lot of vague points in the topic from religious and medical views.

DNE also found that actually both types of people who are against or with this operation need to learn more about it.

Hence, DNE contacted Dr Hossam Al-Shenoufy, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Cairo University, about this operation, and he explained that the process of freezing eggs needs taking some drugs for three weeks to activate the ovaries and boost egg production.

“When they’re ready, we collect the eggs as is the case in the IVF, but the difference is that we freeze the eggs,” he said. “Then when the women want to get pregnant, we thaw them and fertilise them with sperms,” he continued.

As many girls expressed their concern about losing their virginity, Al-Shenoufy stated that “the process of collecting the eggs is done through vaginal ultrasonography, so the girl will lose her virginity but the doctor gives her a medical certificate proving that she lost her virginity due to this operation.”

“But if the female does not prefer to lose her virginity, we suggest another method for collecting the eggs which is abdomen laparoscopy,” he added.

Hossam Al-Shenoufy

A guarantee for women to get pregnant at any age?

Al-Shenoufy explained to DNE that the process of freezing eggs started in 2012 to give female cancer patients a chance to get pregnant after completing their treatment, noting that the best solution before 2012 was the IVF or the test tube babies.

Furthermore, Al-Shenoufy added that due to the rapid social changes including the delayed marriage age in addition to the high divorce rates, females became worried about their fertility as it will be declining, but they are not ready to have a child or they haven’t found the right partner, so they began to turn to the operation of freezing eggs.

“We want to differentiate between two types of egg freezing: the first is medical, while the second is social,” he continued.

Al-Shenoufy stated that the problem is that the eggs cannot withstand the freezing process as good as the embryo.

“It is not the same with frozen eggs. Many eggs get affected during the thawing process,” Al-Shenoufy revealed.

“According to the American Society of reproductive medicine (ASRM), the chance of getting pregnant from a frozen egg is around 6%,” he further explained.

In terms of the expiry date of the frozen eggs, he said that in the United States, the eggs are frozen for up to five years, with a maximum of 10 years according to the law.

“Thus, while egg freezing for social reasons should be offered to ladies, it is important to explain to them that it does not ensure getting pregnant at an older age. On the contrary, it has a very low chance of succeeding and also for a limited time since they freeze their eggs,” Al-Shenoufy concluded.

Risks and advantages

Al-Shenoufy explained that freezing eggs has an advantage as it gives women who suffer from cancer a chance to have a child even at an older age.

On contrary, he stated that the only risk that the woman is subjected to in the process of egg freezing is hyper stimulation syndrome, which means that if her ovaries are stimulated excessively with the production of a large number of eggs, she might suffer some severe health consequences. He asserted that this is the responsibility of the fertility specialists to ensure that this does not happen.

Hamed Abo Taleb

Halal or Haram?

As there are some debates over the freezing of eggs being halal or haram in Islam, Hamed Abo Taleb, Professor at Al-Azhar University, and member in the Islamic Research Academy stated to DNE that the process of freezing eggs to benefit from them later is a modern technology that can be utilised and it serves humanity.

“Therefore, Islam does not prohibit the use of this technique, but sets standards to ensure that it does not lead to what is forbidden (Haram),” Abo Taleb continued.

Among these standards, Abo Taleb revealed, is to use these eggs for fertilisation with a husband that is legally married to the owner of the frozen egg and to use the egg in the life of the husband, which means not to mix the egg of the female with the sperm of the husband after death.

“In addition, there is the collection of these frozen eggs in government centres to guarantee that the eggs cannot be tampered with other eggs, to prevent wrong mixing for genealogy,” Abo Taleb added.

“Overall, Islam does not prohibit the use of modern technologies as long as they do not conflict and do not lead to something Haram, but if they lead to something Haram, it is not permissible,” Abo Taleb concluded.

Following the debates which appeared on social media over the topic, Egypt’s Dar Al Ifta, declared a fatwa (religious edict) over the topic stating that freezing eggs is permissible and not prohibited but should be carried under four certain regulations or standards, including that the process of the fertilisation should be carried between a married couple who are the owners of the sperms and the eggs, and that the mixing of the sperm with the egg should be done in the lives of both and during their marriage, not after divorce for example.

In addition to keeping the fertilized eggs completely and safely under strict control, which prevents the deliberate or inadvertent mixing with other saved eggs.

The fertilised eggs and sperms should be injected into the uterus of the owner of the eggs, which means that females could not donate to another female a fertilised egg already mixed with another’s eggs and sperms.

While the last standard is to ensure that the process of freezing the eggs does not have negative side effects on the embryo, such as the occurrence of birth defects, or mental repercussions later in the child’s life.

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Women own only 5.2% of Egypt’s private lands: NCW https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/08/24/women-own-only-5-2-of-egypts-private-lands-ncw/ Sat, 24 Aug 2019 08:00:17 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=705919 30.8% of Egyptian females over 10 are illiterate, says study

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Women own only 5.2% of land in Egypt,” revealed a new study conducted by the National Council for Women in cooperation with the World Bank.

As full access to resources is a strong indicator of women’s empowerment, it is among the SDG targets that aim to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control of land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance, and natural resources, in accordance with the local laws.

“The Egyptian Civil and Commercial Code gives women the right to own and access land, however, an ownership gender gap is prevalent,” according to the study.

The survey mentioned that in rural areas, where land ownership is not only an asset but also reflects social class, families might tend to put pressure on women to sell land to male relatives, a situation which over time, places women at disadvantage both socially and economically.

The study also talked about education, reporting that acording to the 2017 census, 30.8% of Egyptian females over 10 are illiterate compared to 18.5% among men. This percentage is higher in rural reas reaching 38.5% among girls. The rate is also high in Upper Egypt, recording 45% in Minya and 44% in Beni Suef.

One in every four illiterate females is living in one of three governorates: Giza, Minya, or Beheira.

