I met Maya Morsi, who was selected as the chairwoman of the National Council for Women this month, many years ago when she was working at UN Women. She is a young Egyptian mother, an expert on women's affairs and one of the best public policy experts on social gender in Egypt, and perhaps even in all of the Arab world.
She has campaigned for the burdens of Egyptian women for more than 20 years, not only through research and articles, but also went to villages and hamlets to research the status of Egyptian women and Egyptian children for a better future.
Morsi is the coordinator of the UN Development Fund for Women in Egypt. She earned her PhD in public policy in human security for women at the Regional Institute of Arab Studies and Research. She also has an MA in public administration and an MA in business administration from City University in Washington, USA, after earning a bachelor's degree in political science at the American University in Cairo (AUC).
She is an expert in research and several other fields, including international agreements and treaties, human rights charters, empowerment of women, gender equality, integration of social gender in planning and public budgets, as well as women’s human rights and relevant treaties.
Morsi organised many workshops on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), women’s human rights, the balance between gender and child, and advocacy, impact and coalition building, and contributed to a book titled Equality in Social Gender Creates Democracy.
Her research experience includes collaborating in a study titled “Women and International Conferences” and she was the coordinator of the Arab Women Progress report published in 2004 by the UNDP.
Other females in the cabinet include Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali who earned a BA from the Faculty of Language and Literature at Colorado State University, USA, and an MA in Arts and Humanities from the same university. Wali served in a variety of posts including assistant to the UNDP Resident Representative in Cairo, Director of CARE International in Egypt, senior staffer and team leader of small business loans at the Community Development Programme, the social grant for development, and is a board member of the non-profit Injaz Organisation.
The cabinet also includes Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr who earned a doctorate in economics from Cairo University and is a professor of economics at American University in Cairo (AUC). She is also an associate professor of economics at British University in Cairo. She served on the presidential advisory board for economic development in April, 2015, and she is a senior economics expert at the World Bank.
Nasr is also a regional pioneer for the World Bank on financial development and non-banking financial institutions, obtaining funding, and gender equality. She also established the first office for credit inquiries while she worked as chief finance economics expert at the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa.
There is also Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs, Nabila Makram Abdel-Shaheed Wassef, who earned a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science from Cairo University and joined the Foreign Ministry. She was appointed third secretary in the office of assistant foreign minister for European Affairs, then third secretary in Egypt’s embassy in Brazil. She also served as deputy Consul General in Dubai.
While there are still many other women who deserve recognition for being appointed to government posts, this shows there are no more concerns about empowering women in Egypt. It is apparent from these choices that the political leadership has chosen the correct path, by supporting successful female leaders and appointing them to effective and important positions in the state based on qualification and achievements. Yes, the state is moving in the right direction, which will no doubt take some time. What is important is taking steady steps forward.