An inclusive public and private sector workforce is directly correlated to significant gains in productivity, which in turn leads to sustainable economic growth, according to Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat.
The minister’s comments came during her participation in a virtual panel discussion organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), entitled “EBRD – Women20 Gender and Crisis Recovery: Building Back Better”.
Minister Al-Mashat stressed that the participation of women in the workforce is critical, with future economies benefiting from their full participation in economic activity.
The Minister mentioned that the recovery period from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents a unique opportunity to further promote the role of women. Both public and private economic recovery efforts must account for the impacts of women as workers, business owners, entrepreneurs and caregivers.
She explained that effective gender-inclusive policies can help unlock the full potential for women’s equal participation in the economy. This ranges from accessing financial rescue packages, credit and unemployment benefits, to removing barriers for women to perform higher-skilled and better-paid jobs.
The webinar showcased the currently embraced crisis recovery policies, and recommendations for future support of business resilience and sustainability through public-private partnerships.
It also explored emerging evidence on gender-differentiated market transitions and economic impacts from the crisis. The webinar looked into how these can be used to feed into the its development of a gender responsive global and regional crisis recovery roadmap.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti discussed the importance of adopting gender-inclusive strategies across all operations, and its transition from the social realm alone to the economic realm.
He stressed that the EBRD aims to increase gender equality and the equality of opportunities in the countries where it invests. This is due to its importance as a contributor to well-functioning market economies and inclusive societies, which both form a core component of sustainable and equitable transition.
Egypt was highlighted in the discussion as an exemplar case, since it was the first country to issue a policy paper outlining “Egypt’s Rapid Response to Women’s Situation during the COVID-19 Outbreak.” The country has also initiated the bimonthly Gender Policy Tracker, to track the Egyptian government’s response to the crisis through a gender lens.