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  • Sunday, 17 April 2022

Ministry of International Cooperation, USAID Draw Out a Path Towards Gender Equality and Inclusive Workplaces

Responding to emerging trends in the labor market, there is an unprecedented opportunity to build more gender-equal economies by investing in inclusive workplaces and embedding gender parity into the future of work. 

Public-private partnerships also provide a great avenue for rapid acceleration to economic parity, focusing on increasing women’s participation in the workforce and helping more women advance in the private sector.

Against this context, the Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat held a meeting with Leslie Reed, Director of the USAID Mission in Egypt, to discuss the approval of the Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Activity, which aims to reduce barriers to women’s economic and social participation and improve the work environment for women in the private sector. 

The Minister of International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat, noted that investing in women's economic empowerment draws out a path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth.

The Minister added that USAID and Egypt’s Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Activity program aims to improve the work environment for women in the private sector economy, working in close partnership with the Egyptian private sector in a number of high-growth sectors, including sectors that are not traditionally common for women’s employment in Egypt.

Access to and knowledge of available financial services (such as electronic payments, credit, savings schemes, and insurance) is necessary for transforming the lives of Egyptian women, particularly those who are economically marginalized and/or unbanked. 

To design a practical model that fully supports the Government of Egypt’s aspiration and commitment towards the transition into a cashless economy, the program aims to expand women’s financial inclusion through digital financial systems at competitive prices while identifying what financial products and services they need. 

The development model also ensures that women’s economic empowerment goes hand-in-hand with safe working conditions. This is implemented through awareness-raising campaigns and the establishment or expansion of comprehensive referral services for survivors of gender based-violence, including access to immediate medical, psycho-social, and legal support, access to productive resources, shelter, reintegration and follow-up.

For her part, Leslie Reed, Director of the USAID Mission in Egypt, said that USAID deeply appreciates its partnership with Egypt, which prioritizes women’s economic empowerment and is driven by the core belief that women’s empowerment serves as a catalyst and prerequisite for sustainable development. 

The Ministry of International Cooperation’s portfolio includes 13 projects that identify gender equality (SDG 5) as their primary objective, with a total value of $78 million. To promote gender equality and empower all women and girls, and mainstream gender equality across projects in various sectors, gender equality had emerged as a cross-cutting theme in 99 projects worth $6.7 billion.

The US Agency for International Development’s cooperation portfolio in Egypt has reached more than $30 billion since 1978 in various sectors, most notably in health, women and education.