Women – Daily News Egypt https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 10 Jul 2020 22:06:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Women’s rights activists say silence of sexual assault victims remains main challenge https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/07/08/womens-rights-activists-say-silence-of-sexual-assault-victims-remains-main-challenge/ Wed, 08 Jul 2020 19:43:40 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=735651 Why sexually assaulted women take so long to speak out?

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“I cannot remember exactly what happened to me, I cried, shouted, asked for help but all of this was in vain, and the only thing that is still in my mind is that it took me decades to overcome this bad incident.” For victims of sexual assault and rape, these are some of the most common words and phrases they usually voice. 

Yet despite these feelings of being voiceless and unable to speak out, some brave young women are finding the courage to go public with their experiences, particularly when they see others doing so.

This urge to speak out, buoyed by the bravery of others, is exactly what has recently happened in Egypt.

In early July, social media exploded with posts accusing an Egyptian man in his early twenties of rape, sexual assault, and harassment. With hashtags and posts going viral on several social media platforms and many victims finding their voice to speak out, other young women were encouraged to share their stories. On 6 July, Egypt’s Public Prosecution ordered his pre-detention for four days.

Aml Abdel Moneim, Director of the National Council for Women’s (NCW) Complaints Office, told Daily News Egypt that, since the launch of the social media hashtag implicating perpetrator Ahmed Bassam Zaki, her office has seen a daily 60%-70% increase in the number of complaints of sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault.

“The number of sexual harassment, assault, and rape complaints received by the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA) has increased by 70% from the first day of the hashtag,” said Gawaher Eltaher, Lawyer and Director of the Access to Justice Programme at CEWLA.

However, Magda Adly, President of El-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, told Daily News Egypt that there is still a disparity between what is happening on social media and what is going on off it.

“Maybe the communications either through social media or women’s right intuitions have hiked, but unfortunately, we are talking to ourselves as females and we are still afraid of filing an official complaint,” Adly said.

Magda Adly

With this in mind, it raises two main questions: Why do women who have experienced sexual assault take so long to speak out? Why are they afraid to file official complaints?

“There are global trends that mean the girls prefer silence following sexual harassment, including the fear of their families, the fear of scandal, the fear of facing the culprit, in addition to preferring not to narrate the details of the incident that has caused them pain,” Abdel Moneim added. 

Going into denial

“When I was 25 years old, a security guard in one of the prominent malls attacked me while I was in the toilet and put his hand on my hidden area and I was shocked,” said Nada Ahmed, a 30-year-old victim. “After that, I got post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and, in my mind, I was in denial that this had happened to me.”

After seeing the recent bravery of young women speaking out about their horrific experiences in Ahmed Bassam Zaki case, Nada said she felt encouraged to talk about her story. 

Health and life coach Heba Zayed told Daily News Egypt that the mind can create defensive mechanisms against particularly traumatic experiences. As a result, it sometimes deletes the trauma and shuts down the painful experience, making women who fall victims to rape and sexual assault forget the incident for some time as if it has not happened at all. It can sometimes take decades for a new experience or observation to trigger the mind into remembering the incident again.   

Regarding the question of why girls have decided to speak out now, Zayed said that psychological impulses differ from one person to another. It could be that when someone starts talking, young women feel that they are not alone in their experiences. They may wish to help others, or they may feel that this is the most appropriate time to talk.

Heba Zayed

Sex taboo makes her words doubted

“I was sexually harassed by the sheikh who was teaching me and helping me memorise the Qur’an,” Hend Ali, a 25-year-old victim of sexual harassment, told Daily News Egypt.

She added that if she had told even her own family what had happened, no one would have believed her.

“Girls have been raised to believe that sex is taboo, so that when they are raped or sexually harassed, women began to doubt that they are victims,” Zayed said.

“Women are raised to believe that smiling [at strangers] is wrong, talking in public is wrong, and families would criticise most of their behaviours and allow most of these behaviours for men,” she added.

Zayed added that, as a result, younger girls are simply not taught that she has the right to file a complaint or to say that she has been sexually harassed. The first thing she does, automatically, due to the patriarchal society in which she has been brought up, is to doubt herself and believe that it is she is the one at fault.

Shame and blame

“If I have said that I would like to file a report against the harasser, the whole family would blame me, as he is the Sheikh and I am a child,” Hend Ali said.

Ali is not alone, Eltaher said, noting that most of the cases that CEWLA receives have refused to make an official complaint at the police station, as their parents believe that the females will be stigmatised if they do so.

Adly also explained that people still fear being stigmatised due to the patriarchal culture, which will always blame the victims of assault and harassment. This could either be for going public and announcing the harassment, or picking up on how she was dressed, or how she was talking – not because of anything the perpetrator may have done. Many victims also fear that word will spread besmirching her own reputation, despite her not being at fault.

“The culture still deals with the victim as if she is a prostitute, not a victim, no woman would choose to put herself in that situation just to retaliate except for a small minority,” Adly said.

Fear of entering a police station

“Two years ago, I was sexually harassed in a bus, and I decided to go to the police station and file an official complaint against the harasser,” one victim of sexual harassment, who requested anonymity, said. “First I told one of the officers that I want to file a charge against a harasser and that I know him, but the police man made fun of me and neglected my request.”

She continued that she was left feeling uncomfortable when narrating the details of the incident to the policemen.

Eltaher said that a lot of cases involving female victims that centre receives are also afraid of entering a police station.

Both Eltaher and Adly explained that the girls are also afraid of the officers’ attitudes and treatment of them whilst they are at the police station.

“Since 2014, there are supposed to have been anti-violence units for women, in which a female officer is assigned to listen to the victims while they file a complaint, but these units have unfortunately not been activated in all police stations in Egypt, and the female officers are not available 24 hours,” they said.

Adly noted, “Subsequently, what happens in the police stations is that the masculine, patriarchal culture dominates, and sometimes the girl is harassed again, my words are not individual but documented cases.”

Narrating the incident’s details

“I thought many times to talk of what happened, but I could not when I decided to talk as I was feeling that I am stressed and could not breathe,” another victim, who requested anonymity, said. “Just remembering only the details makes me cry again, and after telling the story to my family, I felt traumatised for many months until I recovered again.”

“In general it has not been an easy thing to narrate something painful again, or to narrate a moment or situation where you feel weak, people always have a fear to reveal their weak side to anyone,” Heba Zayed said.

Mohamed Samir

Difficulty of proof

Adly said that sometimes the difficulty of legally proving the incident makes the victims unwilling or extremely hesitant to file a complaint, due to their doubts regarding their rights.

“Except for rape, proving the crime of harassment and molestation is very difficult, as in these cases there are no material effects on the victim that could be analysed,” said Mohamed Samir, Spokesperson for the Administrative Prosecution Authority. “It is also difficult to find witnesses unless the accident happened in the street or was filmed, but most of the time it happens in a enclosed area where there will be no witnesses, unless it is a rape, in which case we could analyse the DNA..”

He added that if many others accused the same perpetrator of harassing them, with no interest relationship between them, the prosecution and the court could consider this as a proof or evidence for the crimes committed.

Adly said that girls sometimes cannot access justice, as sometimes the perpetrator may counter accuse the victim of a crime such as theft. This would end up in a legal entanglement, with a complaint of harassment against a complaint of theft, meaning the woman has to give up the case to save her reputation, and subsequently in that case the harasser also gives up the theft accusation. 

Absence of victim assistance and witness protection law Samir and Adly also mentioned that some women prefer not to file an official complain as there is no law for protecting information of witnesses and victims who file the complaints. In cases such as these, the culprit’s family may take the victim’s personal information to use in blackmail or extortion. Adly added that sometimes the threat reaches the extent of throwing acid in a woman’s face causing yet further physical and psychological trauma.

Does statute of limitations affect rights?

Regarding how much time passes after a crime is committed Samir said that it must first be legally classified. He explained that all forms of harassment as defined by the Egyptian Penal Code and its amendments do not include any touch to the female body.

He explained further that harassment includes using sexual erms, looks and stalking, as well as electronic or offline messages. However, when it moves to the stage of touching the female body, this enters into the felony of the molestation.

Harassment is a misdemeanour punishable by imprisonment of between three months and a maximum of two years. Meanwhile, molestation is a felony punishable by imprisonment starting from three years to a maximum of seven years, whilst rape is a felony, punishable by imprisonment of 25 years in jail and capital punishment.

“The harassment misdemeanour collapses if the victim has not filed an official complaint against the harasser within three years of the incident, while the molestation case lapses if an official complaint against the culprit is not filed within ten years,” Samir said.

Unified law needed

“We have to cultivate community awareness to turn the stigma to the offender instead of the victim,” Samir said, “We have also to make a list of predators like that in the US, which is a public list that includes names of those convicted and whom judicial rulings were issued against them, where the harasser’s name is removed from the list after three years, while during the three years the offender has to provide his status from this list in any new place of residence or any new job.”

Agreeing with Samir, Heba Zayed said that we must raise our children on equality and that female children have rights. Zayed added that children must also be raised with an awareness of what constitutes violations of sexual parts, and what they can do to counter crimes in this area.

Solving the problem of victims remaining silent requires a lot of procedures, including social and governmental. Most importantly, however, is the need to have a unified law for violence against women. 

More than 14 women rights institutions, including CEWLA and the El-Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, have in a joint press statement called for a unified law on violence against women.

This would devote a full chapter to updating and expanding the definitions of various forms of violence against women, including the concept of rape for both adults and minors. It would also cover stalking and define the prosecution of crimes carried out on social networks, in addition to defining new concepts of sexual crimes that provide greater protection for women and girls from extortion and sexual exploitation.

The unified law would see practical and effective intervention regarding the definition of stakeholders to facilitate the reporting mechanism, protecting witnesses and whistleblowers, and provide protection for personal data for all parties to crimes of sexual violence.

The draft law was adopted by Member of Parliament Nadia Henry, who has already obtained the signature of 66 deputies from parliament.

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Sexual abuse in Egypt: social media lead the fight against repulsive phenomenon https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/07/05/sexual-abuse-in-egypt-social-media-lead-the-fight-against-repulsive-phenomenon/ Sun, 05 Jul 2020 14:20:40 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=735362 Egypt's public prosecution investigates young man over rape, assault allegations  

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Egypt’s public prosecution is now carrying out an investigation into social media allegations accusing a young Egyptian man of sexual assault and rape of dozens of young women.

The public prosecution said the investigation has begun following the defendant Ahmed Bassam Zaki’s arrest.

Earlier, the prosecution said it had received one complaint against the alleged assailant submitted by an unknown girl. It added that the girl filed her report online, accusing the defendant of threatening her to “practice vice with her” in November 2016.

The prosecution said it will take the required legal procedures, but it has not yet received any formal reports from other victims. 

The prosecution noted that it is looking into the allegations of sexual violence by the defendant. The allegations have gone viral since they first emerged on social media over the last few days, with more young women finding the courage to speak out.

Meanwhile, the National Council for Women (NCW) filed a report with the Public Prosecutor to investigate the online testimonies against the defendant regarding sexual harassment and rape.

The NCW urged victims to reach out to them to share their accounts and file official reports with the prosecution against the defendant.

In televised remarks on Saturday to Al-Hekaya TV show, NCW Chairperson Maya Morsi said that two of the victims are ready to file reports against the defendant. 

Earlier on Friday, Morsi said that she has personally reached out to one of the victims and found that she, as with other victims, is afraid of filing reports.

Also on Friday, the NCW released a statement in which it said it has received many calls and complaints from other harassment victims. The council said those women reported that the alleged assailant “threatened them with blackmail by using photos and videos that document his crimes, as a way of defaming them if they report his acts or tell their families.”  

The NWC said that, for the victims to cooperate with the police and public prosecution, they required that their identities remain hidden and their personal lives are protected.

Amal Abdel Moneim, Director of the NCW’s Complaints Office, also told the Al-Hekaya TV show that about 10 young women have so far shared their accounts with the council.

“We will support those girls, and provide them with the required legal support,” Abdel Moneim said.

The case has now found its way to Egypt’s parliament, with MP Anissa Hassouna calling for an urgent investigation into the testimonies of sexual violence by many young women.

