The US Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program with the goal of providing 200,000 women in seven Egyptian governorates with increased employment opportunities; leadership roles; access to digital financial, health, and legal services; and psychological support for survivors of violence. The programme will be accompanied by a public awareness campaign to raise support for women’s rights and elevate their roles in society.
This programme will be implemented from 2022 to 2027 in the governorates of Assiut, El Beheira, Minya, Greater Cairo, Sohag, and Qena.
US Chargé d’Affaires Nicole Shampaine underscored the significance of the programme: “Since 1978, the US Government has invested over $30bn to support Egypt’s economic development. This five-year $39m (approximately EGP 727m) program builds on that support and strengthens the United States and Egypt’s long standing partnership to empower women and girls. Through this programme, the United States will continue to partner with the Egyptian public and private sectors to increase women’s access to jobs, financial services, and protection from violence.”
This programme is part of a broader US strategy to empower women and girls in Egypt in coordination with the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation, Ministry of Social Solidarity, and the National Council for Women. Such cooperation aims to advance the Government of Egypt’s key policy priorities, including the Sustainable Development Strategy, National Strategy for the Empowerment of Egyptian Women 2030, and the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator.
Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat said that the launch of the “Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment Program” comes within the framework of the strategic economic partnership between Egypt and the United States. This is within the “Inclusive Economic Governance” grant agreement that was signed, aiming to improve the investment environment and empower women, enhancing their participation in the labor market; also in line Egypt’s Vision 2030.
She explained that the program is a continuation of the extended partnership between Egypt and USAID, which for decades has contributed to advancing development efforts through various programs to improve work environments for women in the private sector, enhance financial inclusion, and reduce violence against women, in line with promoting equal opportunities and contributing to the global goals.
Al-Mashat indicated that the political leadership in Egypt believes in the vital role of women in society and in achieving development, and hence, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared 2017 to be the year of women, also launching the National Strategy for the Empowerment of Women 2030. This strategy represents an umbrella for all partnerships with development partners regarding programs and agreements to support the economic and social empowerment of women; explaining that the Government of Egypt is working to support and enhance these efforts, paving the way for the effective participation of women across all aspects of development.