Egypt Tackles Gender Equality
The Egyptian government is tackling tough issues around gender equality in their massive and young workforce and officially putting Egypt’s women empowerment plan into the execution phase, which was initially signed in 2017. The plan aims to focus on women’s representation and leadership in the corporate world, promote career-family balance, encourage private investment in elder and child care, and offer training programs in sectors in which women are underrepresented.
In this effort, the Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, announced a new Equal Opportunities Unit that will promote gender equality and counter discrimination within the Ministry. Dr.Shaima Serraj will head the unit, noting, “This comes in support of Goal 5 of the U.N.’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
What’s driving the gender equality focus?
As we see all around the world, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women exacerbating already grim numbers. Young women in Egypt face substantial inequalities in the labor market in terms of employment opportunities and wages. Labor force participation of young women has been particularly low and has declined during COVID19 reaching only 13.4 percent in September 2020. In context, men currently account for 24.6 million members of the workforce, while women only account for 5.4 million.
Not only are women a smaller part of the labor force, but they also earn less than men. Education disparities between Egyptian women and men have diminished, but women continue to earn less than men and face numerous challenges in finding employment.
How will the new unit work?
The Equal Opportunities Unit’s vision is to establish equal opportunities for employees of both genders at the Ministry and its affiliated bodies and foster positive diversity mindsets.
The unit will be responsible for gathering information on the Ministry and its affiliated agencies’ employees, adopting a gender-oriented lens to analyze the challenges employees face and any discrimination they encountered.
The unit will propose solutions, prepare reports on tackling the challenges, document information, and conduct research on the realities facing women working at the Ministry and all entities that work with the Ministry to ensure their rights. The unit will also work to help women by providing training and education on achieving a solid work/life balance.