Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi (Reuters)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi directed on Monday Justice Minister Omar Marwan to coordinate with concerned bodies to allow women to become members of the State Council and the public prosecution, according to a statement by the Ministry of Justice.
"On international Women's Day, President El-Sisi directed Minister of Justice Omar Marawan to coordinate with the head of the Supreme Judicial Council and the president of the State Council to utilise women in these two entities, to fully enforce the constitutional entitlement of [ensuring] equality and non-discrimination," said the statement.
The directive aims to ensure that women can access various positions and achieve success in all fields, according to the statement.
The Egyptian Ministry of Justice said it has already started communicating with both judicial bodies to put the president’s directives into force soon.
Although there are a number of women occupying judicial posts, no women have ever been appointed as judges on the State Council, which refuses all applications filed by women.
A number of appeals have been filed by women over the past several years over the matter.
The council's stance aims to "ensure the proper functioning of the public body," according to a report issued in 2017 via the Commissioners Authority of the Supreme Administrative Court.
The report, which was issued in response to an appeal filed in 2017 to allow women to apply to the council, said that the State Council “has the freedom to choose [who occupies judicial positions],” and that “there is no explicit provision in the Egyptian constitution obliging the council to appoint women.”
The report added that the council's stance "does not represent any kind of discrimination against women."
The State Council is a judicial body that looks at administrative disputes, disciplinary cases and appeals, and disputes pertaining to its decisions. It also reviews draft laws and decisions, and contracts to which the state or one of the public bodies is a party.
President of the National Council for Women Maya Morsy thanked the president for his recent directives, saying they represent “a political will that has always been fair to the Egyptian woman.”
Earlier on the day, President El-Sisi said that Egyptian women are “the conscience of the nation.”
“Women are the source of wisdom and the cornerstone of the family’s unity,” El-Sisi wrote on Facebook, adding that women are symbols of “endless giving, security, and sacrifice.”
In a report published in 2019, the country's Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that females represent 20.9 percent of Egypt's labour force, while males represented 79.1 percent.
CAPMAS also said that the number of females in Egypt reached 47.5 million compared to 50.5 million males in January 2019.