Gender-based violence in Egypt costs between EGP 2.17 and 6.15 billion annually: Survey

Mariam Mecky , Thursday 2 Jun 2016

Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house
Women chant slogans as they gather to protest against sexual harassment in front of the opera house in Cairo June 14, 2014 (Reuters)

The total cost of the violence that women and their families were subjected to in 2015 is estimated to be at least EGP 2.17 billion and could be as high as EGP 6.15 billion if all violent incidents women experience during one year are calculated, according to Egypt's Economic Cost of Gender Based Violence Survey (ECGBVS).

The survey, launched by Egypt's Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), National Council of Women and United Nations Fund for Population Agency (UNFPA) and presented at a Wednesday conference, is the first of its kind in Egypt and the Arab world.

The study calculated the economic cost of gender-based violence in Egypt along with the various forms and types of violence against women and girls from ages 18 to 64 years.

The survey calculates both the direct and indirect economic costs of gender-based violence.

"The direct economic cost, which includes the medical costs and legal expenses, amounts to EGP 548 million," explained ECGBVS Economic Consultant May Gaddallah in her presentation during the conference.

Meanwhile, indirect economic costs - which includes women missing work days, and children missing school - amount to EGP 696.8 million.

Luay Shabanah, Regional director at UNFPA Arab States Regional Office, said the survey creates a link between social and economic elements of gender-based violence against women, providing an extra incentive to counter it.

Ghada Waly, Minister of Social Solidarity, added that this survey urges the government to revisit its budget programmes from a feminist perspective.

Epidemic of gender-based violence

ECGBVS reveals that 7,888,00 women suffered from violence in 2015 either at the hands of their husband, fiancé, family or strangers, putting the statistic of gender-based violence in Egypt in both private and public places at 30.4% annually.

Around 5,600,000 women suffer from violence perpetuated by their husband or fiancé.

This violence costs women and their households EGP 149 billion yearly. Its impact transcends women and affects children and Egyptian society as a whole.

The state loses around half a million working days due to violence aimed at married women and 200,000 working days for husbands due to domestic violence.

Children of 113,000 families are absent from school yearly due to domestic violence perpetuated by the spouse, leading to the loss of about 300 school days annually.

The children of 300,000 families suffered from nightmares and fear due to violence perpetuated by husbands during 2015.

In the public sphere, 2.49 million women suffer from violence on the street and 1.72 million women suffer from harassment in public transportation.

Violence in the public sphere is estimated to cost EGP 571 million annually.

The survey further highlights that most women experiencing violence refrain from seeking help from the police - especially domestic violence survivors - as only 1% of women surveyed who were experiencing violence sought help.

In recent years, increasing amounts of attention have been given to gender-based violence in the public sphere, leading to the criminalization of sexual harassment in June 2014. However, domestic gender-based violence is often considered a taboo in Egypt.

"Gender-based violence not about just numbers; it's about people's lives," Shabanah concluded.

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