Egypt’s Minister of Planning, Hala Al-Saeed, said the number of women financially included in Egypt has increased to 27% in 2018, 18 percentage points higher than 2012.
During the Arab International Women’s Forum on Tuesday, Al-Saeed said the Egyptian government is always keen to direct 50% of finance activities to women.
She asserted that the gender gap in the international labour force still exists, ranging between 12% in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to 40-50% in the Middle Eastern economies.
“Over the past decade, our region has taken great steps in health, education, and to all issues related to gender equality,” she asserted.
In regard to Egypt, the Minister stated that Egypt’s government has taken great steps toward increasing the representation of women within both the public sector and within the general society.
Al-Saeed added that the number of employed women in the public sector has risen from 19% to over 26%.
She explained that for the first time in the Egyptian history, there are eight female ministers in the cabinet, revealing that the portfolios and duties of these women is what makes the government and society continue to function; they are working within the core of the government and the heart of the economy.
She also mentioned that the number of female members in the Egyptian parliament increase to 15%, up from only 2% in 2012.
“Women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of Egypt’s vision, which aims to provide the equal participation with men in all fields,” Al-Saeed asserted.
She said that Egypt aims to increase women’s engagement in the workforce from below 25% to 35%, while dropping the unemployment rate among females.
In that context, she mentioned that the female unemployment rate in Egypt has dropped from 24% in 2011-2017 to 19% in 2018.
“However, women still face barriers to achieve their potentials,” Al-Saeed said.
In fact, over a half of job seekers are now women. Even the most conservative estimates suggest that if women have equal participation in the labour force, the income will increase by 25%.
In her concluding statement, the Minister asserted that gender equality is at the heart of sustainable development in any country. It is an issue at the core of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is the most sensible policy.