On 8 March of each year, the international community under the auspices of the United Nations celebrates International Women's Day.
For France, the day represents among other things an opportunity to affirm its commitment to Egypt's efforts to uphold equality between men and women, combating violence against women and allowing their participation in all spheres of society.
On 8 March, the French Agency for Development signed with Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr and in the presence of French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Romatet, a declaration of intent for a loan allocated to the National Organisation for the Development of Small, Medium and Small Enterprises (SMEs) to promote the creation of women’s companies and a technical support programme that extends for several years to strengthen the capabilities of this organisation to recruit more women.
The French Institute Mounira branch organised workshops to raise awareness and to combat sexual harassment of women and students. The workshop was open to the public from 5.30 to 7.00 pm under the title "Face Harassment," presented by Hadia Abdel-Latif.
On the same day at 7:30pm, the French Embassy's First Prize for Equality between Men and Women was handed by actress Hend Sabry to the Women and Memory Forum online femininist campaign in a ceremony at the French Institute in Mounira presided over by Ambassador Romatet and director of French cultural institutes in Egypt and Counsellor of Cultural Cooperation Mohamed Bouabdallah.
The € 7,500 prize is dedicated to funding a pioneering initiative for equality between men and women. Prior to the award, a number of outstanding initiatives presented in 2017 were shared with the audience, including initiatives by the French Development Agency, Plan International, the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development and the Sue Ellen Legal Society for Community Development Foundation which offers the "Susanne Habib" Schoolarship for the most deserving girls to study law and become lawyers, as well as a pioneering example of small projects, Yasmin Rahim, the nucleus of the "Egypt Street" project.
The day also witnessed other related activities that took place at the French Institute in Heliopolis and the Alexandria branch, as well as the Francaise Alliance Network in Port Said.
Moreover, the French Institute in Heliopolis will publish a topic on Facebook this month about the works of 18 female Francophone writers as the halls of the institute will be named after them: notably, Olympe de Gouges, Laila Suleimani, Simone de Beauvoir, André Shedid, Annie Ernaux and Marguerite Duras.
Believing that the participation of women is a key element of economic vitality, France has been cooperating with the United Nations Women’s Agency and the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development for two years, under the auspices of the National Council for Women, and the Egyptian Women, Pioneers of the Future programme that offers Egyptian girls training courses and jobs in French and Egyptian partner companies.
French Ambassador to Egypt Stephane Romatet (Photo: Reham El-Adawi)
Actress Hend Sabry presents the International Women's Day ceremony at the French Institute in Mounira (Photo: Reham El-Adawi)