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H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al Mashat Participates in 51st WEF, Davos 2021

“The Pandemic Was Not The Wake-up Call We Wanted,

But It’s The One We Needed”

The pandemic has demonstrated that no institution or individual alone can address the economic, environmental, social and technological challenges of our interdependent world. Under the theme “ A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust”, the Davos Agenda, a virtual event running from January 25-29, 2021 convened 1,500 global leaders, shaping principles, policies and partnerships in this new context. Together and virtually, world leaders from 430 cities across the world, bring innovative and bold solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery over the next year.

On its first day, Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat spoke about the Government of Egypt’s approach to embed gender equality in the new world of work through inclusivity and diversity in the “Society and Future of Work” panel titled “Placing Gender Parity at the Heart of the Recovery”. “Placing gender parity at the heart of the recovery means placing women at the heart of the economy,” H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat stated. Alongside Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Undersecretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN WOMEN; Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company; and Michael Neidorff, Chairman, President and CEO of Centene Corporation, Al Mashat discussed hardwiring gender parity in the future of work and how closing the economic gender gap is a key milestone in achieving gender equality. Moderated by The National’s Editor-in-Chief, Mina Al-Oraibi, the panelists expressed that while the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a setback in many areas, global cooperation is needed now more than ever to reshape society. Minister Al Mashat explained that taking a gender lens in the immediate response and recovery policies is critical to advance economic gender parity. The pandemic did not derail Egypt’s development goals, including achieving SDG5: Gender Equality, instead reforms were expedited implementing policies and programmes to advance women economic empowerment. Egypt was the first country to provide a women-specific response during COVID-19 launched by the National Council For Women (NCW). The country also scored 1st place in the Middle East and West Asia regions with 21 policy measures according to the UNDP COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker. As labour markets go through a period of intense change there is a unique opportunity to embed parity into the future by balancing efforts between the demand side of growing jobs and the supply side of future-ready skills. “When we see women working at home and for their homes, this further proves the resilience and power that women hold. Emerging from the pandemic, the value and importance of the role women play in the economy is evident and needs to be advanced,” said Al-Mashat. In July 2020, the Ministry of International Cooperation, World Economic Forum and the NCW launched the “Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator, the first of its kind public-private collaboration model in Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa, which aims to help governments and businesses take decisive action to close economic gender gaps. The accelerator is focused on building prosperous and inclusive economies and societies. In addition to its work on economic growth, work, wages and job creation, and education, skills and learning, the accelerator takes an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. Around 34 projects in Egypt, worth $3.3 billion, are being executed to achieve the targets of gender equality, with the top targeted sectors including Health (20%), Education (14%), and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) (15%). The Ministry of International Cooperation’s current portfolio of projects that exclusively target SDG 5 include 13 projects amounting to $82 million. This is in addition to the other projects in the portfolio that achieve the same goal as a collateral effect to their development. In 2020, the ministry also secured an additional financing dedicated to SDG 5, with a total of $7 million through bilateral cooperation with Spain and Canada.