However, illiteracy among females varies according to age group, with higher illiteracy rates found in older age groups.

“Despite the large percentage of women who are illiterate, Egypt has achieved otable success in closing the educational gap, and most education statistics tend to favour women,” accoridng to the NCW.

It explained further that female students, even in rural areas, perform better in terms of achieving secondary education and obtaining their degrees.

Moreover, “the percentage of females earning the secondary school degree is higher than their male counterparts by 6-11% in rural areas of eight Upper Egypt governorates,” accoridng to the results of the study.

Likely, the report mentioned that the number of female students in universities (both public and private) exceeded the number of males, with females making up to 51% of the undergraduate enrollment in the academic year 2014/15.

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Saudi Arabia tries to limit masculinty in society https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/08/24/saudi-arabia-tries-to-limit-masculinty-in-society/ Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:30:26 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=705907 However, Saudi women did not surrender to this unfairness and opposed this situation, leading the government to make an amendment to travel and passport issuances in 2017.

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Saudi Arabia is now implementing some changes previously announced in the citizens’ civil rights, such as allowing adult women to travel abroad without permission from her “guardian” and to have more authority in family matters, the Saudi press agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

Under the Saudi law, all females must have a male guardian, typically a father, brother, husband or uncle, and all females need the permission of their guardians for marriage, divorce, travel, work, opening a bank account, and elective surgeries. The guardian is the main pillar in Saudi women’s lives which gives men unlimited authority over the family to the extent to depriving women from basic rights.

However, Saudi women did not surrender to this unfairness and opposed this situation, leading the government to make an amendment to travel and passport issuances in 2017.

Thus, if a Saudi woman’s guardian refuses her request to travel or obtain a passport, she can turn to a judge for urgent matters to give her the right without the guardian’s consent, unless this guardian has a “convincing reason” for prevention.

Notably, Saudi women have suffered a lot and have gone a long way to gain their rights. But the year 2017 witnessed radical changes in terms of women’s rights through 2018 and 2019, starting with allowing women to drive, giving them the freedom not to wear abayas, and allowing them to apply for criminal investigator posts in the Saudi Public Prosecution.

Earlier this month, the state started applying changes in travel permits, and the website of Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports announced allowing women over 21 to leave the country without the guardian’s approval starting from 31 August.

They also granted women for the first time the right to register a child’s birth, marriage, divorce, and other family documents, and to act as a guardian to their children who are minors.

“More than 1,000 women in the country’s Eastern Province had left Saudi Arabia on Tuesday without their guardian’s permission,” Saudi newspaper reported, which means that the new rules have come into effect.

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Meet first female CNC lathe instructor in Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/08/24/meet-first-female-cnc-lathe-instructor-in-egypt/ Sat, 24 Aug 2019 07:00:45 +0000 https://ww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=705911 Being a female that works in the turning field should be very difficult especially in a masculine society, so Daily News Egypt interviewed Essam to learn more about her journey in this field, her aspirations, obstacles that she faced in this career.

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Egyptian 26-year-old Amira Essam attempted to break the male monopoly over some professions, change the society’s view of women, and prove to the whole world that women can carry out any job and succeed just like men, through becoming the first female CNC Lathe instructor in Egypt.

Being a female that works in the turning field should be very difficult especially in a masculine society, so Daily News Egypt interviewed Essam to learn more about her journey in this field, her aspirations, obstacles that she faced in this career.

“I entered this field at first through a venture due to my grades in the industrial secondary school, that made me enter the Industrial Technical Institute, where I studied how to operate machines in the operation and shaping department,” Essam said.

In this department, she studied all types of machines, but she liked the lathe machine, saying, “what I liked in the lathe machine, is that it can be used in manufacturing simple objects.”

“The lathe machine can manufacture anything in any size and shape any material, for example, I used it to make pencil case, vase, and office desk decoration,” she added.

During my study, I realised that males prefer handwork, while females were always afraid and cautious to work with their hands in practical sessions, as the lathe machine needs some physical strength.

However, I was interested in handworks and the institute’s instructors found that I would be the first female to try everything and has the passion to learn.

Then, I decided to continue in this career, so I enrolled in the Workers University to study lathe.

After graduation, I took many training programmes at the Industry Service Complex of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport (AAST).

For her high grades in these courses, Essam received a scholarship to study at the Technical and Vocational Institute at the AAST.

After completing the scholarship, she got an offer to join the training staff of the AAST, to be the first female trainer in a turning workshop in Egypt. She now teaches students from engineering faculties.

“I tried to develop my skills, becoming a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning instructor also, and I gained experiences in various welding techniques,” she said.

In 2018, Essam participated in the first Egypt Skills competition organised by the AAST. She competed with nine males working in the turning field and she won the second place.

“I faced many challenges, but fought hard and overcome all obstacles,” Essam said proudly.

“The problem that I still suffer from is the reluctance of some people, especially in rural areas, to accept a girl working in the lathe field,” she added.

It was really difficult for her in the beginning to convince her brother to let her work in this career, to operate lathe machines, and teach students in the lathe workshops being a female.

“At first, I suffered from severe judgement, but as time went on, people started to admire my work and the criticism almost disappeared, but of course some people still have objections about the idea,” Essam shared.

She mentioned that only 25% of her students in the workshops are female.

“I want to encourage every female who wants to enter this field, but worried about the society’s judgement, to be confident and ignore negative vibes. Just do it!” she concluded.

Interestingly, Essam is now planning to open a lathe workshop.

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FACE integrates homeless children into society https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/08/12/face-integrates-homeless-children-into-society/ Mon, 12 Aug 2019 19:41:12 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=705000 Belgian woman tries to integrate abandoned, homeless children back into the society.

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When you wander in Egypt’s streets, you may notice some children sleeping on pavements or under bridges, or even begging for money from pedestrians. Those children are known as homeless children or street children. They are victims of different circumstances, like poverty, domestic violence, etc. They are deprived from basic human needs, since they have no family or relatives to turn to, living each day as if it is their last.

