El-Qabbaj’s remarks came during a ceremony to honour Egyptian women held on Wednesday in the presence of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and First Lady Entissar El-Sisi in celebration of the advent of Mother’s Day, which is celebrated in Egypt on 21 March of each year.
The Takaful and Karama Programme was launched in 2015 to support impoverished families with school-age children, the elderly, and people with special needs in Upper Egypt. According to a report issued by the Cabinet Media Centre on Wednesday, 2.6 million women benefit from the Takaful and Karama Programme.
The minister added that there are six million female beneficiaries of the pension insurance system — representing 58% of all beneficiaries — emphasising that her ministry is very keen on supporting and maximising women’s rights and encouraging effective participation in women empowerment initiatives.
On violence against women, she said that eight centres have been developed to protect women from violence and the first centre in Egypt to receive and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking has been established. This is in addition to providing awareness services to two million young women and girls who are about to get married in developed areas and villages.
Furthermore, the government has been providing elderly women below the poverty line with EGP 1.2 billion annually, representing 6.3% of all cash support, while a total of 281,000 women and mothers are supported by about EGP 1.6 billion, El-Qabbaj said.
Under the title ‘Egyptian Women: The Key to Life’, the ceremony also witnessed the attendance of Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said, President of the National Council for Women Maya Morsy, and several state officials.
At the start of the event, the president and the attendees watched several short documentaries, including one titled ‘Legitimate Numbers’, which showed the success achieved by Egyptian women in all fields and their assumption of leadership positions in the country.
The ceremony also featured Egyptian singer Nesma Mahgoub performing a new song titled ‘You are a Life.’
For her part, El-Said stated that women’s economic empowerment is no longer simply part of social discourse but is now an economic necessity.
“Talking about the necessity of women’s economic empowerment is no longer just a social discourse or aims only to accomplish the concept of gender equality but has become an economic necessity to maximise the benefit of the productive and creative energies that God has endowed upon women and the added value they achieve that contributes to comprehensive growth,” the planning minister said.
El-Said also pointed out that women’s representation on the boards of directors of nearly a thousand companies and banking institutions increased from 13% in 2020 to 16.7% in 2021.
She added that women now make up 30% of the winners of the Egyptian government’s Excellence Award.
Additionally, during the ceremony, El-Sisi honoured a number of women who represent a role model for motherhood, bestowing them with honorary certificates.
“Now more than ever, the Egyptian woman is called upon to make a serious and constructive contribution — as she has always done — in the next phase of our new republic, which is witnessing [the highest] number of national megaprojects in our modern history,” El-Sisi said during the event.
The president then emphasised women’s contributions to the success of the National Project to Develop the Egyptian Family, which aims to raise the quality and standard of living for all Egyptians.
El-Sisi also pledged and promised to do his best to continue the process of supporting and empowering Egyptian women in the labour market and to strive for legislative and legal reforms
These reforms include defining a supportive framework to empower women in the labour market, stimulating governmental and institutional excellence in the field, supporting women in their future career opportunities by raising awareness of the importance and advantages of taking professional jobs in all fields, and creating learning opportunities for girls across all stages of education.
This is in addition to addressing all forms of violence and harassment and instructing the use of power and authority in the workplace and protecting women from physical abuse within the family immediately to safeguard their dignity and status.
Egypt’s efforts to empower women
The Cabinet Media Centre said in a report on Wednesday that Egyptian women have attained unprecedented gains in the new republic, as the Egyptian state has been keen to launch strategies, initiatives, and programmes to empower women economically, politically, and socially and involve them as active and pioneering contributors to the development process.
The report also pointed out the rise in female representation in elections, which is expected to reach 50 percent by 2030, compared to 2014’s 44 percent, adding that their representation in parliament is also expected to increase to 35 percent by 2030, up from 2022’s 27 percent.
It added that female representation in the judicial authority increased to 3,115 judges in 2022, up from 2014’s 2,130, and that their representation in the Senate also increased to 13.7 percent in 2022.
Furthermore, the report pointed out that women’s share in micro, small, and medium enterprises increased to 45 percent, representing 698.4 projects of the total number of projects funded by the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency at a total cost of EGP 11.1 billion, creating over 837,000 job opportunities in seven years.
Female school dropouts also decreased to 2 percent in the 2020/201 academic year compared to 2014/15’s 4 percent, a matter that has led to a decline in the rate of illiteracy among women.
Concerning the health sector, the report said that over 32 million women were examined as part of a presidential initiative to support women’s health.