In televised remarks on Saturday on Ala Mas’olity TV show, Hassouna said that people underestimate sexual violence. 

“Many women and men prefer to blame the victims, instead of prosecuting assailants,” Hassouna said. She urged sexual violence survivors to seek justice for themselves and protect other women from the defendant.

 

Social media testimonies

Over the past few days, a group of young women created an account, entitled @assaultpolice, on social networking site, Instagram. They have so far shared testimonies for over 50 incidents of sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault over the space of five years, all accusing Ahmed Bassam Zaki as the perpetrator.

The testimonies include accounts of survivors who said they were subject to those incidents when they were children. The survivors also shared voice notes and texts which they said Zaki had sent them.

The shocking accounts rapidly went viral on social media, with a hashtag carrying the defendant’s name now trending in Egypt. 

“Policies of zero tolerance for sexual harassment should be put in place and make women feel safe in the places where they live, work, and have fun,” the United Nations (UN) in Egypt tweeted on Saturday.

When one survivor said that Zaki was a student at the American University in Cairo (AUC), the university released a statement on Thursday saying that the defendant has not been a student with them since 2018. The AUC stressed that it has a policy of zero tolerance for sexual violence. 

The EU Business School in Barcelona, with whom the defendant was currently studying online, reportedly expelled him after they received knowledge of the allegations.

“Social media contributed to the spread of the survivors’ accounts, that include 50 or maybe 100 young women and minors,” said Intsar El-Saeed, a women rights lawyer and head of the Cairo Center for Development and Law.

“They have to file official reports with the public prosecution to seek justice for themselves and punishment for the [alleged] rapist,” she added.

El-Saeed added, “I hope that the families of the victims will support their daughters and listen to them, if they did so, the girls would not hide what they experienced of sexual violence.”

As things stand so far, only one complaint has been filed with the prosecution against Zaki, relating to an incident that occurred four years ago. There are also the testimonies of other victims who all accused Zaki as the assailant.

El-Saeed said that official reports relating to recent incidents would support the investigation further, as in rape cases, the more time that has passed means the more difficult it is to prove the incident. 


“Reassuring survivors is significant, as if they know that the law will serve justice for sexual violence survivors, it will encourage the rest of the survivors to speak up,” El-Saeed said.

Unified law criminalising violence against women

Most Egyptian women have reported experiencing sexual harassment in streets, on public transportation, and in the workplace. A 2013 UN study showed that 99.3% of women in Egypt surveyed have been subject to sexual harassment.

Violence against Egyptian women has gradually become recognised as a significant social and legal problem, as women’s rights activists and lawyers call for more stringent laws on the subject.

El-Saeed emphasised the need for legislation that protects women from various forms of violence. 

“We only have various provisions in the Penal Code that punish violence against women,” El-Saeed said, “But the existing punishments are not commensurate with crimes.”

El-Saeed said the Cairo Center for Development and Law, among seven other women rights organisations, have worked on a draft unified bill that criminalises and eliminates all forms of violence against women.

The draft law includes rephrasing of some definitions of crimes and violence against women whilst also dedicating a section to domestic violence crimes.

Sexual harassment has already been criminalised under Egyptian law, as harassers can face between six months and five years in prison, in addition to a fine of up to EGP 50,000.

Article No 268 of Egypt’s Penal Code notes that “whoever indecently assaults a person by force or threat, or attempts such an assault, shall be punished with hard labour for three to seven years.”

Article 267 of the Penal Code also states that there is “a penalty of short-term hard labour for cases of sexual assault on women. It will be increased to life imprisonment with hard labour in cases where the assailant is an ascendant or guardian of the victim or her supervisor or is working in her home.”

MeToo movement 

Many social media users in Egypt linked between the recent accounts shared on social media against Zaki with the #MeToo movement, that helped survivors of sexual violence seek justice. 

The viral #metoo hashtag has become a worldwide phenomenon that empowered women, giving them the voice to break their silence on sexual violence, despite attempts to question their testimonies. All too often, victims of sexual violence are also blamed for what happens to them.

“The metoo movement not only empowered women, but also contributed to amending laws across the world and sought justice for survivors,” El-Saeed said.

El-Saeed gave the example of the movement’s impact, referring to the landmark international treaty against violence and harassment in workplaces adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 21 June 2019

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NCW calls for investigating harassment and rape allegations discussed on social media https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/07/02/ncw-calls-for-investigating-harassment-and-rape-allegations-discussed-on-social-media/ Thu, 02 Jul 2020 17:36:35 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=735217 A group of girls created an Instagram account, collecting evidence against a young man that includes testimonies on numerous rape incidents committed by him

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The National Council for Women (NCW) presided by Maya Morsi, called on all the concerned entities to investigate in harassment and rape allegations currently discussed on social media.
A group of girls created an Instagram account a few days ago, collecting evidence against a young man that includes testimonies on numerous rape incidents committed by him, incidents of sexual harassment, and inappropriate text and voice messages that he sent to several girls. The group attracted a large number of girls since its creation, reaching thousands of followers.
Also, the social media went viral with a specific hashtag in which female students at the American University in Cairo accused their colleague in the AUC of harassing more than 50 girls and raping a 14-year-old girl.
The girls accused this student of harassing and blackmailing them if they did not fulfil his sexual demands.
Commenting on these harassment and rape allegations, the NCW stated in a press statement on Thursday that it is monitoring closely and with great interest, the issue currently discussed on social media. It calls for all concerned entities to investigate it and take the necessary measures.
The Council also calls for all girls to file official reports against the young man so that he gets the punishment he deserves as per the law and becomes an example for whoever touches or harasses girls.

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Keep your child’s immune system strong against COVID-19 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/06/28/keep-your-childs-immune-system-strong-against-covid-19/ Sun, 28 Jun 2020 09:00:06 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=734676 Daily exercise and a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified with a lot of vitamins, is recommended, says nutrition expert

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Eating healthy food can help you boost your immune system. It is a message that has been pushed forward as the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.

What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight, and recover from virus infections, as healthy food is important for supporting and boosting immunity. This is a message that concerns many parents looking to keep their children’s immune systems strong against the virus.

Food production company, Danone, has conducted a live online discussion to address the important topics in children’s health and how to boost their immune systems. The discussions featured paediatrician and nutrition expert Nabil Fawzy, influencer and nutrition expert Nourhan Kandil, and actress and nutrition enthusiast Kinda Alloush. 

The online discussion follows the initiative kicked off by Danone and film star Alloush, with the participation of paediatricians and experts in the field of children nutrition. It aims to provide mothers with the advice they need to keep their children healthy. 

Nabil Fawzy stressed the importance of the child’s psychological wellbeing and how it could impact the child’s immune system.

“Daily exercise along with a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and fortified with a lot of vitamins, is also recommended,” Fawzy said.

During the live discussion, Alloush highlighted the challenges of preparing healthy meals on a daily basis, and how kids often resist eating healthy food.

In response to that, Kandil explained how mothers can try to change the foods their children normally like to eat, and replace them with healthier options. 

“They need to be involved in the preparation and cooking process,” she said, “Mothers teach children how to enjoy healthy food by constantly showing them fun ways to prepare it and offering them a good variety of colours and textures to develop their palate.”

Parents should also give their children a range of natural herbs and spices, including ginger, turmeric, honey, cinnamon, to ensure they stay healthy. Kandil clarified, however, that “there is no magic herb or spice that will turn our children into supermen or superwomen”. 

Kandil added that the immune system comprises of many parts, with a healthy, balanced diet not the only part.  She noted that good quality sleep is also one of the main contributors to a healthy immune system. 

“As for herbs and spices that have beneficial effects on general health but may not be very palatable, they can simply be hidden and incorporated into daily food and drink,” Kandil explained.

Fawzy also brought attention to a fundamental point during the time of the pandemic, and that is the major bug-bear of ‘screen time’.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should practice “no screen use before the age of 18 months”. Parents can then monitor and stay with their children as they use screen-based technologies between the ages of 18 and 24 months.  Following the child reaching the 24 month mark, parents should “limit the screen time…to just one hour a day of high-quality programming”. 

Nabil added, “Excessive screen time and exposure to radiation may have adverse reactions on children, such as poor vision, anxiety, and even psychologically autistic behaviour.” 

“Danone will continue to bring together key opinion leaders and experts in the childcare and nutrition field, to answer the questions and concerns that mothers might be asking themselves to raise their children ready for tomorrow,” said Hanan Nayel, Danone’s General Secretary Director. “This is one among many initiatives carried out by Danone to transfer knowledge to consumers and the public at large, with nutritional information relevant to children and the whole family.” 

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Yasmin Yousri: The cancer-beating fashion stylist that never lost hope https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/06/28/yasmin-yousri-the-cancer-beating-fashion-stylist-that-never-lost-hope/ Sun, 28 Jun 2020 08:30:45 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=734644 Social media can help people find out more about themselves and discover new talents they never knew existed, says Yousri

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Whatever social media platform you open up, you are sure to come across and find inspiration in motivational speaker and fashion stylist, Yasmin Yousri.

Sharing a range of posts featuring positive content and styling tips, Yousri provides her own unique inspiration to social media users.

Following her rise to prominence as a social media-based fashion stylist and positivity guru, Yasmin revealed during a television interview that she has also survived cancer three times. This latter piece of information has surprised many, not least due to her unfailing positivity despite the tough struggle she has faced.

Yousri talked to Daily News Egypt on her journey with cancer, and how she became the prominent social media influencer that she is.

Can you tell readers more about yourself?

I am a graduate of Cairo University’s Faculty of Economics & Political Sciences. I quit my job six years ago to follow my passion, which is to be a certified Fashion Stylist & Art Director. This is in addition to my Instagram page, and I am now working on building up my TikTok account. 

Tell us more about the story of shifting from cancer fighter to a successful social media influencer.

Between 2007 and 2012, I fought cancer three times. I had a Bone Marrow Transplant once, and I was also in isolation for over five months. The whole experience changed my perspective on life. When all this was over, I tried to slide back into my corporate life, but I couldn’t, and it was then that I decided to quit that to pursue my dream.

In the beginning, I was afraid of posting videos that would be seen by the public. But then I encouraged myself, thinking that I have nothing to lose and that I will never be able to make everybody like me or the content I post. So I started posting videos, and surprisingly the positive feedback was a lot more than the negative ones I received. I am currently posting on TikTok as it gives me the chance to be creative and have fun while styling clothes. I still have a lot to work on and more to show, and I really do think the sky’s my limit.

 

Yasmin Yousri

What is the main aim and idea of posting those videos? 

I aim to teach ladies a variety of styling tips and fashion hacks. I love being creative in the videos I post, and I am having so much fun making them. I believe it is an important factor that can be seen throughout my account that I am very passionate about the content I’m posting. I strongly believe that being passionate about the work you do is really importance.

 

How many people on average watch your videos, and how many followers do you currently have?

The average views per video on my TikTok account are between 150,000 and 200,000 views. I have almost 35,000 followers on TikTok at the moment.

 

What are your main fashion and skincare tips for women as we live with the coronavirus?

My two main fashion tips are that you should be comfortable, and that you should avoid buying things that you most likely won’t wear. 

Regarding skincare, I happen to believe that the coronavirus outbreak is the best thing to have happened for our skin, since we can have a long break from applying make-up! My current skincare regimen is that I moisturise my skin on a daily basis. I also have a mini self-care day on a weekly basis, where I create some DIY masks, depending on my skin’s needs. On a monthly basis, I use my Derma Roller, which is something that I taught myself and added to my routine during the pandemic.  

 

In your opinion, how has the pandemic affected people’s social media usage, and how did it impact the fashion and skin care industries?

At the beginning of this pandemic, I felt that people were still trying to cope with the uncertainty of the situation. Being on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, I felt that the audience reacted differently on each platform.

Facebook was all about the news and facts, Instagram was all about the inspiring pictures and videos that aimed to encourage people to stay home. TikTok boomed during this period, as it brought us all together through fun challenges, informative one-minute vlogs, and much more. 