Homeless children have no hope for the future, as they are rejected by society, and are often subject to sexual harassment, arrest, organ trafficking, and more. Some of them are engaged in petty theft and prostitution.

Despite all the problems that they face in such difficult environment, they like living in the street as it offers them more freedom, therefore reintegrating them into the society became very difficult and requires a lot of efforts. That’s exactly what Flavia Shaw-Jackson tries to do; integrating abandoned and homeless children into the society. Jackson founded FACE for Children in Need in 2003, an organisation in Egypt to help abandoned and homeless children.

Born in South Africa, Jackson chose Cairo to launch her project, visiting Egypt once every month to follow up the activities of the project.

There are at least 12 million homeless people in Egypt, among them 3 million children, according to the Ministry of Social Solidarity. They are mainly based in Cairo, Giza, Qaliubiya, Alexandria, Menoufiya, Sharqeya, Suez, Beni Suef, Minya, and Assiut governorates.

Daily News Egypt interviewed Jackson to learn more about FACE, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

How did you come up with the idea of FACE?

The idea came as I always adored children and I always hated seeing children suffering, then in 1999, I saw a film documenting some children in China who were dying in orphanages, which was really terrible. Hence, I decided to do something for these children, but unfortunately China was too far from me, also keep in mind that at that time I had my first child who was only one-and-a-half years old. So, I started helping children in Belgium. I fostered children that were being abused in Belgium.

Then, I felt like I was really pulled to Africa because I was born in South Africa and I felt that Africa is where my roots are, but it was also far for me, therefore I ended up thinking that I would like to go to Cairo to see how I could help and to be really efficient.

In 2003, I visited the country and I really fell in love with it and its people. I realised that there is a large number of homeless children here. So, I thought to partner with Egypt in order to improve the life conditions of those children.

Then, I launched FACE and registered it in the Ministry of Social Solidarity in 2004. FACE is working now with abandoned children, whether orphans or homeless.

How many projects does FACE have in Egypt?

We have six projects, one in Maadi, two in El Obour, one in Banha, and one in Al-Salam City. Five of them are for abandoned infants and orphans. We have a partnership with the Ministry of Health, where it brings abandoned infants to these centres.

I think what those infants really need is our love and protection, therefore we train our staff thoroughly, and we conduct a psychometric session with the children.

I believe that the physical touch for a baby is very important, so we massage them in order to build a bond between the carer and the child.

Our services also include medical support, as we partnered with Al-Salam hospital which give free medical support for our babies.

FACE’s services also include education, hygiene services, and legal support.

While the sixth centre, which is in Al-Salam city, is for homeless children. I think we are the first project in Egypt for street children. What we do is that we have two teams that work in Cairo’s streets to build trust with the children.

We don’t give anything to the children on street because if we give them money, clothes, or food, we are just making it easier for them to stay on streets. So, they have to enrol in our activities, including drawing and playing puzzles.

We teach them life skills and how to protect themselves in the streets. We believe that children have a lot of freedom in the street. They can get money, food, and drugs. So, we don’t push them to come to our centre, we just tell them that they can come whenever they want, and they actually come.

Once they arrive to our centre, we wash their clothes, offer them breakfast, as well as psychological and medical support.

Keeping in mind that the children live in the streets with no rules, so we have to make them understand that life has rules to respect. We tell them that the centre has rules, so if they made a mistake, they should be punished, but they will decide the type of punishment themselves. It helps them to respect the rules. That’s one step to come back into the society, as they have to learn that there are no rules on the street but if they come back into society, the first step is accepting that there are rules.

We also provide them with psychological and educational support, as we have a Child-friendly schools aim to develop a learning environment in which children are motivated and able to learn.

I want to mention that we have an agreement with the government, they accept our certificate, thus the children can return into the school system. That’s another step toward reintegrating them into the society.

We also do vocational training, and we work a lot with the children to get them back with their families which is very important for us, because 95% of street children have families, so we work not only with the children, but we also work with their families.

When can you say that a child was successfully reintegrated into his family?

We can only say that a child is successfully reintegrated into his family after spending one and a half years with them, and we are supervising this through our social workers who go to the family every month to see if everything’s going well, providing them with the psychological support.

We have a contract with very poor families which states that we will support them, however we don’t give them money, but we offer them required equipment or goods to start a business, on the condition that they promise that their child will go to the school.

How many children do you have in each project?

We have around 50 children in each project.

What are the conditions for accepting children in FACE’s projects?

There are no conditions, we accept all children, whatever their conditions, and the minister knows, I mean when they have difficult cases, they send them to FACE and they know that we would never refuse children.

From where do you get the funding for these shelters?

At the beginning, the project was self-funded. It was just my husband and I who were financing it, and then we asked friends to help us in the funding because it costs too much, then we started getting financial support from Egyptians, and now we have a businessperson who helps us. Also, the European Union gave us a fund.

Do you get donations from smaller donors?

No, we have been working here for many years on our projects, but we have not communicated with Egyptians about FACE itself, so normal citizens don’t know us well, while ministers, NGOs, etc, all know about FACE and we have a very good reputation among them.

Do you think that you need to promote FACE?

Yes, we have to do that, that’s where we need help now. I want to mention that my idea is that FACE must be 100% Egyptian, so we have 190 employees, where 100% are Egyptians today.

That’s because my idea is that one day, I will be able to go back to Belgium and it will be completely Egyptian and they will not need me anymore.

What is FACE’s expansion plan in Egypt?

I personally believe that orphanages are not the right place for children to grow up in. We do have our high-quality orphanages, but we are working with Minister Ghada Waly on closing these orphanages and integrating the children into families.

In your opinion, what are the reasons behind having a large number of homeless children in Egypt?

I think this is due to broken families, abuse and violence within the family, and poverty. When families have financial problems, they can’t even secure food for their children, so the children have to go out to work.

