Sweden expands its support to Egyptian women’s social, economic and legal rights

May 14, 2015

Cairo - 14 May 2015 – In an expression of the continued support to the advancement of Egyptian women, Sweden announced a new grant equivalent to 18 million EGP to the “Social, Economic and Legal Empowerment of Women” initiative, a joint United Nations programme that addresses challenges faced by Egyptian women and girls and supports their empowerment and participation in the society.

The programme aims to improve women’s access to justice, public services, finance and jobs. With the financial support of Sweden, the programme is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),in partnership with the Egyptian government, national institutions and civil society.

“We are proud of our partnership with Sweden and national organizations to help fulfil women’s aspirations for a better life and equal rights. Millions of women and girls are eager to take part actively in the society and contribute to the development of the country.” said Anita Nirody, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

Speaking about Sweden’s new contribution, the Ambassador of Sweden to Egypt, Charlotta Sparre, said: “Creation of jobs is one of the most important challenges of today. It is absolutely crucial for the progress of the country, and we hope that some of the methods and concepts used in the programme can be scaled up to reach an even larger number of women – and men”.

In 2014 Gender Gap Index, Egypt ranked 129 out of 142 countries in which women’s participation in the labor force stood at 26% compared to 79% for men, in addition to gaps in decision-making and educational attainment.

To-date, the programme helped in fighting female genital mutilation and other forms of violence against women such as sexual harassment. In Assiut and Ain Shams universities, an anti-sexual harassment model has been initiated in a step to institutionalize efforts to combat this epidemic.

New job opportunities and 1,660,099 workdays have been created through the cash-for-work model to improve women’s income and livelihood. Legally, more than 33,000 women benefited from the legal aid offices that provide free legal advice and assistance in various governorates of Egypt. Women’s coalitions have been mapped and capacity building is being extended to them. Thanks to the support of Sweden through its development cooperation, the programme (Sida) will be able to continue supporting the advancement of Egyptian women until 2017.

For more information, please contact Fatma Elzahraa Yassin; UNDP Communications Analyst,
e-mail: fatma.yassin@undp.org, telephone #: (202) 2256 6212-23-09.       

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