Regarding the fashion industry, as people were not able to go out, they started resorting to online shopping. We can see the curve of online sales going upwards, especially in loungewear and comfortable clothes that would suit staying home. 

The same goes for the skincare industry. As I mentioned before, the quarantine was the perfect time for self-care and giving our skins a break from all the makeup, environmental pollution, and much more. 

 

How can social media help people overcome any challenges they might face during the pandemic?

I believe that social media can become a tool that helps people find out more about themselves and discover new talents they never knew existed. Some people have now become famous TikTokers, some have become cooks, and others have started their own businesses and much more. 

What are your aspirations?

I want to show people in our region that cancer survivors have a life after cancer. I aspire to celebrate all cancer survivors and strong fighters. 

 

Are you planning to switch from social media influencing to TV presenter in the future?

Being a TV presenter is a childhood dream of mine, so no one knows what the future holds!

What is your advice for girls who are following you?

My advice is to be patient and to follow your dreams. Being successful and achieving your dreams does not have to come at a certain age. As long as you are breathing, you are achieving a new and greater thing. Never lose hope or give up on your journey. 

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1,000% increase in women’s complaints during COVID-19 crisis: NCW  https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/06/28/1000-increase-in-womens-complaints-during-covid-19-crisis-ncw/ Sun, 28 Jun 2020 08:00:02 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=734673 95% of complaints related to social and economic needs, Aml Abd El Moneim

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The number of complaints received by the complaints office at the National Council for Women (NCW) since 14 March has increased 1,000%,  office’s director Aml Abd El Moneim told Daily News Egypt

Before the onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the NCW complaints office would receive an average of between 1,000 and 2,000 complaints every month, Abd El Moneim said. However, since  14 March, the office has received a staggering 34,000 complaints.  

She noted that 95% of the complaints and requests received by the office during this period were related to social and economic needs. Most of these are related to problems in the workplace, with a small percentage of complaints related to personal status and domestic violence.

Abd El Moneim added that the office has helped many who have been infected with the coronavirus contact Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and the special 105 hotline designated for virus-related enquiries.

Abd El Moneim explained that the office provides a professional level of service, including legal, social and psychological consultations. The office also refers the problem to the concerned authority, whether governmental or otherwise, for resolution, or passes cases on to the relevant assistance where the individual requests a volunteer lawyer.

“I would say that 100% of the cases that we then refer to the concerned authorities were resolved as long as the case was in real need for a solution,” Abd El Moneim said.

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Egyptian nurses share COVID-19 battlefront stories https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/06/11/egyptian-nurses-share-covid-19-battlefront-stories/ Thu, 11 Jun 2020 08:30:49 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=733064 Since then, Mohamed has been singing for the medical staff and patients at the quarantine hospital, providing relief and a much needed breather. This has been a time of great stress and pressure on healthcare workers, as Mohamed herself reported, saying she felt depressed at the beginning of her work at the quarantine hospital. 

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In early April, Ismailia’s Abou Khalifa Hospital witnessed an amazing scene. A nurse called Doaa Mohamed was signing Egyptian songs from inside the hospital, while the musician Islam Al-Sayyad was playing with a violinist from outside the hospital walls.

The incident was not an accident, having been set up by a doctor who thought to surprise his colleagues inside the quarantine hospital, particularly as it is a centre for treating coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. He organised the small celebration for them to ease the pressures they face, and provide much needed respite for both healthcare workers and patients inside the hospital.

Since then, Mohamed has been singing for the medical staff and patients at the quarantine hospital, providing relief and a much needed breather. This has been a time of great stress and pressure on healthcare workers, as Mohamed herself reported, saying she felt depressed at the beginning of her work at the quarantine hospital. 

“We were having mixed feelings when we received the news that our hospital will be a quarantine hospital, feeling of fear for our families and for ourselves, and feeling of great responsibility,” Mohamed told Daily News Egypt. “Even our families were crying due to their fear for us, we all were thinking that the virus flies and that we are going to be infected easily.”

She said that her fear has disappeared with time, particularly as she has been dealing with many patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus. 

“My hospital, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, has been guiding us since the beginning of the crisis on how to deal with the patients, and how to take all the infection control steps,” Mohamed said. 

She added that by time, she has adapted to the work under the pandemic at the hospital, and has begun to think on how to relieve the pressure on patients. She noted that reassuring and treating patients is a national duty for any nurse.

“I think that one of the positive sides of this pandemic is that people now appreciate the nurses’ efforts and have become more aware of how hard we work and what challenges we face,” Mohamed said. 

She is one of the millions of nurses that have served on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic. No doubt there is plenty of stress and anxiety on the back of having to deal with so many cases of serious illness, with infection and death having become commonplace on the medical frontline.

But the female medical staff have more responsibility to balance between their work and families, as they take on the added feelings of guilt and stress of dividing their attention between work and family. In this pandemic, this is further compounded as they leave their houses for 14 or 15 continuous days. And if they are at home, they feel added stress and fear of dealing with their families so as not to infect them.

Through this article, Daily News Egypt sheds light on the amazing frontline role of nurses, and interviews several from Egypt’s different categories of hospitals to find out about the challenges they face.

Egyptian Nursing Syndicate Head Kawthar Mahmoud

Necessary precautions 

Egyptian Nursing Syndicate Head Kawthar Mahmoud told Daily News Egypt that 13 nurses nationwide have died of the coronavirus so far, and there are currently several nurses in isolation. Yet others have recovered and since returned to work.

Mahmoud said that the syndicate tries to help nurses via all means of support, whether moral or psychological. This occurs through continuous communication or financial support through disbursing EGP 20,000 for the family of the nurse who died from the virus, and EGP 2,000 for the nurse that has tested positive for COVID-19.

“According to a Ministry of Health decision, there are at least 20 beds in every hospital for medical staff, so that in case of testing positive they can go into isolation and follow the treatment protocol,” Mahmoud said. 

Doaa Mohamed and Eman Gamal, a nurse at Qasr Al-Eini Specialized Hospital, confirmed the syndicate chief’s statements. They said that nurses at their hospital work in shifts and sleep over at their hospitals for 14 days followed by several days off. They are also tested for the coronavirus when returning to the hospital at the beginning of their 15 day work shifts and also when they leave the hospital.

Norhan Eid, a nurse at a private hospital in Cairo, said that every week, nurses who come into contact with coronavirus patients, they themselves are also tested for the virus.

The three nurses agreed that in their hospitals, if any of the medical staff tested positive, they will be isolated at the hospital if their conditions need medical treatment there. If not, they take the medicines needed and undertake their isolation period at home.

Isolation and Fears

“The biggest challenge that I face is the psychological stress that I am isolated completely from my social life, friends, and parent, in these days all families feel safe by together supporting each other,” Doaa Mohamed said. “But for any nurse, she will become afraid of coming into contact or dealing with her parents in case of the spread of infection, as we are not sure if we are carriers for the virus or not.”

She added that although she is entitled to take time off from her work, the fear of potentially spreading the virus remains very real.

“I have worked in the quarantine hospital since 8 March, and took only six disconnected days as a holiday due to my fear of infecting my parents,” Mohamed said. “I could to take a holiday, but I insist not to, as I do not want to infect them if I am a carrier for the virus.”

Hend Awad, a nurse at a private hospital, noted another, just as personal, side effect of the virus.

“I have two children, and since the pandemic has begun, I left them at my mother`s home so she could take care of them, and I haven’t seen them since 8 March,” she said. “Every day, their father debates with me about leaving work, but due to my feeling of responsibility I refused.”

Eman Gamal, a nurse at the Qasr Al-Eini Specialized Hospital, said, “I felt that I am in complete isolation from my family, as I word at the hospital for 14 continued days, and when returning home, I am afraid about them even if my PCR test is negative.”

She noted that even if the test comes negative, she still fears being an asymptomatic carrier, so she isolates herself for another 14 days.

PPE shortage in some hospitals

“The isolation wards in hospital are the most likely to have all the protective supplies available,” Norhan Eid said. 

Gamal, however, said, There was a shortage of protective tools at the Qasr Al-Eini Specialized Hospital before it became an isolation hospital, but since then all the protective tools have been provided.”

She also said that personal protective equipment (PPE) supply once started to dwindle, but this does get rectified.

Gamal noted that using PPE and having to wear all the necessary protective tools in the hot summer weather is difficult more than anyone can imagine.  

On the other hand, a nurse at the Damanhour Chest Disease Hospital, who prefers to remain anonymous, said that there has been a shortage of protective tools. The nurse stated that there was even shortage of hand soap supply.

The nurse added that the water supply was cut at the hospital sometimes, and that unfortunately, the hospital was not even sterilised or disinfected.

Hadia Ahmed, who works at a governmental hospital, agreed that there was a shortage of PPE supply at the hospital she works at, with medical staff, whether nurses or doctors, having to buy their own protective tools.

She noted that this negatively affected the efficiency of the work provided, as sometimes nurses had no money to buy the protective tools so the doctors had to take on some of the nursing work as well. This in turn delayed the examination process for other patients, of course delaying and affecting the quality of healthcare they received. 

In response, the Syndicate Chief Kawthar Mahmoud told Daily News Egypt that all protective supplies are available at all of Egypt’s isolation hospitals. She also stated that she has herself inspected and is still inspecting hospitals to ensure the presence of all supplies. 

“I have not received any complaints about there being a lack in the protective equipment supplies,” she said. 

Unawareness among some patients

Norhan Eid mentioned that some patients remain unaware of the virus’ severity and its ability to spread quickly, and are sometimes not committed to movement restrictions or social distancing. 

“Once, when the PCR test results of a patient were delayed, he insisted on moving around in the corridor outside his isolation room, and was deliberately coughing just to infect us as he was angry from the delaying in results,” Eid sadly narrated. 

Overdue financial compensations

Nurses at the Abou Khalifa Hospital and other private hospitals said that they have received all their financial receivables during the pandemic.

However, a nurse at the Qasr Al-Eini Specialized Hospital said that they have not received their financial receivables, even from before the global health crisis. The nurse at the Damanhour Chest Disease Hospital said that they have not taken their bonuses from the hospital that the Ministry of Health has given over for the nurses.

The ministry has assured that the hospital is the party responsible for the delay, as it has delayed the disbursal due to their desire for dividing the nurses’ bonuses between the administrators and the nurses. 

She said that if the hospital has not disbursed the money before the end of the fiscal year on 30 June, it will be returned back to the Ministry of Health’s treasury as no one has done this since March.

No exceptional holidays are allowed 

Due to the state of emergency caused by the health crisis, hospitals have needed to work at full capacity all the time. As a result, many healthcare staff, including nurses, had not been allowed to take exceptional holidays to keep up with the extensive demands of patient care.

Meanwhile, the nurse from the Damanhour Chest Disease Hospital said that nurses are overloaded with non-nursing work as most of the hospital workers are afraid to get infected. The nurse added that there are only two nurses on shift that have to care for as many as 45 patients, describing it as a huge load.

Continual stress

“Most of the time, the patient has anxiety when he tests positive for the coronavirus, so they tend to ring the bell for us a lot, and so I began to feel worried if I forgot to wear one of the protective tools even if it was only one of the many times that I came into contact with the patient,” Eid said. “Every time the patient rings the bell, I move quickly as I think it is an emergency.”

Eman Gamal said that it has never been an easy feeling that you are exposed to, can get infected or even die from the virus. Added to this is the constant stress of potentially infecting a family member with the virus.

“It is also hard to see a patient that was in good health yesterday become the fatality of today,” Gamal and Eid said. 

Unfortunately, the only way for a patient’s family to check in on their relative is to call the nurses. Gamal said that nurses have become stressed with hiding the truth from the family if the patient’s case is severe, which is also hard. 

Hadia Ahmed said that on one occasion, a patient’s family came to the hospital and assaulted her due to hiding the truth of his case. 

“I understand their feelings, but we used to hide the truth as not to impact negatively the patient’s immune system, as his family might tell him the truth, and the immunity is the most important thing in the fight against the virus,” Ahmed said. 

Hend Awad said that nurses suffer psychologically more than physically, either due to their fear for their families, our due to their feelings of guilt for leaving our children. Like other healthcare professionals, they also suffer the stress of the daily situations that they are exposed to, whether it is the daily intensive care or sometimes deaths of patients, to the deaths of colleagues. 