What are the challenges that still hinder NGOs work in Egypt?

The main problem we face is the red tape, but we get a lot of support from the Minister of Social Solidarity, I was impressed by how much she supports us.

How do you see the new NGOs Law in Egypt?

I think it was in need to be updated and nowadays they are modifying quite a few things, as it was complicated for the NGOS. But they are trying now to make it more flexible, so I think they are moving now in the right track.

What is your aspiration?

I hope to close all orphanages and put children in foster families.

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Misr El kheir empowered 2,500 female breadwinners through providing projects https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/08/02/misr-el-kheir-empowered-2500-female-breadwinners-through-providing-projects/ Fri, 02 Aug 2019 11:00:21 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=704199 Foundation helped 65,000 indebted female, male inmates, mostly women since establishment

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Misr El Kheir empowered 2,500 female breadwinners either indebted or not across the governorates of Egypt, since its establishment in 2017, through setting up projects for them, according to Fundraising Sector Director, Misr El Kheir Foundation, Amal Mobada.

She explained that the in debtors file topped the priorities of the foundation, as this file is considered important not only in the preservation of the entire family, but also for the development of the society.

In that regard, she stated that Misr El Kheir helped and paid for the release of more than 68,000 indebted female and male inmates since the establishment of Misr El Kheir in 2007, mostly women.

In that context, Mobada revealed that the foundation annually targets to help release about 10,000 or 15,000 female and male indebtors in prison, who are victimised by the circumstances.

Mobada explained that the foundation role begins by following up on the cases of the female indebtors until they leave prison after the foundation negotiates with the creditors and pays the full debt owed to them.

“Our role does not end when the indebted female is out of prison, but out role extends to offering physical and social protection by providing income to the female indebtor’s family,” she continued.

“We have two types of female indebtors, the first type is the female indebtor that couldn’t work due to having a serious disease, thus the foundation provides financial support for them on a monthly basis, in order for them to be able to meet their needs, in addition to benefiting their families from all the programmes of the foundation in the fields of education, health, and social solidarity, ” she said.

“Meanwhile, the second type the female indebtors that could work, here we provide them job opportunities according to the social conditions and the family’s environment. Some of them are trained in crafts and subsequently join the factories of the foundation for hand carpets in Abys in Alexandria,” she stated.

Mobada mentioned that Misr El Kheir came to the village of Abyss seven years ago to help its people, where the foundation helped and released 174 female indebtors, after that the foundation thought about setting up projects to provide them with a constant income for the family so as not to borrow again.

Fundraising Sector Director, Misr El Kheir Foundation, Amal Mobada.

“Thus, we inaugurated our first factory for hand carpets in Abyss then we continued to set up factories, where we currently reached four factories for hand carpets,” she said.

By asking Mobada, if Misr El Kheir sets specific conditions for agreeing to help women indebtors or if there is a maximum amount of money that it pays to release indebtors in prison, she stated that there is no maximum amount, explaining that it depends on the case itself, while talking about the conditions she stated that the indebtor should have a sentence against them, noting that the foundation conducts a field research about the case to ensure the validity of the case, also by asking their neighbours ,etc.

“We also have cooperation protocols with all prisons across all governorates to notify us regularly about the needy cases in prison who are in debt,” she added.

Mobada assured that the file of the imprisoned indebtors is one of the top priorities in Misr El Kheir, noting that most of the donors prefer to pay donations in this file as it is a clear command of the commands of Almsgiving.

She said that the priority of Misr El Khier is not to provide money for needy cases but to develop their skills.

In that context, she stated that the foundation has succeeded in completing the first phase of its plan to empower women and indebted females by encouraging them to develop their skills and produce more products in their regions, in six governorates so far, including Cairo, Giza, Sohag, Alexandria, north Sinai, and south Sinai, as the foundation opened outlets to market women`s products in these governorates.

“The second stage, which includes Nubia in Aswan, Siwa in Matruh and Shalatin, will be completed before the end of this year, where the foundation will also open outlets to market women’s products in the aforementioned governorates,” Mobada revealed.

She explained that at the beginning the foundation has set up small projects for the female indebtors then after some of them were integrated and happy with these small projects, the foundation decided to make a consolidated project under the management of the foundation, highlighting that the establishment of the first factory was four years ago in the village of Abyss in Alexandria, then the number increased reaching the current four operating factories, and, in addition, this year witnessed the laying for the stone of the fifth factory, that is expected to provide 5,000 jobs.

Mobada stated proudly that through these factories the foundation exports handmade carpets to America, Canada, Italy, and the UAE.

Moreover, Mobada shared that the foundation has 175 projects in several areas, including health, social solidarity, education, scientific research, and other life aspects such as culture and sports, in addition to providing support for people with special needs.

She mentioned that the foundation is currently working with its partners, either individuals or companies, on the project of “Sak Al Odohaya,” which means the sacrifice or slaughter of an animal on specific days for the pleasure of Allah.

Mobada explained that the project this year targets to distribute 30,000 “Sak”, declaring that the price of the Sak this year is EGP 3,300 for the purchase of 27 kilos which represents the seventh of the sacrifice.

She stressed that the foundation succeeded the previous year in distributing 28,000 Sak.

Meanwhile, Mobada pointed out that the foundations’ winter campaigns have repaired 3,720 houses, across all Egypt`s governorates since its establishment.

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After appointing new female judge, will Egypt see more women in courts? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/07/18/after-appointing-new-female-judge-will-egypt-see-more-women-in-courts/ Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:24:21 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=703068 However, Qandil is not really the first female judge in Egypt’s criminal courts. She was preceded by judge Sally Al-Saidi, who was part of several judicial panels in criminal and misdemeanour courts in 2009. She ruled on 95 criminal cases that year

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Several media outlets recently reported that Fatima Qandil became the first female judge to join a judicial panel of an Egyptian criminal court.

