Egypt has achieved remarkable success in dealing with Covid-19, in attempting to limit the effects of this pandemic that has swept the world. With the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, discussions focused on health risks, and attention was paid to health services as well as economic and social risks. In the forefront, women were carrying the economically fragile situation, and bearing the bulk of family care. Therefore, many indications highlighted the fact that measures should be taken to confront the increase in violence against women.
The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) conducted a study with a number of NGOs to assess the impact of COVID-19 on Egyptian women and the ability of NGOs to support women. The results were largely identical to international indicators, as 50% of NGOs emphasized an increase in domestic violence against women by the husband or family under COVID-19.
Despite the importance of the precautionary measures that were taken to save lives, many of these decisions have had negative effects that harm women. This includes the decision to suspend courts on March 15, 2020, as it led to the suspension of work in cases of violence against women, especially domestic violence. It also had a severe negative impact on women, especially with regard to alimony and personal status issues. Many men refrained from paying alimony on children in the event of divorce from their wives, relying on the fact that there are no working courts. Women were also unable to file alimony cases, and there was no functional mechanism to force a man to pay alimony.
NGOs were able to play many roles in light of the pandemic. The activities of NGOs have varied between relief by providing direct support, some of which are developmental, in the form of helping families produce alternatives, and providing them with psychological and legal support. Others are defensive including creating dialogue with the official authorities, and participation in policy proposal to confront the pandemic.
In light of fears and warnings of a second wave of the pandemic, we found the need to discuss the effects of the first wave on women, and how they can be avoided. Given the difficulties we face in working with virtual remote seminars, especially technological and Internet problems, we found it necessary to hold an expert meeting while taking all precautionary measures and maintaining social distancing, which guarantees the safety of everyone, so that we can effectively discuss empowering Egyptian women and limiting the effects of the pandemic.
In this context, the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR), in cooperation with the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), is organizing a seminar entitled "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Violence against Women" on Tuesday, 15th of September 2020 at Lilaty Hall, Pramisa Hotel, Dokki, at 11:00 AM.
ECWR highly appreciates your time.
Kindest Regards, Nehad Abu El-Komsan ECWR’s Chair
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.