Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation has launched the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” action plan.
The launch took place in a hybrid event, with the National Council for Women (NCW), the World Economic Forum, and the Private Sector took part in the initiative.
The action plan was launched in recognition of the fact that supporting gender parity is critical to ensuring strong, cohesive and resilient societies with stakeholder capitalism as the guiding principle.
It comes as part of the ministry’s continued efforts to close the Gender Gap and in celebration of the upcoming International’s Women Day on 8 March.
Egypt is the first country in Africa, the Middle East and North Africa to launch this public – private collaboration model supported by the World Economic Forum. The accelerator aims to address current gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future.
The model drives systems change, highlighting the need for collaborative action across different scales. This does not just focus on institutional structures and policies, but also norms, attitudes, and through individual business commitments.
To catalyse closing the gender gap, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched the first multi-stakeholder platform in August 2020. This brought together all stakeholders, including more than 80 representatives from multilateral and bilateral development partners.
This was to ensure streamlined efforts, as well as a coordinated, upscaled and sustained commitment towards achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) 5, of Gender Equality.
Moving forward, within the accelerator platform’s governance structure is the design of the action plan prioritising actions according to key objectives and measuring impact according to defined targets and metrics.
The action plan is the result of multiple working sessions between the public and private co-chairs, supported by the World Economic Forum. The plan quantifies the commitments, outlining the mandates and roles across 10-points, with desired outputs and key performance indicators.
“The year 2021 is the time to build back a better, more inclusive world. Women are at the forefront of the sustainable development framework nationally and globally,” Minister Al-Mashat said, “The accelerator has helped mitigate the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, and its laid-out action plan will help counterbalance the widened gender gap in 2021.”
The action plan highlights the Egyptian Government’s continued commitment to applying needed policies and reforms to push the gender agenda. It has been designed to help support women economic empowerment as female participation in the economy is macro-critical.
Setting up action coalitions between relevant public and private sector stakeholders are necessary to increase female glamour force participation and the number of women in leadership positions. This also seeks to close wage gaps and prepare women for jobs of the future.
NCW President Maya Morsi stated that the economic empowerment of women is a key focus in the council’s framework. This is working towards the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, which was approved by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in 2017.
Economic support is at the heart of empowering women, Morsi added, emphasising that gender equality and economic inclusion of women will lead to an increase in the country’s GDP.
The “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator” action plan consists of 10 pillars, each includes several tasks and sub-actions for all stakeholders to implement, bringing their own expertise to the gender agenda plan.
The pillars cover a wide array of fields where development is necessary to ensure women’s inclusion: empowering work regulations; leadership mentorship and protocols; educational re-skilling and preparation; digitalisation of businesses; and social inclusion measures and policies.
“Egypt has made tremendous investments in its human capital foundation by expanding women’s higher education in recent years,” Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director and Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum, said, “The accelerator will support local efforts to unleash the full potential of women in the Egyptian economy.”