The court was trying a case about stock market manipulation. The judicial panel was led by Mohamed El-Feki and included Mahmoud Rashdan, Abdullah Salam, and Usama Aboushaisha, alongside Qandil. Several individuals from the Mubarak regime are suspects in this case, including the former president’s sons, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, in addition to seven others.

However, Qandil is not really the first female judge in Egypt’s criminal courts. She was preceded by judge Sally Al-Saidi, who was part of several judicial panels in criminal and misdemeanour courts in 2009. She ruled on 95 criminal cases that year.

Al-Saidi was one of 68 female judges appointed in Egypt’s ordinary courts. She then became a member of the Cairo Juvenile Court in 2009, and later a member of the Cairo Criminal Court.

In 2013, Al-Saidi was appointed as a member of the technical bureau of the Court of Cassation (Criminal Division).

Notably, the role of the technical bureau is to conduct legal research and studies, but this would not give her the authority to try or rule on cases.

The question is: will the media interest of the presence of a female judge, Qandil, in law courts pave the way for more females to be part of the big scene in the Egyptian judiciary?

Before 2003, both the Administrative Prosecution Authority and the State Lawsuits Authority have appointed women in their offices, but no women were allowed in the Egyptian courts.

In 2003, judge Tehani Al-Gebali was the first woman to join the Supreme Constitutional Court by a presidential decree. This was followed by the appointment of 42 female judges to the ordinary courts from 2007 to 2008.

In June 2015, the Ministry of Justice announced the appointment of a new batch of 26 female judges to the ordinary courts. Unfortunately, the government did not take further steps to increase the number of women in the judiciary since then.

Sally Al-Saidi

Are female judges banned from Egyptian judiciary?

The Egyptian judicial system is divided into three branches: ordinary courts, which are entitled to try civil, economic, and criminal cases, administrative courts, which adjudicates disputes involving government actions (and sometimes inaction) and disciplinary actions involving government employees, and the Supreme Constitutional Court, which rules on constitutional matters.

According to the Egyptian constitution, the law graduates can apply to join the administrative prosecution authority, public prosecution, the State Council, and the military prosecution, Omnia Gadallah, founder of “Her Honor Setting the Bar” support campaign of female law graduates, told Daily News Egypt.

Gadallah has filed a lawsuit against the State Council for refusing to enrol women in the body. 

She explained that both administrative prosecution and Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority are judicial bodies, however, the work nature of their members is different than normal judges, as they do not rule on cases.

Even though, women are allowed to enter both. They currently account for 43% of the administrative prosecution members, and represent about 28% of the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority.

Meanwhile, the members of the Supreme Constitutional Court are selected from the best judges in the ordinary courts, the State Council, and the military prosecution. However, no women allowed in the military prosecution.

“The female law graduates have two options; either to apply in the public prosecution to enter an ordinary court, which is difficult as the public prosecution continues to reject women, or to apply in the State Council to enter an administrative court, which is also rejecting female applicants. This means that the ban on female judges continues,” Gadallah said.

In 2009, Egypt’s State Council agreed unanimously to appoint male and female law graduates from the academic years 2008 and 2009.

However, in February 2010, a special committee of the State Council’s general assembly convened and voted against appointing female judges, with an overwhelming majority of 334 against 42 votes.

Therefore, when the public prosecution announced the recruitment of a new batch in 2010, only males could apply.

So, when Gadallah filed a lawsuit against the State Council, this brought the issue of female judge ban to light again and this case is still ongoing until now.

Exclusion of female judges violates constitution

Gadallah told DNE that the exclusion of women clearly violates the constitutional principle of equality, citing some articles in the 2014 Constitution, mainly Article 9. It prescribes that the state is committed to achieving equality among all citizens, without discrimination.

Moreover, Article 11 prescribes that the state must ensure equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.

Article 14 also prescribes that citizens have the right to government employment on the basis of competence, without favouritism.

Fatima Kandil

Is appointing female judges in courts still a taboo?

Gadallah said that Al-Saidi and Qandil are among the 66 female judges that were appointed in the ordinary courts, representing 0.5% of 16,000 judges.

“Those female judges were appointed, not selected normally through career progression,” Gadallah explained.

Despite this fact that their selection was not through the career progression, social media and newspapers congratulated the Egyptian women for being empowered.

Mohamed Samir, spokesperson for the Administrative Prosecution Authority, told DNE that the media interest of appointing females in the criminal court is a result of the public argument whether women can hold judicial positions.

According to the Malik and Shafi‘i schools of Islamic law, being a male is a precondition to be a judge. Meanwhile, Abu Hanifa school says that women may be judges in all matters, except “Hudud” crimes, which include theft, robbery, illicit sex, alcohol consumption, and apostasy, and “Qisas”, which refers to offences that involve bodily injury or loss of life. The Hanbali school said that women may become judges in all matters.

Samir explained that the criminal court tries matters related to Hudud, thus women were always excluded.

“Seeing a female judge in the criminal court means that the picture is changing. It shows that we now follow the Hanbali school that permits women to be judges in all matters,” Samir said.

What is the next step?

Samir continued that appointing women in the criminal court was a good step, however, we aspire to more progress.

He explained that the appointment of Qandil was not through the normal procedures as males. He called for ending this gender discrimination, especially in the general prosecution.

Gadallah agreed with Samir, stating that the evaluation of female judges is conducted unfairly. Male judges should not be compared to female judges, as women’s career progression face more challenges than men’s.

In conclusion, the appointment of of Qandil was a good step, but the admission of women to the judiciary system remains dependent on the government’s intervention and civil society organisations’ pressure.

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Changing dominant narrative of women on stage https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/07/17/changing-dominant-narrative-of-women-on-stage/ Wed, 17 Jul 2019 11:30:51 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=702922 To a considerable extent, the media plays a key role in promoting negative concepts and attitudes toward women. Doubtless, the media not only gives people information and entertainment, but it also impacts people’s lives by shaping their opinions and beliefs.

