Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi celebrated the country’s Mother's Day on Tuesday night, announcing EGP550 million in funding to support women breadwinners.
The president said that Egypt’s development strategy, Egypt Vision 2030, aims to build an equal society, in which men and women enjoy equal rights and opportunities.
He announced a new national initiative to allocate EGP250 million to finance small businesses for women through the Tahya Misr Fund and the Nasser Social Bank.
El-Sisi also revealed EGP50 million to support infrastructure projects in several poor villages and another EGP250 million for the ministry of social solidarity to provide early-child services enabling mothers to work.
Women are the main breadwinners in around 30 percent of households across the country, according to official statistics.
El-Sisi, who previously declared 2017 the “Year of Women”, said that March is a "remarkable month" since it includes International Women’s Day (8 March), Egyptian Women’s Day (16 March), and Mother’s Day (21 March).
The president’s wife, Intissar Amer, made a rare public appearance on Tuesday evening, sitting next to El-Sisi.
Women make up 49 percent of Egypt’s population of 91 million, according to Egypt’s official statistics body CAPMAS.
In 2015, Egyptian women comprised only 22.5 percent of the workforce, according to an emailed statement from CAPMAS.
At the end of 2016, unemployment among women stood at 25.3 percent, compared to 8.5 percent among men.