Within the framework of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights role of monitoring and analyzing the situation of Egyptian women, ECWR issued its annual report on the 2019 situation of women titled “Egyptian Women and Access to Justice.”
The report relies on several sources, including international and domestic reports; media surveys of several private and governmental newspapers; the reports of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights; complaints received by ECWR, and interviews with women.
The report highlights that the president’s speech always comes in support of women, and emphasizes the need to create a supportive environment that allows for the passing through of policies in favour of women, which include the issues of financial inclusion, technological empowerment of women, and support for small projects that provide women with employment opportunities.
The text also notes the importance of legislative reforms, including the approval of the House of Representatives to amend the Penal Code. The House of Representatives has approved an increase in the fine imposed on spouses who evade paying alimony to five thousand pounds instead of five hundred pounds.
On another note, in 2019 Egypt witnessed some progress in the political empowerment index for women, according to the gender gap report issued by the World Economic Forum for 2019. Egypt ranked 103 out of 153 countries, while in 2018 it was placed in position 122 out of 149 countries. During the last ministerial gathering in December 2019, the percentage of female representation rose to 26%, with a total of 9 women ministers.
The year 2019 also witnessed remarkable progress for university students over the previous years in the elections of the Student Union, where 6 female students won the presidency of the Union of 6 government universities. Furthermore, dozens of female students held the positions of union leaders and committee secretaries at colleges level in different universities.
Many governmental efforts were dedicated to eliminating violence against women at various levels. Thus, the Minister of Manpower’s decision to create a gender equality unit aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in the workplace, empowering women economically, as well as reconciling family duties with work requirements, and promoting the principle of equal opportunities. In addition to this, the first national committee to confront the phenomenon of female genital mutilation was created, a task undertaken by the National Council for Women, the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and several relevant authorities, with the aim of uniting efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation.
The report ends with a number of recommendations to improve the status of women: via legislative reform or political empowerment, and via the elimination of violence against women.
Nehad Abo Al-Qomsan, chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, has stressed that despite the progress made in empowering women during 2019, there is still more hard work to be done on the matter, since more than 80 recommendations in the universal periodic review concerned the status of women in Egypt.
International indicators measuring gender inequality also confirmed Egypt’s low ranking in terms of participation and economic opportunities available to women. In 2019, Egypt ranked 140 out of 153 countries according to the gender gap report issued by the World Economic Forum. In 2018, Egypt ranked 139 out of 149 countries worldwide, whilst in 2017 was in the 135th position.
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.