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Despite multiple examples of both electronic and print media that highlight the successes of women in public and private life, women are still seen as too emotional and unable to take substantial decisions in their lives.

It is not just men who assume that women are not decision makers, women also fall prey to the same assumption. To a considerable extent, the media plays a key role in promoting negative concepts and attitudes toward women. Doubtless, the media not only gives people information and entertainment, but it also impacts people’s lives by shaping their opinions and beliefs.

Marwa El- Shinawy

Likewise, gender roles and capabilities are constantly reinforced throughout the media, which influences highly impressionable children and young adults as they develop and form ideas of their own. Hence, women’s representation in the media will not be improved by increasing the number of women’s rights activists, or increasing the number of women’s success stories in newspapers, magazines, and specialised reviews.

What it actually requires is a radical change in the dominant narrative of women in dramatic media (stage and screen) and literature, in an attempt to challenge the negative stereotypical images of women rooted in tradition and culture.

This new positive and empowering image of women is what you can see in Waitress starring Lucie Jones, Ashley Roberts, and Blake Harrison, currently on London’s Adelphi Theatre.

Waitress is the first musical in the history of the English-speaking theatre with an all-female creative team with music and lyrics by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, a book by Jessie Nelson, direction by Diane Paulus, and choreography by Lorin Latarro. 

It is a highly acclaimed feminist drama that defies the negative image of women, and celebrates motherhood as a journey of learning and a builder of strength. The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly.

It tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, a waitress and expert pie maker at Joe’s Diner in the deep south, who is in an abusive relationship with her husband Earl, and tries to leave her small town and loveless marriage.

Obviously, the play focuses on the resilience of women and how they use obstacles to fuel their success. Most importantly, the play highlights women’s capabilities to take decisive decisions and make radical changes in their lives.

From the very beginning Jenna is neither resigned nor apathetic in the face of her immense difficulties. On the contrary, she tries to make of her workplace, the diner, a safe haven away from the realities of her violent home life, adding humour to her unhappy life by naming her tantalising confections after the tumultuous events in her daily life.

However, the pregnancy eventually changes the course of events in her life, giving her an unexpected and newfound confidence. When she discovers that she will be a mother, Jenna decides to use her baking skills as a means to change her miserable life by planning to enter a local pie-baking contest with a large reward, which would allow her to leave her husband for a new life with the baby.

Along the way, she begins an illicit affair with her gynaecologist, Jim Pomatter, for a little while, but she also decides to end this affair to lead a new life as a righteous mother for her newly-born daughter.

In spite of all the obstacles and mistakes in her life, by the end of the play, Jenna manages to be an empowered, financially-independent entrepreneur, the owner, and head chef of the diner. She became a woman who managed to realise her independence, and to create a safe space for herself and her baby, the only one who deserves her love and her protection.

Jenna ends her drama by singing a climactic ballad about crafting a new self, one who will learn “how to toughen up when she’s bruised”.

Certainly, the story of Jenna sends a message of hope, responsibility, and empowerment with a far-reaching impact on the lives of many women throughout the world. 

Marwa El-Shinawy holds a PhD in American theatre, and is a member of the Higher Committee for the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary an Experimental Theatre

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Sexual harassment at workplace: unprotected women https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/07/15/sexual-harassment-at-workplace-unprotected-women/ Mon, 15 Jul 2019 10:30:34 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=702734 ‘World heading to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies; this must stop,’ says Lawyer

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One of the most significant rights for female workers is to be safe and not to be exposed to any form of sexual harassment in workplace.

However, this seems to be a far-fetched demand, as most local workplaces lack the required regulations that criminalise sexual harassment, despite being already criminalised by the Egyptian law punishing the harasser with at least six month in prison, and if he has an authority over the victim, with two years and up to five years in prison, and fines in some cases.

Millions of women around the globe experience sexual harassment in workplace. However, many of them do not speak up fearing negative consequences, such as being accused of fabricating the incident or constructive dismissal.

For Egypt, a study by the United Nations in 2013 showed that 99.3% of women surveyed have been subject to sexual harassment.

Moreover, the New Woman Foundation published a study in 2009 saying that most Egyptian women surveyed in different governates experienced sexual harassment at public and private workplaces, whether verbal harassment, intimidation, or physical assault. The report also found that sexual harassment has nothing to do with woman’s outfit, age, or social class. Some cases of sexual assault and rape were also reported.

Based on the UN’s definition, sexual harassment is any “improper and unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another person.”

“Harassment may take the form of words, gestures, or actions which tend to annoy, alarm, abuse, demean, intimidate, belittle, humiliate, or embarrass another or which create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment,” the UN added.

It could be unwelcome remarks about the appearances of the female employee, undesired touching, offensive jokes, or inquiring about sex life.

Sparked by the MeToo social media campaign which aimed to combat sexual harassment in the world, the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted on 21 June 2019 a landmark international treaty against violence and harassment in workplaces.

“Violence and harassment at work constitute a human rights violation or abuse.” It includes any behaviour that is likely to lead to “physical, psychological, sexual, or economic harm or violence, according to the convention.

“Without respect, there is no dignity at work, and, without dignity, there is no social justice,” Director of the ILO’s Work Quality Department at the ILO Centenary Conference in Geneva last month, Manuela Tomei, said.

“I am not safe”

Aya, a 24-year-old customer service agent introduced by her first name only, as per her request, was delivering food at a luxury tourist resort in Sharm El-Sheikh where she works, when her colleague whispered: “what a breast!”

“I heard him. He was pretending that he was checking food orders. Then when I moved to leave, he intentionally touched me with his shoulder,” Aya told Daily News Egypt.

“I did not realise what happened. I was confused. Later, I met my manager because we had an evaluation meeting. After we finished, I told him about the incident,” Aya narrated.

