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Egypt’s President Declares 2017 the Year of the Egyptian Woman

March has been an empowering and important month for Egyptian women, with International Women’s Day, the Day of the Egyptian Woman, and the 61st Global Session of the Commission on the Status of Women all taking place.

The Commission on the Status of Women was held from March 13-24. The themes of the session were the economic empowerment of women, the empowerment of indigenous women, and the challenges and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals of women and girls. At the session’s close, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared 2017 the “Year of the Egyptian Woman.”

El-Sisi and the Egyptian government have recognized that the prosperity of Egypt relies on the equal treatment of men and women. In his declaration, el-Sisi stressed the important role that women play in the future of Egypt and the need to safeguard their constitutional rights.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) stood by el-Sisi and the Egyptian government’s commitment to supporting the empowerment of women in Egypt. All of these parties have agreed that only when women are treated as equal citizens will social justice and inclusive growth be realized, and only when women are integrated into the economy will Egypt see economic growth and development. 2030 is the target year by which women will hopefully be fully integrated into all areas of employment.

In support of the government’s plans to make 2017 the year of Egyptian women, Sahar Nasr, the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, has signed a €10 million grant to promote women’s rights in Egypt. The grant will be disbursed to the National Council for Women, and Nasr says that the agreement aims to eliminate female genital mutilation and to empower Egyptian women.

The UNDP has also advocated Egypt’s Women’s Strategy of 2030, which has been created to enact women’s constitutional rights that foster principles of equality, nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and protection. This strategy is in line with Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy of 2030, which hopes to help Egypt achieve a balanced and strong economy based on social justice and integrity by 2030.

Egypt’s Women’s Strategy of 2030 is under the leadership of the National Council for Women and is supported by the United Nations. The stated goals for the target year of 2030 include the implementation of a national strategic plan to empower women in Egypt, the integration of women into the government and civil institutions, and the enhancement of social awareness about the importance of women.

In conjunction with these plans, many online campaigns that empower women in Egypt have started by combating female circumcision, gender-based violence, and sexual harassment. The most prominent is the Women’s Empowerment Campaign, a media campaign led by the National Council for Women, which features a series of short videos that aim to encourage women to break barriers and refuse to accept society’s narrow perceptions of women. The campaign’s slogan is, “The Taa’ Marbouta is your strength.” In Arabic, the taa’ marbuta, which looks like (ة) or ( ـة ), is a letter that comes at the end of a word to denote femininity.

With so many initiatives to empower Egyptian women, 2017 has great potential to truly become the year of the Egyptian woman!

Featured Image by Tribes of the World on Flickr
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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