Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam appoints female adviser for 1st time in Egypt’s history

Ahram Online , Tuesday 20 Sep 2022

Egypt's Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayyeb issued a decision on Monday assigning Nahla El-Saidi, the Dean of the Al-Azhar College of Islamic Sciences for International Students, as his adviser, making her the first woman appointed to this position in Egypt’s history.

The Grand Imam, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar
The Grand Imam, Dr. Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar


El-Saidi, who was the head of the Development Centre of International Students, will be the Grand Imam's Adviser for expatriate affairs.

“Women are the basis of establishing righteous families and civilised societies. Islam ordained the appreciation and respect of women and that relations between married couples should be based on love, mutual respect and mercy. For a wife is the mother of a man’s children, a keeper of his secrets and a source of happiness,” El-Tayyeb said in a tweet.

Egypt has been making moves to empower women and include them in the decision-making process, including through increasing the number of women ministers as well as parliamentarians and in judicial institutions.

El-Tayyeb’s decision comes on the heels of a landmark decision last year by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi allowing women to work in judicial positions at the State Council and in the Public Prosecution – the two judicial bodies that until recently were exclusively male – for the first time in the country’s history.

El-Sisi’s decision aims to “fully enforce the constitutional entitlement of ensuring equality and non-discrimination in various positions and in all fields," according to a previous statement by the Ministry of Justice.

A few months later, for the first time in Egypt’s history nearly 100 women were sworn in as judges at the State Council in October 2021, one of the country's main judicial bodies, and took a seat on the judicial benches of the independent judicial body in March 2022.

In June 2022, thirty-nine new women judges took the legal oath to assume judicial positions on the State Council, raising the number of female judges at the council to 137.

In August, El-Sisi issued a decree appointing 73 female members of the Administrative Prosecution Authority and the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority at the Courts of First Degree.

Egypt has included in its Vision 2030 the integration of women’s empowerment principles, and the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women in the context of the pillars of protection and economic empowerment.

The total number of employed people in Egypt reached 29.9 million in the Q2 of 2022; the number of employed males is 24.8 million, compared to 5.1 million females, according to the Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAMPAS).

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