Aya said she always avoided any contact with this colleague because of his inappropriate behaviour.

Aya’s manager opened an investigation into the case. Unfortunately, the administration said that they could not fire or punish him because he denied the harassment and she had no eyewitness to prove what happened.

“During the investigation, I was confused and anxious. My words were out of order so they felt like I might have misunderstood what happened, or wrongly read the situation,” Aya continued.

“I was suspended from work for a day. I am the victim, the one who was sexually harassed and now I am accused of fabricating the incident.”

Aya was blamed because she waited for almost two hours until she decided to speak up about what happened.

“They said if you screamed or called for help, then you could draw anybody’s attention, but now we cannot do anything to him,” she added.

Eventually, the investigation was closed and both were asked to return to work. “I refused the decision. This is not fair, I told them, and I will consider resigning.”

“I am not safe anymore. I do not easily recover from harassment. I have experienced sexual harassment in my childhood and even until now in the streets and transportation services. I faced horrible situations, but this is different, this is where I work and where I should be protected,” Aya noted.

“I respect my body”

It has been almost 11 months since May El-Shamy, a 29-year-old journalist, was dismissed from her work after reporting a sexual harassment incident from her manager.

“I have fought to protect my body, my body is a red line,” El-Shamy told DNE. “He [the accused manager] was always stalking my body, with inappropriate stares and sexual comments,” El-Shamy added.

El-Shamy experienced sexual harassment from her manager, however, she requested not to mention the details of the accident, as she already filed a lawsuit and an investigation is being carried by the public prosecutor.

Moreover, El-Shamy reported the incident to her work’s administration. They offered her an apology from the alleged harasser, but she refused, demanding an announced salary deduction for this manager. Her request was rejected.

They gave her two weeks off. Then after she returned, she was denied entry to her workplace. “I was unfairly dismissed from my work after I filed my complaint. I filed a lawsuit against the manager and a complaint against the administration over my unjustified dismissal,” El-Shamy said.

She took all the required legal procedures to hold her manager accountable. Despite the consequences, El-Shamy never regretted that she spoke up.

“The only thing I regret is that I did not go immediately to a police station and file a report,” El-Shamy shared.

El-Shamy spent 11 months at home jobless. She applied at other places but they dropped her application when they knew she left her previous work after reporting sexual harassment.

“I do not mind starving, but I could never accept to lose my self-respect, I did that because I respect myself,” El-Shamy concluded.

The worst work environment

May Adam, a 24-year-old illustrator and technical support agent, was working at a prestigious company where one of its managers was accused of harassment. “His stares and comments on every female employee’s appearance were aggressive and considered sexual harassment,” Adam told DNE.

She and her colleagues used to ignore him, but when he inappropriately touched one of them, they decided to speak up and file complaints. An investigation was carried by an HR female employee, but the women who filed the complaints were threatened to drop their complaints or they will lose their jobs.

“The administration told us that he did not intend to do this, and if they insist to continue their claims, they could lose their jobs,” Adam noted. 

Eventually, nothing happened and some female employees were transferred to another department. The manager was not punished, and he sometimes harass other women, Adam noted.

After a while, Adam decided to leave her job as she could not stand this work environment. “This was the worst environment in my career; they chose to cover up a harasser instead of punishing him. I am still recovering from the trauma I got from this place,” Adam illustrated.

Marwa Fawzy, a 27-year-old marketer, also experienced sexual harassment at her work. She said that in her previous work –a prominent company– her male colleagues used to say sexual comments about her just because she smokes and has tattoos.

“I was the only woman in the team. They were gossiping about me. When I got married, they hinted that I was pregnant before marriage and feared a scandal,” Fawzy recalled. 

For a safe work environment

As sexual harassment at workplaces is mounting in Egypt, some civil society organisations have provided advice for women if they face harassment.

“Any female worker facing any type of sexual harassment accompanied by threats to prevent her from promotion if she rejects, she must be aware that the harasser is a coward, and she must call for help and draw people’s attention,” Intsar El-Saed, a lawyer and the head of the Cairo Center for Development, told DNE.

Many harassers take advantage of the fact that women will not speak about the incident whatever they do and that females will be afraid and confused, El-Saed added.

“Any woman facing harassment has to threaten the offender that she would file a complaint at the work administration or police. Women have to document everything about the incident because they will need it in the investigation,” El-Saed asserted.

Meanwhile, the lawyer emphasised the need for eyewitnesses. “She might tell trusted colleagues about incidents as harassers might repeat the action with them too,” El-Saed added.

El-Saed pointed out that if a female worker was unfairly dismissed from work due to complaining about harassment, she can file a lawsuit against the company.

For a safe work environment, El-Saed asserted the need to set firm regulations, policies, and sanctions to prevent harassment.

All male workers have to be trained and prepared on professional communication with their female colleagues. “The whole world is heading to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies. This must stop,” El-Saed concluded. 

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Economic empowerment of women among Egypt’s top priorities: NCW  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/07/12/economic-empowerment-of-women-among-egypts-top-priorities-ncw/ Fri, 12 Jul 2019 11:00:58 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=702535 International bodies praised increasing women’s representation in parliament to 25%

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The economic empowerment of women through technology and digitisation is one of Egypt’s top national priorities at this stage, President of the National Council for Women (NCW), Maya Morsi, said.

Morsi’s remarks came during her meeting with the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, during the former’s visit to the EU institutions in Brussels last Tuesday.

Morsi highlighted Egypt’s efforts in the field of developing and empowering women in light of the unlimited support from the political leadership to the council, which was reflected in various legislative, political, and economic domains.

She also mentioned the country`s steps in benefiting from digital technology to achieve a real qualitative change in development of women.

For her part, Gabriel praised the steps that Egypt took in the field of women’s empowerment and digitisation, stressing that she is following such developments in Egypt.

“We are ready to cooperate with Egypt at all levels in these two areas to exchange experiences,” she asserted.