Society is not always supportive 

As they continue their daily work on the frontline against the coronavirus, nurses report varying responses from the public.

Doaa Mohamed, Norhan Eid, Eman Gamal said that society supports them and always prays for them. On the other hand, Hadia Ahmed and the nurse at the Damanhour Hospital complained that people feel afraid of them as potential carriers of the virus. 

Ahmed narrated sadly that her neighbours demanded that she leave her home, and when she refused they put their waste and other rubbish in front of her door.

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How to keep children entertained and relaxed during quarantine https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/06/04/how-to-keep-children-entertained-and-relaxed-during-quarantine/ Thu, 04 Jun 2020 09:00:09 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=732456 Meanwhile, 60% of all children live in one of the 82 countries with a full (7% of countries) or partial (53%) lockdown, accounting for 1.4 billion youth who have had their learning affected, according to latest UNICEF figures.

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Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most countries have imposed restrictions on international or inter-state movement. Most companies have asked their employees to work from home, whilst at the same time, all nurseries, schools, and universities have closed their doors, forcing their students to learn from home.

A total of 2.34 billion under-18 people live in one of the 186 countries that have imposed some form of movement restrictions due to the virus. 

Meanwhile, 60% of all children live in one of the 82 countries with a full (7% of countries) or partial (53%) lockdown, accounting for 1.4 billion youth who have had their learning affected, according to latest UNICEF figures.

“I was having a conference call for work, and I was finishing a required task, but every second my child cries or asks about something.”

“I had to leave the conference call every five minutes to ensure everything is alright with my children, as they are staying in the room alone.”

“I am really stressed due to the closure of schools and nurseries, and I try to do everything at home for my children while I am working.”

In the current circumstances, almost all mothers anywhere in the world have said at least one of these complaints.

For a working mother, it has never been an easy to find that balance between work and family. Mothers frequently carry feelings of guilt and stress due to having to divide her attention between work and family responsibilities.

With the pandemic still in full swing, the problem has only got bigger, adding yet more difficulty and the need for further flexibility on the shoulders of full-time working mothers. Now, they face the added need for flexibility as they focus in their work while having their children at home full-time during quarantine. 

It is not just mothers that are facing more responsibility during the lockdown – it is both parents who have to try to keep their children healthy and occupied at home. This comes in addition to adapting to the new lifestyle with the movement restrictions in place.

Here are some tips and ideas to keep your children occupied and healthy at home, whether you’re a working mother or not.

1- Stick to a daily routine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Child Mind Institute both recommend that parents maintain familiar routines as much as possible. If this isn’t possible, you can create new ones, especially if children must stay at home.

This includes establishing a routine for waking up, eating, and going to bed around the same time every day. Consistency and structure are calming during times of stress. Children, especially younger ones or those who are anxious, benefit from knowing what’s going to happen and when.

The Child Mind Institute explained that setting a timer will help children know when activities are about to begin or end. Having regular reminders will help stave off meltdowns when it’s time to transition from one thing to the next.

2- Discuss the coronavirus with your children in an honest way.

The pandemic is the dialogue of the hour, so the WHO advises parents to discuss and talk about the coronavirus with their children, using honesty and age-appropriate language.

3- Support your children with at-home learning, and make sure time is set aside for play.

Another WHO recommendation for the parents is to support their children with at-home learning, whilst making sure that time is set aside for play. One option for home-learning includes e-learning courses whilst parents have work. In their free time, parents can also help their children with the courses as a way of bonding.

4- Help children stay in contact with friends and family members through telephone and online channels.

Everyone needs to stay in touch with their loved ones and friends – it is also a way of creating mental wellness. The WHO recommends that parents help their children stay in connect with friends and family members.

There are a lot of ways that the children can stay connected with those closest to them, including telephone or video calls. With home internet connections common, they also can play video games online together.

5- Make sure that children have time away from screens every day and spend time undertaking off-line activities together. 

The WHO advises parents to make sure that their children have time away from screens every day, and spend time doing off-line activities together.

The organisation also recommends parents ensure that their children do not spend significantly more time than usual on video games.

These last two pieces of advice might make parents feel even more overwhelmed about finding some creative activities. But there’s no need worry here, as there are plenty of creative activities that can take place at home.

1- If it is possible for you to move outside your home, it is a wonderful opportunity to take family walks and bike rides. This is a fantastic opportunity to have a change of scene, just remember to maintain social distancing with others outside your family unit.

2- Help your children express their feelings by drawing a picture, or even writing a short story or a poem. Children love these kinds of creative activities.

3- Talk with your children about the importance of helping people during an unprecedented crisis, directing them to gather toys and clothes that can be donated.

4- Get children engaged in kitchen activities. For example, you can ask them to bake a cake with you, or after work. Before making lunch, ask your children to go and look at what ingredients you have in the kitchen and ask them for their suggestions for a healthy menu.

5- Even though there may be travel and movement restrictions outside, you can still get children moving inside the home, through dancing or trying online yoga and fitness classes. You can even play outside in the garden, if you have one.

You can refer to websites such as YouTube that have plenty of child-friendly workouts. If you have work to complete, you can set your children a challenge and leave them doing these exercises while you work.

6- Take to telling stories to your children, or, if you cannot narrate alone and you need help, you can check audible story websites, such as Audible. The website offers free stories for children up to age 18 in different languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese.

7- Try to make your children feel productive by making them organise their toys, rooms, clothes, school supplies, books, and games. Also, try to make them have fun while organising.

8- It will be likely there will be a bit of boredom with movement so restricted. But to stop your little ones getting bored, you can set a different theme for every day. For example, you can set one day for wearing Halloween clothes, another day for Yoga and fitness, another one for sports, another one for dancing party, and so on. You can also plant seeds in cups and put them either on your windowsill or the balcony.

Ideas for offline games

After work hours or during the weekend, you can compensate your children by playing with them some offline games. One is quite spoilt for choice with what one can do, but here are some ideas for offline games.

Guess the Film: In a type of charades, one member of the family acts out various names of films and other family members try to guess the film.

Autobus Complete: Here, every member of the family takes a pen and paper to write at the top of the paper a column for a letter. They then try to find the name of a person, dish, animal, country or famous event that starts with that letter. 

 The first person who starts picks a letter and says it to the other players and everyone tries to write names for things starting with that letter. The first one who finishes them all says “autobus complete” and the game finishes.

Calculating the score begins when players say all the items they wrote in each column. If two or more people write the same name, it will be calculated at 5 points for it. If they write unique things, they take 10 marks. Add them together and write the number in the result column to decide the winner.

Ghamza: Players write different numbers, with all members agreeing on a specific number as the distinguished one. They then have to turn all the papers on their back and each one takes a paper and hides it.

For example, if the agreed distinguished number is 3, then the one who gets the paper with 3 written on it has to wink to all the other people. The one who got winked has to throw his card on the table without revealing the number identity, and so on, until there is only one person left at the end who has not had wink.

If anyone of the other players took care of the wink and discovered the identity of the distinguished number or who has it, then this one will win.

The last one who has not caught the wink, he will ask who has the paper with the chosen number. If they guess the right person, he will win. If not, he will lose and the person who has the paper with the chosen number will win.

Bingo: In this party standard, each player will take a paper and write the letters B, I, N, G, O above five vertical columns, with one letter appearing above each column.

Each player must write under the B column, the numbers from 1 to 15, and in the I column numbers from 16 to 30, the N column should have numbers from 31 to 45. Meanwhile, the G column will have under it a number from 46 to 60, and the O column will have under it numbers from 61 to 75.

Then each player will call out random numbers depending on what is best to make a BINGO of five in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The one who finishes first will win.

Other games: you can also play with your children domino or cards, connect four, UNO, Bank of Chance, among others. Also, you can build puzzles with your children, an activity which has really caught on in recent weeks as the lockdown continues.

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The dawn of a new dimension: including women – by design       https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/04/29/the-dawn-of-a-new-dimension-including-women-by-design/ Wed, 29 Apr 2020 08:00:44 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=729335 From Ariel’s powerful #ShareTheLoad engagement to Barbie telling us ‘You Can Be Anything’, there are some fantastic examples of brands actively shifting the conversation to include women, and expand on their contributions to the world we live in.

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As a marketer, I appreciate when creativity meets great insights and data to deliver an approach that achieves its objectives. As a woman, I also especially love seeing these kinds of successful activities share commentary on the way our world interacts with women, or shed essential light on how much of our world was designed without women in mind.

From Ariel’s powerful #ShareTheLoad engagement to Barbie telling us ‘You Can Be Anything’, there are some fantastic examples of brands actively shifting the conversation to include women, and expand on their contributions to the world we live in. But it’s not just about recognising changing times or joining a social impact drive, it’s about much more than that.

There is a clear business rationale for brands that adapt their business strategies to include women by design.

By incorporating the diverse perspectives that women bring, championing female role models as ambassadors, designing fit-for-purpose products that meet women’s needs, and creating content that encourages women to pursue their passions, brands can effectively tap into the spending power and influence of women. Take sportswear apparel for example.

We took note when principal ballerina Misty Copeland gracefully danced in athletic Under Armour gear to the legend of ‘I Will What I Want’. Likewise, we were mesmerised when Nike featured Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari spinning on ice in her hijab. These were followed by more prominent and provocative content that put women at the centre of the conversation, and it was clear that the industry had woken up to the business growth opportunity that exists when we incorporate the true – not imagined – perspectives of women.

By drawing attention to the strength, unique shapes, and differentiated athleticism of women, through showcasing real role models in better designed active-wear clothing, the women’s sports apparel industry has done just that – tapped into a significant consumer base: women. How significant? According to UBS, women are key drivers of consumer decisions, with about 85% of women managing day-to-day expenses.

Now, when we design products, services, experiences and solutions for women, we need to envision them through the viewpoints of women.

In terms of experiences, who is to say that only boys see themselves walking the stadium with global football legends at the UEFA Champions League final? This is exactly the ‘priceless surprise’ that Mastercard arranged last year for 10-year-old Basmah Nawaf Alshnaifi – a girl with a passion for football, who became the UCL’s first female Saudi mascot.

When it comes to products and services, are we meeting the actual needs of women? Do we have insights that can help us incorporate women’s experiences into the design and innovation process? We must consider the functionality and practicalities of women’s interaction. In short, we have to help design and develop a world with both women and men in mind.

To do this, we need women to be part of the design and innovation process, especially in this age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And to do that, we need to inspire young girls to consider and pursue a career in STEM, through initiatives like Girls4Tech. As part of this programme, Mastercard has committed to reaching one million girls globally by 2025, including 2,020 in the UAE alone by the end of Expo 2020 Dubai.

So, what exactly is the value of a world that includes women by design?

In addition to the humanitarian benefits, it’s a considerable amount. In the Middle East and North Africa, the loss in global wealth from gender inequality is estimated at $3.1trn. With the UAE’s MIWE Women Business Owner rate at only 7.7%, there’s great scope for growth in the region, and huge opportunities for finance.

Global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman agrees. It estimates a global revenue opportunity of $700bn is currently being left on the table by the financial services industry not fully meeting the needs of women consumers.

Think of the increased speed in which we can close the gender gap in terms of financial inclusion if we design better, more helpful digital financial products for women.

As a payment technology leader with global insights, Mastercard has invested significantly in understanding women’s financial priorities, and mapping out those priorities across different life stages. After all, a specific position in time often influences our need for specialised support and ingenious innovations – in sportswear as much as financial solutions. 

The necessity for women to have control over finances is a recurring theme, and Mastercard’s Women by Design Insights and Product Development Framework revealed over 63% of women are looking for ways to simplify their lives. But how does this translate into the way they transact? Women in the Middle East are still less confident than men in using the internet to access financial services, and although 8% of women in the UAE have used digital wallets as a payment method, the number still lags men’s usage at 14%.

By making a conscious decision to integrate women’s perspectives into our business, marketing and innovation strategies, more women will benefit from solutions specifically designed for their needs. More companies will see revenues climb. More societies will experience elevated productivity. More economies will grow and thrive. 

