A report conducted by the World Bank indicated that oil-driven and market-oriented growth from late 1970s onwards has hindered women’s professional growth in Egypt.
Deregulation in the private sector and its transition to non-trade sectors, such as construction and transport, have created greater barriers to entry and higher levels of discrimination for women, the report noted.
“World Bank analysis of labour market data from 1998 to 2006 similarly found that growth had little impact on women’s labour force participation in Egypt,” the report said, adding that these findings “reinforce the complex relationships between growth and women’s empowerment, and the need for gender-informed growth and jobs strategies.”
According to the “Gender at Work” report, management consulting firm Booz & Company estimated that raising female employment to male levels could have a direct impact on the gross domestic production (GDP) and result in a 34% increase in Egypt.
The report mentioned, however, that some companies in Egypt, such as pharmaceutical products producer Chemical Industries Development (CID), are proactively leading by example to incorporate and encourage gender equality at work.
“CID made gender equality a priority and followed up with actions including subsidised daycare, an emphasis on equal pay for women and men, employee training on gender equality and fairer requirement standards,” the World Bank report added.
The latest report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) pointed out that women represent 4.7m out of the total 23.7m labour force of Q4 2013.
The report highlighted that this figure represents a 1.1% increase quarter on quarter, or approximately 50,000 new female workers.
CAPMAS added that the number of female workers increased by 91,000, around 2%, since Q4 2010.