Moreover, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi highlighted the major axes through which Egypt is working to address issues of inequality and empowerment of women during his participation in sessions on both topics as part of the G20 summit held in Japan on 28-29 June.

Many international sides participating in the summit praised the great progress Egypt has made in the area of women’s empowerment, presidential spokesperson, Bassam Rady, said.

They also praised the recent constitutional amendments that increased the representation of women in parliament to 25%.

The president also praised the important role played by Egyptian women in the development of society, noting that Egypt has launched several programmes to empower women.

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Why female victims of sexual harassment are often shamed? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2019/07/12/why-female-victims-of-sexual-harassment-are-often-shamed/ Fri, 12 Jul 2019 10:00:47 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=702530 What is more confusing is to see women justifying male harasser’s behaviour and blame female victims.

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Sexual harassment is a phenomenon that has been perpetuating across Egypt for years, making the country among the most dangerous places for women.

It is still a problematic topic for Egyptian women to talk about. There is some kind of social pressure on women not to speak up about harassment incidents or report them. But you may get appalled by how some women support and justify male harasser’s behaviour, even though women are the primary victims of such abuse in its various forms; verbal, physical, and emotional, in some cases even from close male relatives.

What is more confusing is to see women justifying male harasser’s behaviour and blame female victims.

In this context, a few days ago, Egyptian football player Amr Warda was excluded from the national team participating in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) over accusations of sexual harassment, but he later re-joined the team after pressure from his teammates on the Egyptian Football Association (EFA). Many, including women, defended Warda on the grounds that he is young and deserves a second chance. Warda`s case was not the first of its kind to witness women defended the harasser. Back in the time of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, a woman, later dubbed “Set el-Setat” (Lady of Ladies), was beaten and harassed by several men in Tahrir Square while protesting against the Brotherhood. At that time, many women blamed the victim on the grounds that she was wearing inappropriate clothes.

Daily News Egypt (DNE) dug further into the issue to know why some women are shaming female victims of sexual harassment? We interviewed women’s affairs experts and psychiatrists.

Alexandra Kinias

Brainwashed that inferiority is their source of power

Alexandra Kinias, a women’s advocate and founder of Women of Egypt initiative specialised in women’s rights, explained that misogyny practiced for thousands of years in patriarchal societies continues to spread in Egypt and in other regions around the world where women are considered inferior to men, and are treated as such.

She added that in Egypt, a country with male dominance, misogyny forms the foundation for the oppression of women. It perpetuates from one generation to another as evident not only in the behaviour of men against women, but also in how the society at all its levels perceives and reacts to these behaviours. Many are appalled by how some women support and justify male harasser’s behaviour, even though they are the primary victims of their abuses in its various forms: verbal, physical, emotional, etc, and often they are personally subjected to these abuses by close male relatives.

“Because it has been wildly publicised that misogyny is a male trait, practiced by men for dominance, many are unaware that it is also practiced by women against their own gender and even their own wellbeing. Many reasons drive women to practice misogyny and advocate for their own submissiveness. In societies where women are still fighting for their rights, such behaviours, practices, and attitudes further hinder their advancement. It is shameful and disturbing when women become victims of other women’s misjudgement and injustice,” Kinias continued.

Explaining to DNE the reasons behind this attitude, Kinias said that females from an early age are brainwashed that inferiority is their source of power, adding that women in patriarchal societies, where misogyny pervades, are raised to obey, please, and work in the relationship; take more care of the men’s needs; avoid confrontations; and become subordinate – not an equal partner – in the relationship.

Girls grow up thinking that their bodies are the root of all evil

Kinias presented another reason, stating that in patriarchal societies, girls are also taught at an early age to loath their bodies and sexuality. They grow up believing that women’s bodies are the root of all evil.

“As a result, no matter what the circumstances are, they believe that women who are harassed, abused, or even raped are at fault. They blame the victims for triggering men’s sexual desires. Not only that, but they also come to the defence of these men, hence, demonstrating a behavioural pattern that perpetuates their own abuse. Never the aggressor’s fault, they rationalise men’s behaviours with excuses that these women were indecently dressed, behaving promiscuously, etc,” she continued.

Females suffer from Stockholm syndrome

“What triggers the behaviour of misogynist women is their suffering from psychological slavery, a condition which commonly became known as the Stockholm syndrome, where the victim sides with the abuser or oppressor,” Kinias said.

Depending on men socially and financially

The more these women, who were raised to obey, please, depend on men socially and financially, siding with the abuser becomes a survival instinct. Their lives, just like the slaves, depend on their abusers, and they develop gratitude for them, even if they were victimised by them first hand.

Envying those who are harassed

Therapist Mohamed Yousef and Jamal Farwiz, a professor of psychology in Cairo University, agreed that girls in their 20s, who justify sexual harassment, are actually envious of those who were harassed.

The therapists further explained that this type of girls deep inside wonder why the harasser did not choose me instead of the victim to harass?!

Women adapt a motherhood feeling toward the harasser

Farwiz added that sometimes women in their 40s and 50s tend to justify the male harasser’s behaviour out of their hidden motherhood feeling that this harasser is like her son. So, they think that the society should give him a second chance and subsequently they try to justify the harassment.

Kinias noted, “Whatever the reasons are, we should admit that those women who support harassers are in fact victims.”

She explained that they reach a state of submissiveness in accepting the abuse and justify the behaviours of harassers.

“They became content with their status quo. They attack other women who stand against harassers or try to help them break free from this cycle. Instead of appreciating the efforts that would alleviate their status, they become more aggressive. Instead of breaking free, they promote their own submissiveness and oppression. In their delusional minds, they believe the cure to social alignments is in their submissiveness and not rebelling against the abusers. In their minds, they believe if women behaved exactly as men wanted them to, they will live a happier life. These justifications became their coping mechanism to oppression,” Kinias concluded.

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