After all, a world that works better for women creates limitless possibilities for us all. 

Beatrice Cornacchia: Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing & Communications, Middle East & Africa at Mastercard

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NCW issues policy tracker for Covid-19 women-related responsive measures https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/04/07/ncw-issues-policy-tracker-for-covid-19-women-related-responsive-measures/ Tue, 07 Apr 2020 21:33:28 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=727355 NCW President Maya Morsy confirmed that the report monitors all policies and procedures taken by the authorities.

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The National Council for Women (NCW) launched on Tuesday the first women-related policy tracker on responsive measures taken by the state during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.


The tracker is designed to monitor the policies and measures taken by the Egyptian government to respond to the needs of women. The policy tracker report comes as part of Egypt’s efforts to contain the spread of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, with an analysis of the period from 14 March to 6 April.

NCW President Maya Morsy confirmed that the report monitors all policies and procedures taken by the authorities.

Morsy said, “It can be used as a reference by decision-makers for more collaborative vision on means of moving forward, as well as documenting the coordinated efforts of the government and reflecting on those policies with supporting programmes.”

Morsy also said that the government’s efforts fall in line with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s directions during a meeting celebrating Egyptian Women’s Day that was held on 22 March.

“In particular, the government was keen on mainstreaming and integrating Egyptian women in all decision making process and implementing programmes, to ensure their protection from all social, economic and psychological repercussions of the emerging virus,” she added.

Morsy said that the NCW has presented the government with a policy paper responding to the proposed needs of women in tackling the coronavirus. She noted that it will work with government partners to support the development and implementation of mitigation policies to ensure the protection of women and girls.

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Entreprenelle: unlocking the potential of Egypt’s female entrepreneurs https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/28/entreprenelle-unlocking-the-potential-of-egypts-female-entrepreneurs/ Sat, 28 Mar 2020 07:00:48 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=726224 Entreprenelle mainly aims to support local women economically by educating, training and linking them to all the possible entrepreneurship resources. 

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Driven by passion and love for the entrepreneurship, an Egyptian woman, Rania Ayman, has founded in 2015 the social development and business impact organisation named “Entreprenelle.”

Entreprenelle mainly aims to support local women economically by educating, training and linking them to all the possible entrepreneurship resources. 

Since 2017, Entreprenelle holds an event called “SHE CAN”, that addresses entrepreneurial activities for women from all ages in four areas: education, media, technology, and creative industries, becoming the leading female entrepreneurship event in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. 

Daily News Egypt interviewed Ayman to learn more about her journey with Entreprenelle, and She CAN, shedding light on the female entrepreneurship in Egypt, highlighting the challenges and the opportunities there. 

What is the main idea behind Entreprenelle? How did the idea of ‘SHE CAN’ originate?

When I used to work in development, I noticed that women rarely attended our entrepreneurial events; few women attended the events that focus on technology and entrepreneurship. This reflected the harsh truth of the entrepreneurial scene then, where at some events, the only woman attending would be a fiancée or wife of a speaker. This was a wakeup call for me, and after intense research, I decided to create Entreprenelle, as a social entrepreneurship model that would enable Egyptian women to establish their businesses, and assist them in doing so through networking and marketing.

Afterwards, we wanted to create a hub to celebrate and support women entrepreneurs, and become a centre for sharing experience, support, and invest in rising female entrepreneurs.

Rania Ayman

What is the goal that SHE CAN aims to achieve?

We work through three main pillars at Entreprenelle: awareness, education, and resources accessibility. We consider SHE CAN the pinnacle of our annual activities, through which we conclude all of our successes and functions, and celebrate the most improved businesses. SHE CAN event targets elevating female entrepreneurs, and provides them with access to a vast network of investors and experts in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It also seeks to enable female entrepreneurs, decision-makers, and market leaders through matchmaking activities with corporates and investors.

What is the difference between the first and latest edition of SHE CAN events?

SHE CAN had humble but great inception at the Great Cairo Library back in 2017, where no more than hundreds of successful ladies gave talks about their businesses for about 500 ambitious attendees. The first SHE CAN event theme was ‘They did it. So can you!’, we wanted to encourage ladies who wanted to establish their businesses by creating a network of women helping each other, by presenting the most inspiring successful female entrepreneurs.

Since then, and through hundreds of sessions and workshops over four years, SHE CAN has grown to become the biggest event for women entrepreneurs and “want-preneurs” as we call them. We have hosted 3 SHE CAN events that saw over 8,000 attendees seeking encouragement and inspiration from our partners, and this year we managed to host 6,000 attendees.

This year, SHE CAN’s objective was to enable and inspire women to start fresh after learning from the challenging events of 2019.

What was different in this year’s edition?

Every year, Entreprenelle seeks to innovate its approach through SHE CAN, to support female entrepreneurs. Generally, 2019 was a challenging year that hit the entrepreneurial community as a whole. Therefore, we decided that SHE CAN 2020’s theme should be ”Fresh Start”, to encourage female entrepreneurs to start over and start better, regardless of their failures in 2019. SHE CAN 2020 also was seeking to appraise women entrepreneurs who made progress and achieved remarkable milestones and allow them to reflect on their successes.

How many participants and speakers attended this year’s event? How many panels and workshops were held?

Following last year’s success, several influential figures showed great interest in attending as speakers and panellists. Similar to last year, we held training sessions, workshops and masterclasses, where over 100 experts delivered their knowledge to SHE CAN attendees. Moreover, we held multiple panel discussions and talks on the main stage, including numerous successful entrepreneurs from different fields.

What is the average age for participating female entrepreneurs?

SHE CAN brings together women in one place for empowerment and inspiration, disregarding any differences between them, that’s why our participants’ age range varies, there is no standard. This comes from our immense belief in ”equality” regardless of age or origins.

Does Entreprenelle provide financial assistance for female-owned projects? If yes, how many startups did you assist?

Entreprenelle does aim to empower women economically, however, we target to achieve that through more sustainable solutions. That can be implemented through education, training, and entrepreneurship resources. We hold several functions to benefit women entrepreneurs through workshops, crash courses, and master-classes with field experts. We became a hub and a strong network of encompassing veterans and beginners of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing access to knowledge, market, and capital. In several cases, we provided graduates from our programmes with contacts to assist them in their production and facilitate their operations.

To what extent did the government and concerned bodies help in launching this event?

One thing that makes us proud is how diverse our partners’ list is. We have collaborated with public and private entities that believed in the power of SHE CAN in its early years and helped us attain the current stature that the event has today. Among our partners were the National Council for Women, the UNICEF, the US Embassy to Egypt, the Embassy of Sweden, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN). Our partners’ list also includes the most prominent international and Egyptian corporates such as PepsiCo Egypt, IBM, Unilever, and AVON.

How do you evaluate the success of female entrepreneurs now?

The success of women entrepreneurs mainly depends on the nature of their businesses. Yet, we believe that evaluating successful entrepreneurs is based on how far they take their projects after receiving the proper support to do so. How does the project contribute to the development of the Egyptian community? And finally, how much have they contributed to the upscaling of the female entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We apply this method of evaluation to all the projects we graduate from Entreprenelle, and we constantly seek to empower our graduates to provoke a meaningful change in their communities. 

Throughout your journey with Entreprenlle, which fields do female entrepreneurs prefer?

After years of experience with female entrepreneurs, we defined four sectors that most of our partners and graduates are interested in joining. Namely; Fashion, Food, Crafts, and Events. Accordingly, we assist women by educating them on business modelling, marketing basics, branding, pricing, sales, business development, and financial literacy. Furthermore, we will be focusing on a new vertical that supports women in the natural products sector. 

What are the sectors that you hope to see more women join?

Believing in gender equality, we wish to see more women in all fields and sectors, which is the main purpose of SHE CAN; celebrating success stories and most improved businesses to inspire women to establish their businesses and achieve the ambitions. SHE CAN also brings together an enormous pool of new startups who want to kick off their businesses, and showcase their products, as well as expose them to different potential investors. This leads to promoting innovation within the entrepreneurial sector, as well as empowering and encouraging women to set up their businesses, hence reducing the gender gap.

What are the obstacles facing female entrepreneurs in the MENA region and Egypt?

In general, Entrepreneurs in Egypt face three main challenges; access to formal training for business management, access to digital communication for business purposes, and access to research and development. Specifically, female entrepreneurs suffer from gender stereotypes, as potential business partners do not perceive them seriously as business leaders. However, this is changing in Egypt, as we are becoming one of the leading countries to accommodate women in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as younger women between the ages of 18 and 24 are starting businesses at more than twice the rate of men in Egypt.

In your opinion, how can Entreprenelle or SHE CAN help entrepreneurs overcome the obstacles they face?

Being a social development and business support organisation, Entreprenelle’s main goal is to assist women in overcoming challenges they face as entrepreneurs. We connect women to a network of investors, experts, and mentors from which they can benefit, as well as other women entrepreneurs in situations of mutual benefits. Additionally, Entreprenelle activities span all year long, incorporating entrepreneurship incubation and acceleration programmes, and crash courses for the benefit of female entrepreneurs.

What are the opportunities of women economic empowerment in Egypt and the MENA region?

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the highest rates of women’s entrepreneurial intentions globally were reported in the MENA region at 36.6%. This reflects both the enthusiasm and potential of women in the MENA region towards entrepreneurship. This percentage, which is currently on the rise, is a green light for us to continue our efforts of empowering women in Egypt and the MENA region, and one of the reasons why Entreprenelle will be expanding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia soon. This move will be our first towards regional expansions, where we hope to empower more women to achieve their dreams.

How do you view Egypt’s women empowerment efforts?

Women empowerment is growing exponentially in Egypt, and having nine women as ministers in the current cabinet is a testament to the government’s keenness on achieving equality and women empowerment. The announcement of 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian Women” was a progressive step emphasising Egypt’s commitment to supporting women’s empowerment and rights. The Egyptian entrepreneurial field also saw a surge in the numbers of women both leading and joining startups, where the highest rates of women’s entrepreneurial intentions globally were reported in the MENA region at 36.6%.

What are your aspirations?

From the beginning, Entreprenelle’s goal as social development and business impact organisation is to support local women economically. We have reached significant milestones within 4 years; impacting more than 50,000 Egyptian women and generating more than 1000 Projects, yet a lot of work remains to be done. We hope that all Egyptian women can achieve their ambitions and establish their businesses, and we are working to attain this vision by supporting the female entrepreneurship ecosystem in Egypt. 

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Orange Egypt Participates in Baheya’s Foundation “21 Days” Breast Cancer Campaign https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/22/orange-egypt-participates-in-baheyas-foundation-21-days-breast-cancer-campaign/ Sun, 22 Mar 2020 00:02:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=725620 In an effort to support women with breast cancer and out of its eagerness to be part of all humanitarian initiatives aimed at developing and supporting women in general and the Egyptian community in specific, Orange Egypt has announced its participation in the "21 Days" campaign launched by Baheya’s Foundation in cooperation with the National Council for Women for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

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In an effort to support women with breast cancer and out of its eagerness to be part of all humanitarian initiatives aimed at developing and supporting women in general and the Egyptian community in specific, Orange Egypt has announced its participation in the “21 Days” campaign launched by Baheya’s Foundation in cooperation with the National Council for Women for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Orange donation aims to assist in reducing waiting lists from a current average of 45 days to an ideal 21 days before Mother’s Day, noting that waiting lists have reached about 5,300 cases.

On this occasion Hala Abdel-Wadood, Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility at Orange Egypt, expressed her pride in contributing to one of the most important humanitarian initiatives in 2020, which comes in line with company’s social responsibility strategy, noting that such initiatives is one of the best ways to send a message of support and solidarity to the Egyptian mother on her celebration day.

“The initiative gives hope and reassurance to more than 5 thousand Egyptian mothers and sends a clear message of support to them and their families,” she added. “We are talking here about an initiative that will benefit tens of thousands of Egyptians and families of women who are on the waiting lists.” added Abdel Wadood.

