Egypt's NCW issues 1st women policy tracker on COVID-19 responsive policies

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Apr 2020

Egypt's National Council for Women (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW) has issued its first edition of the women policy tracker aimed at monitoring the policies and measures responding to the needs of women that have been taken by the Egyptian government during the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The report included an analysis of the current situation.

President of the NCW Maya Morsi said that this report is an easy tool that can be used as a reference by decision makers for a more collaborative vision on the means for moving forward. The report documents the coordinated efforts of the government.

“The government’s efforts come in light of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s directives during a meeting with a number of Egyptian women in celebration of Egyptian women’s day on 22 March,” Morsi said

The NCW president indicated that the Egyptian government has worked since the beginning to take the stringent measures and policies to contain the spread of COVID-19, taking into consideration the needs of all affected segments of the population, especially women.

In particular, the government has been keen on integrating women in all decision-making processes and implementing programs to ensure their protection from all the social, economic and psychological repercussions of the virus.

“The NCW has presented a policy paper responding to the needs of women for the government to counter the outbreak of COVID-19, and will work with various government partners to support the development and implementation of mitigation and response policies to ensure the protection of women and girls,” she added.

The NCW proposed a number of response measures, whether immediate or middle-term responses, for all concerned ministries and government institutions:

- Applying/upscaling the already existing support programs in psychological, mental, physical, and reproductive healthcare services, as well as boosting social protection programs, particularly response measures for older women, women with disabilities, pregnant women, and women of reproductive age, and education, to deal with the consequences of the school lockdown and potential dropouts by girls.

- Women’s participation in the decision-making process can enhance the health security control mechanisms ensure women have access to the relevant information. Response measures can also be adopted to provide psychosocial, legal and advisory support for women who may be subject to violence resulting from the social conditions generated by the precautionary measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

- Impact on economic opportunities: The proposed response interventions depend on the already existing mechanisms as well as introducing new ones to support women workers whose livelihoods have been affected or whose income from freelance work has declined. Alternative solutions should be proposed to address the economic downturn and its impact on working women in the formal or informal sector.

- Promoting the compilation of data by sex, age and disability on COVID-19, including tracking the emergency response measures, and supporting policy research and social innovation; monitoring and evaluating the impact of COVID-19; and conducting public opinion surveys to determine the differences in exposure and treatment and help design preventive measures accordingly.

In this regard, the NCW established the ‘Women policy tracker on Responsive Policies and Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ to serve the following purposes:

- Monitoring all issued policies and procedures responsive to the needs of Egyptian women in light of the efforts made to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

- Designing an easier reference for all women-related policies that can be used by decision makers for a more collaborative and comprehensive vision on the means of moving forward.

- Documenting the efforts and highlighting the outcome of the coordinated efforts of the government on women-related policies to protect them and their families from COVID-19 and supporting these policies with the necessary programs and initiatives.

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