It is worth noting that “Baheya” is a non-profit charitable organization that runs a hospital equipped with the latest detection equipment and treatment for breast cancer, and the foundation works to save the lives of hundreds of women by providing an outstanding and integrated service in early detection and treatment.

Baheya Foundation enjoys great credibility among theEgyptian women, which has made it a target for a large numbers of women wanting to be screened and treated. The high demand on the hospital resulted in a long waiting list where women who want to be examined have to wait 45 days, and this negatively affects their health and psychological state.

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9 out of 10 Egyptian women receive harassment calls or messages: Truecaller https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/20/9-out-of-10-egyptian-women-receive-harassment-calls-or-messages-truecaller/ Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:30:36 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=725532 The app has recently released Truecaller Insights report aiming to understand the frequency and impact of harassment calls and messages on women in Egypt, Brazil, Columbia, India, and Kenya.

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In Egypt, 9 out of 10 women had received harassment or nuisance calls or messages, and 1 out of 3 women receive inappropriate calls or messages, according to Truecaller, the caller-identification app.

The app has recently released Truecaller Insights report aiming to understand the frequency and impact of harassment calls and messages on women in Egypt, Brazil, Columbia, India, and Kenya.

The decision to examine these countries in Truecaller Insights was based on previous reports and studies, but also on feedback the company received from the Truecaller community that harassment calls are on the rise.

The report combines quantitative research conducted by Ipsos in each local market, to get the statistics behind the problem, with face to face interviews with local women to give context and reality to the data.

Truecaller showed out that of all harassment, nuisance, and inappropriate calls, 98% are from an unknown origin, and the cities that are most commonly affected in Egypt are Cairo, Tanta, Mansoura, and Alexandra.

The research has revealed that 55% of women in Egypt reported irritation with these calls, and 46% reported feeling anger. Fear, anxiety, and worry are also common feelings that arise when women receive such calls.

More than half of Egyptian women takes action against harassment calls (60%), while 95% block the number, 60% just ignore the calls/SMS, 44% ask a male friend or family member to answer, 14% call their operators for help, and 2% report to authorities. Egypt showed the lowest reporting rate among all countries included in the report.

The survey was conducted from the period between 22 November 2019 and 24 February 2020. The sample size varied from 1,000 to 3,324 women for each market among the age group 18-40, and women in socioeconomic classes A, B, C1, and C2.

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Dear women, you have important role in combating COVID-19 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/20/dear-women-you-have-important-role-in-combating-covid-19/ Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:00:37 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=725529 Women have an important role in this difficult period. Mothers all over the world, Egypt especially, should protect their children and families from the pandemic. Daily News Egypt presents some tips for women to combat Coronavirus.

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The whole world is suffering a state of fear due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, as many countries suspended schools to limit the spread of the virus.

Egypt also suspended schools and universities for two weeks from 15 March, and closed all theatres and cinemas amid precautionary measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Subsequently, many government and private institutions and companies put plans to reduce working hours and the number of employees in office.

Women have an important role in this difficult period. Mothers all over the world, Egypt especially, should protect their children and families from the pandemic. Daily News Egypt presents some tips for women to combat Coronavirus.

Keep your family at home

Schools and universities are suspended, and most of the employees were given an excuse to work from home, so please try to avoid streets unless there is an emergency. Don`t take your kids to shopping malls or cafes. It’s not a vacation!

Even in home, try to maintain personal distance between each other. Measure the temperature of your children regularly. If any family member showed symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate him/her and call the hotline allocated by the Ministry of Health.

Pay more attention to personal hygiene

Good personal hygiene measures and using antiseptics on hard surfaces and grounds can slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Always talk positively and emphasise the importance of effective prevention measures with your family members, mainly careful hand washing, and open windows from time to time to refresh the air in your homes naturally.

Do shopping responsibly

Women usually buy food and other household goods. We advise you not to stockpile products from supermarkets or pharmacies. Egyptian cabinet assured everyone that the state has enough reserves of all goods.

Even in the most affected countries like Italy, we have not heard of any stockpiling of goods.

Cook your food

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the US Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence that COVID-19 could be transmitted through food, but it’s still risks as no one is 100% sure of that. In general, it is always advised to eat well-cooked and washed food prepared at home.

If your kids got bored from homemade food, try new recipes to increase their appetite.

Create home activities

Of course after all these preventive measures, most of the family members will be bored, as a mother you have to plan for them some activities to make them enjoy their stay at home, such as, watching films, playing games together, etc.

If you are an employee, try to balance between your work and family.

Share COVID-19 updates with your children

Try to tell your children the news of COVID-19 in a simple and easy way as not to be terrifying.

There is misinformation about COVID-19 being shared online, so, it’s important to be careful where you look for information and advice.

Try to correct misinformation for people around you

As mothers usually create social media groups to spread news among them, try as much as you can to correct any false news about COVID-19, either in these groups or among work colleagues, relatives, or neighbours. It’s part of your responsibility.

Finally, the war against the disease is the responsibility of every one, so please try to stick to these tips in order to overcome this difficult period.

Wishing everyone good health.

 

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Celebrating motherhood: Meet Egypt’s first ‘Ideal Mother’ in 2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/20/celebrating-motherhood-meet-egypts-first-ideal-mother-in-2020/ Fri, 20 Mar 2020 09:00:43 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=725526 Winning mothers were selected from 762 mothers who participated in contest

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Saturday 21 March will mark the Mother’s Day. On this special occasion, Egypt has a tradition to honor ideal mothers to appreciate their roles in family and community.

The Ministry of Social Solidarity announced on Tuesday the 32 ideal mothers, including a mother with disability and a mother of a son with special needs from across Egypt.

Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj said during the ceremony that the winning mothers were selected from 762 mothers who participated in the contest. A total 404 mothers met the competition’s criteria.

El-Kabbaj explained that the 2020 criteria stipulate that mother should consolidate human values among her family and promote the value of family. She also should maintain the cohesion and interdependence of her family. The ideal mother has to keep balance between her responsibilities, promote positive values to her children, and take good care of them.

The ideal mother should be more than 50 years old as of December 2019. She has to be literate with no more than three children, with the exception of border provinces (Red Sea, Sinai, Matrouh, New Valley, and Aswan) where applicants should have no more than five children, and those children must be university graduates or students.

At the end of her speech, El-Kabbaj stressed that the ministry will not hold any activities that require gatherings in light of the government’s precautionary measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

Amina Rashed, Egypt’s first ideal mother

Daily News Egypt met the first Egyptian ideal mother in 2020 to tell us about her motherhood journey.

Amina Rashed, a 71-year-old widowed woman from Damietta, told Daily News Egypt that she used to work as a nurse before retirement.

“I used to work as a nurse at a hospital where I met my husband who was a doctor. We got married and got three children. We had a happy life until the turning point 32 years ago when my husband died suddenly due to a heart attack, leaving behind three daughters, the eldest was 6 years old and another 4 years old, while I was pregnant with my third daughter,” Rashed said.

She added that after her husband’s death, she faced a lot of obstacles, but she did not give up. She fought for her family and continued to work as a nurse to raise her children.

“I wanted my daughters to have a better life than mine, and thanks God they are now,” she said, trying to smile though tears were in her eyes.

“School leaving was not an option for my daughters, and I did not want to marry again,” she stressed.

Rashed’s eldest daughter got a Bachelor of Science, while the second and the third daughters both got a Bachelor of Engineering.

The eldest and youngest daughters got married, and the mother over years won many certificates of appreciation through her participation in the social work.

Talking about the competition, Rashed mentioned that her friends advised her to apply in the competition, expressing her happiness with this honoring and winning.

Rashed`s story is one of many others of Egyptian women who raised their children and devoted their lives for this goal. The Mother’s Day is a special occasion to honour all those women who could support their children despite all the obstacles they faced.

Egypt was the first country to celebrate Mother’s Day in the Arab world, with all Arab countries soon following suit.

The idea of the day was originated by sibling journalists Ali and Mostafa Amin, the founders of Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper, as the former received a letter from a mother complaining of ill-treatment from her children.

Another mother visited Mostafa Amin at the time in his office and told him about her story of becoming a widow, and subsequently devoting her life to her children by not remarrying. She became like a father and mother at the same time to her children, until they were graduated from university and got married. However, they currently only visit her occasionally, she complained.

This prompted Ali Amin to write, in his famous column ‘Fekra’ (Idea), an article suggesting a special day to celebrate mothers.

His idea gained popularity, and his column’s readers began suggesting dates to mark the occasion. Accordingly, 21 March was selected as a day to celebrate motherhood throughout the nation, as it signals the beginning of spring.

It was celebrated for the first time in Egypt in 1956, during the era of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the Arab world later adopted the idea of celebrating Mother’s Day.

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Egypt celebrates its own women`s day on 16 March https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/18/egypt-celebrates-its-own-womens-day-on-16-march/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 07:14:09 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=725278 The 16 March is a special day in the history of Egyptian women's struggle towards her rights, the roots of the day dates back to 1919 when women participated for the first time in political demonstrations during the1919 revolution.

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Egypt celebrates every year on 16 March, its own women’s day, aiming to focus on women`s historic struggle for their rights and also to recognise their current achievements and obstacles.

The 16 March is a special day in the history of Egyptian women’s struggle towards her rights, the roots of the day dates back to 1919 when women participated for the first time in political demonstrations during the1919 revolution.

During these demonstrations, the wives of Egyptian politicians and students from the Sunni Secondary School for Girls participated in these demonstartions, carrying both the crescent with the cross, confirming national unity.

These demonstrations were the beginning of a series of women-led demonstrations. The revolution led to the creation of female martyrs, the first of which was Shafiqa  Mohamed  Al-Ashmawi.

Four years after the great representation of women in the 1919 revolution,  Hoda Shaarawy founded the Egyptian Women’s Federation on the same date on March 16, 1923, which is the first women’s union in Egypt, and the only association that represented Egypt in the first international women’s conference.

On 16 March1956, Egyptian women obtained the right to vote and to be elected, which was one of the demands that Egyptian women fought for. It was officially fulfilled in the 1956 constitution.

Over the years, Egyptian women participated strongly in all fields, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared 2017 as the year of the Egyptian woman.

Currently, Egyptin women constitute 25% of the government, with women representing 15% in parliament. The latest constitutional amendments also stipulate a quota for 25% women and 20% youth, starting in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

 

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Women lead Expo 2020 Dubai, proving they can break through glass ceiling https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/15/women-lead-expo-2020-dubai-proving-they-can-break-through-glass-ceiling/ Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:56:30 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724991 More than 50% of Expo’s employees are women

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Showing its efforts to combat gender inequality, Expo 2020 Dubai said women will occupy a number of leadership positions in the event, starting with Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem Al Hashemi who is also the Managing Director for the Dubai World Expo 2020 Bid Committee.

Expo 2020 brings together the cream of world female architectural talent in one place. The event will host the world for 173 days from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021.

Some 192 countries will participate in the Expo 2020, and there will also be a huge wealth of architectural talent from the respective countries designing the pavilions and within that talent pool, there is a significant number of female architects.

Expo 2020 provides a platform for their work and encourages equality and inclusivity – values that help define the UAE.

Female architects occupy leading design positions on a number of country pavilions representing five continents, including Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America.

From the Middle East/Mena region, Rihab Zakwani, and Alya Battashi are the two female architects leading the Oman Pavilion design, which is by Omani company Adi Architecture. They aim to incorporate their country’s history into the feminine lines and understated architecture that will bring Oman’s story to life.

Frankincense, Oman’s “gift to the world”, has played a vital and varied role in the nation’s development from ancient times to the present day. The Oman Pavilion pays tribute to this precious resin, with its exterior resembling the tree that produces frankincense. Inside there are five zones detailing the diverse ways in which frankincense has benefited Oman – spanning everything from medicine to food to cosmetics.

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Halaet Wasl Foundation honours 100 influential Egyptian women to mark IWD2020 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/15/halaet-wasl-foundation-honours-100-influential-egyptian-women-to-mark-iwd2020/ Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:52:01 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724996 Chairperson of Halaet Wasl’s Board of Trustees Fathi Al-Muzayen said the aim of this conference is to accentuate the success of Egyptian women from various fields and backgrounds and to encourage other women to continue forging their own paths.

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020, which was celebrated globally on 8 March, Halaet Wasl Foundation for promoting cultural awareness held its fifth annual conference, honouring 100 Egyptian female leaders who have made great strides in their fields that varies between health, science, media, society, culture, charity, sports, and more.

Chairperson of Halaet Wasl’s Board of Trustees Fathi Al-Muzayen said the aim of this conference is to accentuate the success of Egyptian women from various fields and backgrounds and to encourage other women to continue forging their own paths.

“Therefore, we are working through the conference to provide a communication programme between Egyptian role models who lead different professions and initiatives, to establish relationships among the women themselves as well as the media, to exchange ideas, and to provide a platform for sharing best experiences to maximise benefits,” he said.

Al-Muzayen stressed that honouring women is a great privilege, and each woman’s success benefits the whole society. He also thanked the political leadership for its continuous support for Egyptian women.

In this article Daily News Egypt will pick out five role models who were honoured at the conference.

Amira Essam: first female CNC Lathe instructor in Egypt

One of the biggest influencers in the conference was Amira Essam, 26, who works as a lathe machine instructor at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology. 

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

Her high grades in these courses qualified her to receive a scholarship to study at the Technical and Vocational Institute at AASTMT.

After completing the scholarship, she got an offer to join the training staff of the AASTMT, 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, also becoming a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning instructor, and I gained experiences in various welding techniques,” she said.

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

Reham Abobakr: bringing eco-tourism to Egypt’s remote locations

The second woman of influence is Reham Abobakr, she redefined what it means to be a frequent traveller while creating a socially conscience business. She started the first geo/eco-tourism agency in Egypt that doesn’t only teach Egyptians about hidden natural attractions in their own country, but also provides assistance to struggling communities outside of the cities.

The company seeks to infuse tourism with a scientific and knowledge-based edge where geography, geomorphology, geology, history, and astronomy play a role to getting acquainted with the sites visited.

As a lover of travelling, Abobakr travelled in 2014 to the most southeast point of Egypt, in an area called the Hala’ib Triangle. Her journey to the triangle became a turning point for her and the communities she visited. She saw how people were struggling to live in this area, so she decided to establish Egypt’s very first eco-tourism company, Geo Travel. Her company was not only the first to ever bring tourism to the Hala’ib triangle, but Abobakr made it so that 15% of her company’s profits are donated to the Rahalah Organization for Sustainable Development. Rahalah is an NGO that runs charitable campaigns wherever Geo Travel organises trips to, including Saint Catherine, Safaga, Hala’ib Triangle, etc.

Abobakr met a series of challenges during her journey with Geo Travel, most notably is securing permits to travel to restricted areas like the Hala`ib Triangle itself, but was able to overcome all these challenges and organise the trips perfectly.

Dalia Assem: founder of Noun El Newsa for charity initiative

The third influential honouree is Dalia Assem who founded charitable feminist initiative two and a half years ago that invites women every month to various hospitals and orphanages to donate between EGP 50 – 100 each. The reason for these small donations is not so much to give financial support (even though this amount does guarantee the sustainability of the donations), but it mainly aims for these women to donate their time and support.

At first, the initiative was initially purely feminist, but then opened its door to include men and children as well.

The initiative aims to serve and support the largest possible number of society who are unable to find support, whether material support or support from the media.

Assem’s motto is “a small amount of money maybe trivial to many, but it still can save a life of another person.”

Sherin Amer: bring the Family Doctor clinic to Egypt

It is common for people to take multiple medications for the treatment of multiple chronic diseases that we have no choice but treat. However, as people require more and more medications, they have to visit a specialised doctor for each one. The problem isn’t so much the work you have to put in order to keep up with everything, but the lack of communication between one’s various doctors in order to make sure that the cocktail of medicine doesn’t end up poisoning the patient.

That said, Sherin Amer, the fourth influential women, opened the first Family Doctor clinic in Egypt, specialised in family medicine.

The idea behind this specific kind of clinic is to reduce mismatch of medical treatments. Instead of having to visit multiple doctors, a patient would just have one doctor, trained in multiple fields in order to diagnose a range of ailments. This way, there is one doctor that can keep track of a patients entire medical history, and be able to do so for an entire family.

Amer who is a consultant of occupational, environmental, behavioural, and family medicine in Kasr Al-Ainy, started out with just one clinic, but over the years has been able to expand to four.

Amer explained that Family Doctor clinic deals with a lot of hospitals to provide them with a medical team that diagnosis the patient within 2 hours in order to start treatment.

“I hope the idea of the family clinic is able to continue expanding. It saves time, cost, and efforts, while of course helping the patient themselves.”

Zeinab Ibrahim: maestro tries to build up a musical generation 

Maestro Zeinab Ibrahim has been working as a music teacher for 15 years. From her passion for music, she founded the children’s choir Voice of Egypt, for children aged 7-22. The choir’s first appearance was on 13 August 2018 and now consists of 34 young artists.

Ibrahim is considered the first Egyptian women maestro who specialises in dealing with young singers.

Ibrahim mentioned that she believed children between the ages of 10 and 12 have so much potential and talent, but that there is never any support to help cultivate that. She founded the choir in order to help those children enhance their talents.

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How Twitter and Facebook celebrate IWD https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/08/how-twitter-and-facebook-celebrate-iwd/ Sun, 08 Mar 2020 17:09:45 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724376 In previous years, Facebook witnessed a wide range of global feminist initiatives that discussed several important societal issues, such as combating harassment, encouraging sports, supporting victims of violence, patients with chronic diseases, early detection of breast cancer, and others.

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It is no doubt that social media has become a very effective tool on feminist issues, and since it has become a more integrated part in women’s freedom of expressions, Daily News Egypt decided to dive into the workings of Twitter and Facebook to find out how exactly they celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).

In previous years, Facebook witnessed a wide range of global feminist initiatives that discussed several important societal issues, such as combating harassment, encouraging sports, supporting victims of violence, patients with chronic diseases, early detection of breast cancer, and others.

According to Twitter, there have been 125m Tweets globally about feminism and equality over the last three years. A Twitter survey found that 80% of women on the platform from the GCC, Egypt, and Lebanon go on just to find out what’s happening in the world. Some 54% of Arab women who use the platform stated that Twitter empowers them to express themselves freely, whereas 50% of them mentioned that Twitter allows them to connect with their interests and passions. Their interests include culture (53%), health (42%) due to the outbreak of the recent Covid-19, education (40%), and government (36%).

On the occasion of IWD, Twitter has created two hashtags (in many different languages, including Arabic) that turn into emojis when submitted. The first one depicts the female symbol in gold when Tweeting the following hashtags: #IWD2020, #InternationalWomensDay, #IWD, #WomensDay, #SheInspiresMe, and other Arabic ones.

Twitter kicked off the #SheInspiresMe campaign on Sunday to invite everyone in the region to join the global conversation about IWD. The @TwitterMENA account will encourage people to Tweet about women who have inspired them throughout their personal and professional journeys. The Tweets and conversations are intended to serve as a microphone for women’s voices by highlighting their power on the platform.

The second emoji that Twitter has launched includes three female symbols in blue, green, and purple. It’s activated when Tweeting #EveryWoman. The campaign behind this emoji aims to advance the intersectional inclusion of women at Twitter, in the tech space and the global female community. The campaign is facilitated by @TwitterWomen, Twitter’s business resource group whose mission is to foster gender equality and support the inclusion and advancement of women at Twitter and in the tech industry.

To celebrate IWD 2020, Facebook highlights the most important women’s initiatives undertaken by prominent women in their societies using Facebook, in order to show that change is possible, and that women will continue to pioneer social movements that make the world a better place.

Among the initiatives that Facebook highlighted is the “Surviving Hijab” initiative, which now has 750,000 members. The founder’s goal in creating this group was to eliminate the stereotype of girls and the women who wear the hijab, and to encourage veiled woman to wear their clothes with pride.

Facebook pointed out to the #metoo movement, which was launched on 15 October 2017, witnessed more than 12m posts, comments, and interactions on Facebook in less than 24 hours, where women shared their survival stories and courage from sexual harassment and assaults.

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IWD in Egypt: challenges, opportunities for women’s empowerment https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/08/iwd-in-egypt-challenges-opportunities-for-womens-empowerment/ Sun, 08 Mar 2020 17:02:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724364 According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the gender ratio in Egypt reached 106.2%, meaning that there are 106.2 males for every 100 females.

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Sunday 8 March marks the International Women’s Day 2020, which does not only recognise the achievements made by women, but also raises awareness on the obstacles that still stand in their way. To know those obstacles, in Egypt specifically, we should first know where Egypt stands in terms of women’s empowerment politically, economically, among other issues.

According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), the gender ratio in Egypt reached 106.2%, meaning that there are 106.2 males for every 100 females.

Female Education and Labour Force Participation

Education is the key element for all areas of empowerment. According to CAPMAS, the total female school enrolment rate to males in pre-primary education reached 27.7% in 2017-2018, while for primary stage the rate was 101%, for preparatory stage was 94.2%, and 54.6% for secondary education, whether general, technical, commercial, industrial, agricultural. The percentage of females enrolled in higher education was 48.9% compared to 51.1% for males.

Dropout rate in 2017-2018 in primary stage was 0.3% for females compared to 0.5% for males, while it reached 3.0% for females in preparatory stage compared to 3.2% for males in the same school year.

This shows that as girls grow older, their education stops, which of course will reflect on her engagement in the labour force.

Egypt ranked 102nd globally in terms of closing the gender gap in educational attainment, compared to 90th in 2006, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Unfortunately, women’s contribution to the workforce was 15.6% of the total workforce (15 years old and over) compared to 67.3% for men in 2019. Also, the unemployment rate for females was 21.7%, compared to 4.8% for males.

“The percentage of female workers (15 years old and over) was 15.3% compared to 84.7% for males, while the percentage of females working in permanent work was 89.2%, compared to 70.3% for males,” reported CAPMAS.

Talking about women’s employment, Minister of Planning Hala El-Said said on Saturday during the “She Can” event that women in Egypt represent 45% of total governmental jobs, which exceeds the global average of 32%.

Concerning Egyptian women in executive leadership roles, El-Said added that women account for 7.1% of these leadership jobs, which is higher than the 5.4% average in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In terms of women in boards, she said that women represent 12% of Egypt’s bank boards in 2019, up from only 10% in 2018. She noted that 18% of editor-in-chief in national newspapers are women.

Women’s economic empowerment

The second element in women’s empowerment is economic. Economic equality will not only benefit women, but the whole world.

A report from McKinsey Global Institute finds that $12trn could be added to the global GDP by 2025 solely through advancing women’s equality.

In terms of Egypt, a 2012 report by Booz & Company on women and the world of work estimated that if female employment rates were to match male rates in Egypt, it would result in an increase of 34% to the GDP.

Economic growth cannot be sustained without inclusiveness, and women represent an untapped resource in the economy of Egypt, a fact noted in the 2010 World Bank Gender report, as well as in various studies concerned with women’s labour force participation.

The 2010 World Bank Gender Assessment also noted that the traditionally strong relationship between educational attainment and economic participation were weakening, with the over-representation of educated women in a shrinking government sector, and their under-representation in the private sector.

The discriminatory labour market treatment of women, especially in the private sector, is a significant obstacle to their participation and contribution to economic growth.

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

The WEF’s latest report found that the average income of Egyptian men is about 3.8 times higher than the average income of Egyptian women.

The WEF stated that Egypt has a long way to go and now ranks 140th globally, compared to 108th in 2006.

Economic empowerment encompasses so much more than just wage labour, in order to get the full picture of female economic empowerment, we should also look into women’s financial inclusion.

Women who currently have accounts in Egypt reached 27%, up from only 14% in 2014,

Only about 27% of Egyptian women have accounts, up from 14% in 2014, the Minister of Planning said.

She added that Egyptian women owe 51% of total loans directed to micro-projects, while the percentage of small projects that are directed to women also witnessed a large hike in 2019 reaching 69%, compared to 23% in 2015.

According to Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea, women own 37% of established startups in Egypt.

No one can deny the efforts the Egyptian government has taken during the last three years to further empower women economically, but there is still a lot to do in terms of the gender pay gap and the high representation of women in the informal sector, bearing in mind that women are breadwinners of many households.

Furthermore, female-headed households in Egypt reached 18.1%, while the percentage of low-income households headed by females was 12.6%, compared to 27.1% of low-income families headed by men, according to the CAPMAS.

Women’s health

In today’s world, healthcare has become an unquestionable human right, yet, women specifically are still kept out of the conversation when governments talk about health autonomy and proper healthcare procedures. Without health, women are unable to participate as active citizens or even attain other facets of empowerment.

The state achieved a middle rank of 85 in the health and survival index, compared to 66 in 2006,” according to the WEF’s latest gender gap report.

So, its apparent that Egypt has been going backwards in the global survival index, however, Egypt has been able to improve the conditions of healthcare seeing that maternal morbidity and mortality has improved, and the percentage of women covered by health insurance has increased drastically.

According to CAPMAS, life expectancy at birth for females is 75.5 years, compared to 73.0 years for males in 2020.

“The percentage of female participants in social insurance reached 71.2%, compared to 40.8% for males, and percentage of female participants in health insurance reached 68.5%, compared to 34.4% for males,” according to CAPMAS.

Women’s political empowerment

Talking about political empowerment in Egypt, Dina Hussein, a member of the National Council for Women, explained that Egyptian women constitute 25% of the Egyptian government, and the glass barrier was broken by appointing the first national security adviser and the first Egyptian judge on a platform in the Economic Court.

She added that the representation of women in the Egyptian parliament increased to 15%, then after the latest constitutional amendments that rose to 25% in addition to the presence of a 20% quota for youth, which women also benefit from.

The WEF highlighted that political empowerment is still low, but is improving, explaining that, the country is ranked 103 in terms of political empowerment, compared to 111 in 2006. Although, there has never been a woman in a head-of-state position.

All in all, Egypt still has a long way to go before achieving complete female economic empowerment and gender equality.

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After winning ‘Personality of the Year’ ACC, Tunisian Latiri: ‘It is a challenge I hope I can really meet’ https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/07/after-winning-personality-of-the-year-acc-tunisian-latiri-it-is-a-challenge-i-hope-i-can-really-meet/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 07:12:57 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724218 Chiraz Latiri receives Arab Cinema Personality of the Year Award

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Chiraz Latiri, former General Director of the Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image (CNCI), received the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award in recognition of her contributions to the Tunisian film industry.

The award was presented by The Hollywood Reporter, an American digital and print magazine and website, during a reception held by the Arab Cinema Centre (ACC) at the Berlin International Film Festival.

“I believe that this award, which I am honoured to receive from the ACC, is a mark of success in my mission, as well as my appointment as Minister of Culture in my beloved country Tunisia. It is a challenge I hope I can really meet,” she said over Skybe.

Latiri has been recently appointed as the Tunisian Minister of Culture, which prevented her from attending the award reception. However, she delivered a speech and interacted with the attendees through Skype.

It`s the first time for a woman to receive such an award, notably the ACC and The Hollywod Reporter presented the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award last year  to Screenwriter and Producer Mohamed Hefzy. In 2018, the award went to Abdulhamid Juma, Chairperson of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), and Masoud Amralla, Artistic Director of the DIFF. The award is part of the ACC’s strategy of promoting the Arab film industry internationally and supporting Arab filmmakers.

“It’s a wonderful thing that the Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award is going to be awarded to a woman, but that’s not the reason why it’s really exciting, it’s because Latiri has done such a courageous job of supporting the Tunisian film industry, and even when it was difficult pursuing her beliefs. And that is why I think that it’s a wonderful idea to give Chiraz the award this year,” Film Critic Deborah Young, International Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, said.

The Arab Cinema Personality of The Year award aims to shed light on the effective role played by Arab filmmakers in developing the local and international film industry. Those who’ve made a true and significant impact, but didn’t get the recognition they deserve, Film Analyst Alaa Karkouti, Managing Partner of the ACC and CEO of MAD Solutions, said.

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Egyptian women loan defaulters do not exceed 1%: Minister of Planning https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/07/egyptian-women-loan-defaulters-do-not-exceed-1-minister-of-planning/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 07:11:05 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724226 Holding WEF in Egypt while other countries cancel their international activities sends great message about economic situation in country: Maya Morsi

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Egyptian women loan defaulters do not exceed 1%, Minister of Planning Hala El-Said said on Wednesday during her opening speech at the Women Economic Forum 2020 (WEF) held in Egypt.

She stressed the government’s support to the small and medium enterprise sector, as it is one of the main sectors that create job opportunities for women.

“Subsequently, we pumped a lot of investments to provide nurseries in public facilities so that women can work and leave their children in the nurseries for free, which saves money for them. Therefore, women employees in banks increased from 9% to 12% currently, and their percentage in government jobs reached 45%,” El-Said added.

The WEF was launched on Wednesday for the first time in Cairo and will last for six days. The first two days will be allocated for indoor sessions, while the other four days will see tours in several touristic destinations.

The global event is being held under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, and moderated by the National Council for Women, headed by Maya Morsi. The forum was founded by Indian businessperson and global entrepreneur Harbin Arora.

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

During her speech, Maya Morsi said that holding the WEF in Egypt while other countries are cancelling their international activities sends a great message to the world about economic situation in country.

It is a unique opportunity for leading women in all fields and from different countries to meet in one place, in order to exchange experiences and discuss challenges and difficulties that face them, and how to improve the conditions of women and empower more of them.

It is also a global recognition of Egypt’s pioneering role in supporting women’s issues and empowerment.

Moreover, WEF’s Founder Harbin Arora said both Egyptian and Indian civilizations have been in cooperation since the beginning of trade in the Indian Ocean.

“Today is the coronation of Egypt, despite global social crises, the COVID-19 outbreak and the cancellation of international events in many countries. Today we are meeting at least 75 countries from all over the world,” Arora said.

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How can newly-wed woman plan home budget? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/07/how-can-newly-wed-woman-plan-home-budget/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 06:48:16 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724223 Daily News Egypt provides newly married women with some tips in order to help them plan their homes’ budgets.

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One of the most common problems that newly married women encounter is planning the home`s budget in order to cover all the married couple’s newfound expenses until the end of the month without having to borrow, cancel, or delay other necessities.

Daily News Egypt provides newly married women with some tips in order to help them plan their homes’ budgets.

Track your expenses for a month

The best way to know where you spend your income is to track all your expenses for a month, writing every pound that you spend in a notebook.

During this month, you’ll pay your usual bills such as water, electricity, phone bills, as well as unique expenses such as unexpected vacation expenses, dinner packages, or even the purchase of some clothes in addition to your personal expenses.  At the end of this month, sit down and review all these expenditures.

Prioritise your spending 

After tracking all the expenses, you will be able to divide them into two categories, fixed expenses and luxury expenses. This second step, where you have to determine your immutable or fixed expenses, such as rent, car expenses, transportation, electricity, etc.

After knowing the priorities in your spending, calculate the total of the fixed expenses subtracting it from you total monthly income.

Determine your debts and monthly installments

It`s essential to determine your monthly debts and installments. Bearing in mind that debt is not only the money borrowed from a friend or a colleague, but debt also means credit cards, bank loans, and installments for cars or any device at home.   

Subsequently, collect the amount of your debts and monthly installments and subtract from the total income. 

Determine the variable expenses

Every time you go out for a romantic dinner, or any trip, write down its expenses. Thus over time, you will be able to define a sub-budget for luxury.

Put a realistic budget plan for the rest of the income

After subtracting both the fixed expenses and the debts pending from the total income, you should sit with your partner to put a realistic plan for the rest of the money to be used for other needs including food, luxury trips, personal clothes, etc. You both also should commit to the budget.

Review and update your priorities every 3 months

You should start breaking up your long-term arrangements into phases, taking the time to sit down every three months with your partners to think and update your priorities depending on the prices, and current living situation at that phase. 

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Is Covid 19 more deadly for pregnant women? https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/03/07/is-covid-19-more-deadly-for-pregnant-women/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 06:17:56 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=724217 Does Covid19 virus transfer from mother to foetus?

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Pregnancy, for women, is one of the most difficult times in life, requiring more medical attention in order to maintain not only their health, but the foetus’. During the nine-month term of pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is so compromised, that she’s at constant risk of developing a chronic disease.

Over the past month, the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak caused a state of terror in the world, especially for the children, the elderly, and pregnant women.

Coronaviruses are a large family  that causes a range of diseases, with some that are less-severe, such as the common cold, and others that are more severe such as MERS and SARS. The virus was confirmed to be easily transmittable from person to person.

To date, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Covid-19 cases around the world has reached 92,314, while the death toll has recorded 3,131.

As a result, doctors all over the world have advised pregnant women not to travel to areas where the disease is prevalent. Subsequently, this restriction raised many questions and concerns for pregnant woman, asking themselves if this virus is more dangerous for pregnant women than other people, and could this virus be transferred from mother to foetus, in addition to the most important question of how can pregnant women protect themselves from infection. Daily News Egypt dug to find the answers for these questions through interviewing Lecturer & Consultant of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Cairo University, Amr Hassan, and Assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Cairo University, Hossam Al-Shenoufy.

Hassan and Al-Shenoufy both told Daily News Egypt that there is no definitive evidence or study yet that confirms that Covid-19 can be transferred from mother to fetus.

They both gave some tips on how pregnant women may prevent the virus and other infectious diseases.

“The key to improving the immune system in pregnant women is to get enough sleep in the evening and to have perfect nutrition. In addition, pregnant women should not sit side by side with people who smoke or have shisha, as the smoke reduces the immunity, which will leave her susceptibile  to catch a disease,” Hassan said.

He added that a pregnant woman should also avoid visiting the people in hospitals, explaining that due to her low immunity, she could easily be infected with any disease.

Besides, Al-Shanoufy futher added that a pregnant woman has to avoid the crowded places, and the places that have no good ventilation.

Both doctors assured the necessity of personal hygiene including, washing your hands at least three times a day, making sure that food is washed thoroughly, and that the place where woman sit is clean.

Hassan mentioned that the symptoms of Covid-19 is close to the symptoms of common cold, so he always advises pregnant women to stay in bed and follow up with a doctor if they start feeling symptoms. In a few days, if she’s not feeling better after taking the medication and feels that she is at risk of having Covid-19, she should consult with her doctor about taking the Covid-19 test.

Al-Shenoufy said that women shouldn’t fear too much, mentioning that the symptoms pregnant women should be concerned about are high temperature, respiratory problems, and dry cough.

Some have asked Hassan if he believes that pregnant women should try and avoid medicine, he answered that he prefers the natural remedies like lemon juice and honey. However, in the case of high temperature, he would recommend that women take medication that contains paracetamol and to take Vitamin C tablets in order to boost their immunity.

By asking Hassan that people think that the pregnant woman has to be banned from taking any medicines, he stated that they prefer the natural treatments including the lemon juice and the honey, but in the case of the high temperature she is allowed to take any medicine that contains the paracetamol substance, and the Vitamin C tablets in order to raise her immunity.

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It’s time for Egypt to play leadership role in shaping MENA region: WEF’s Harbin Aurora https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/2020/02/21/its-time-for-egypt-to-play-leadership-role-in-shaping-mena-region-wefs-harbin-aurora/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 14:10:26 +0000 https://wwww.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=722704 WEF to be held for first time in Egypt, Middle East

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

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

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

From where did the idea of the forum originate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How could this forum empower women economically?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can you evaluate the women economic empowerment in Egypt?

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

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

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

What challenges do women face in Egypt?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, what is your ambition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From where the idea of FGM originated?

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

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

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

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

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

Numbers of FGM in Egypt

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

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

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

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

Legal framework

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

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

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

Religious Framework for FGM

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

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

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

Why people still prefer FGM?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What procedures should be taken?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will this campaign empower women?

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

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

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

Why did you choose Egypt specifically for that campaign?

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

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

How many women does the campaign target?

Our target is to train about 5,000 women.

What governorates does the campaign focus on?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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